You're at a good stage in skill and technique. You're looking for gigs. You want to rock that Saturday night and have 500 people on the floor, bouncing to your mix. Sadly that is unlikely to happen. You may end up doing a bar on a Monday night, watching a few people come in for drinks before moving on to the next place, the dance floor populated with nothing but imaginary tumble-weed. But these slots aren't necessarily bad, here's why.
Practise Makes Perfect
Sure, there's no crowd to test your dankest mash-up on, but you have plenty of time to try out the club gear. Perhaps you come from practising in a room with a controller and you have much less experience with CDJs. Isn't it better to make a mistake in front of two people in conversation at the back, than a crowd of people facing you?
Great time to practise with these guys.
Now one thing to note here, if it is your first slot at a venue and you make mistake after mistake, they won't view you favourably, so don't go crazy, just gradually get the feel over time. This is especially good with weekly slots, as you have tonnes of time to slowly get used to them.
You Get to Network
What about that barman next to you, maybe he works elsewhere, or even tells the venue management that you rocked. You could get a better slot. Perhaps one of the customers is bored and goes up to chat with you (happens surprisingly often), you may end up chatting to someone important, or they may have some insight of who to go to.
A picture of me playing a quiet night, when all of a
sudden, Madonna came up and recommended a good
If you are friendly enough to someone, they may remember you and even if they can't provide industry tips, they may bring their friends next time. Basically you have a great shot at bonding with the audience.
You Get to Test Out Your New Tracks
If you produce your own tracks, then you will want to test them out on a club sound system. The thing is, not everyone has access to one and so for many, the first time they can test is is when they are actually DJing.
This is great if it sounds awesome and you have a crowd in front of you, but what if it doesn't? Like with the practise point, it's better to identify issues in front of two people not paying attention than a crowd.
I have a Wednesday night residency in a venue with Funktion Ones (arguably the best sound system out there). Just the other day, I tried out a few of my new tracks on it and one of them sounded a bit off on the speakers. This was good because I was able to take notes and can fix the mix before I play it again.
If it sounds good on these, it is good. Funktion One
You Get to Try Genres that Aren't Your Norm
If you aim to be a trance or hard electro DJ, then you'll have to change a few things on a quiet night. I like the harder side of house music but that wouldn't be appropriate to an empty dancefloor and so for my quiet night slot, I tone it down and play more groovy, deeper sets.
There is nothing more surprising than realising you like a certain genre, just by listening to it in a new context. For example, I wasn't a huge fan of tropical house, but when it is quiet and you aren't trying to get a bouncing floor, it can be chill to listen to.
Fancy dropping some chillstep, just because you want to? It's not like you'll kill the dancefloor and the people sitting at the bar may dig the vibes (they may also not which is why you always play to whatever crowd is there).