Zack Christ

Last week I heard Zack Christ play a 45 minute set during the Århus leg of the Bas Under Buen tour.

His performance was different from any other in the festival: It went to hell from the start.

He is a DJ who “composes” live with various bits of outboard gear hooked in to a laptop (as opposed to mixing tracks on vinyl/USB), and in addition to the problems he was having calibrating his gear to the festival’s enormous sound system, his laptop, a key piece of equipment, was failing. Over and over. Turns out, he started having laptop issues a couple of days before the festival, and it was a question of pulling out completely to get it fixed, or trying to compensate for the issues and perform anyway. He chose to do the latter.

And it was certainly a performance. Not of the variety he was probably hoping to do, but one of grit. He worked like hell during those 45 minutes. With the other DJs to try get gear sorted. With the sound engineer to rescue the output. He raced from his gear to the sound system’s control array, to the DJ console, to the front of the stage to determine if adjustments were working, and back again. At some point in the middle of it all, he bolted behind one of the huge speakers with hands in hair, yelling “fuuucckkk!!!!” That done, he sprang back to his feet and got working again.

It was remarkable to watch him persist the odds. Everything that could fail on him, did. But he never gave in, not while he had time to salvage any part of the time that was allotted to him. Bas Under Buen is a Copenhagen festival that travelled to other towns in Denmark for the first time this year, and local DJs from each town are invited to participate in the lineup of artists that travel with the festival. Zack is a local of Århus, and while his performance, plagued by technical nightmares as it was, may have been a letdown, it was a valiant show of spirit.

In the end, he managed to perform one complete track (i think), then his laptop failed completely. He bowed to the crowd, issued one last apology, and was done.

To a round of applause from all backstage.

Bas Under Buen 2014. Århus, Denmark

Shot with the Fuji XE-2 and 56mm f1.2, courtesy Fuji Denmark.