Com­pet­ing at 331 ⁄ 3 rpm for char­ity

Austin American-Statesman - - MOVIES & LIFE - By Pa­trick Cald­well

For three years, Gabe Vaughn — co-owner of the North Loop vinyl oa­sis Break­away Records — has strad­dled two worlds. Since 2007 he has spun records with Soul Hap­pen­ing — for­merly Wax­ploita­tion, a col­lec­tive of Austin DJs who serve up the best in ’60s and ’70s funk, in­cit­ing sweaty grooves and ri­otous dance par­ties for more than 10 years. And he also queues up records as a DJ for and founder of the Sec­ond Sun­day Sock Hop, a monthly dance party at the East Austin hip­ster strong­hold the Shangri-La, show­cas­ing the best of ’50s R&B.

All that time, Vaughn has stood at the nexus of Austin’s two finest — and com­pet­ing — soul-spin­ning DJ out­fits and watched as barbs have been thrown and chal­lenges is­sued. But to­day, the long-stand­ing ri­valry come to a head with the two groups fac­ing off in an old­fash­ioned DJ bat­tle at the Mo­hawk, as the Soul Hap­pen­ing and Sec­ond Sun­day Sock Hop DJs host a ben­e­fit for the Greater New Or­leans Foun­da­tion and the Gulf Restora­tion Net­work.

“Be­cause both groups have a knack for un­earthing the rarest and most dance­wor­thy vinyl ever cut, and be­cause both can steer huge masses into self-in­duced, sweat-drenched ex­haus­tion, they nat­u­rally hate each other’s guts,” reads the event’s Face­book an­nounce­ment. “… Mon­strous egos have re­peat­edly clashed, even al­most to the point of bla­tant vi­o­lence.”

OK, so that’s a bit of an ex­ag­ger­a­tion, Vaughn ex­plains, but the in­evitable show­down has been a long time brew­ing.

“Some trash def­i­nitely gets talked, but we’re all just kind of milk­ing it. We’re all bud­dies,” says Vaughn. “But we have talked for a long time about do­ing a bat­tle. It’s been on the back burner for DJs from two Austin out­fits will go turntable-a-turntable at the Mo­hawk to ben­e­fit Greater New Or­leans Foun­da­tion and the Gulf Restora­tion Net­work. two years or so, be­cause we wanted to wait to do it at a time when it could be big­ger than any­thing ei­ther of the groups had done. So when the ben­e­fit an­gle came up, this seemed like the chance to pool our re­sources and make it huge.”

Rick Daddy, host of the KOOP ra­dio show Ex­ca­va­tion Nation, will be mas­ter of cer- emonies at the event, which will in­clude mul­ti­ple rounds with dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments. Au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion ul­ti­mately will se­lect the vic­tor — and not through the un­sci­en­tific method of which side can cheer the loud­est. Vaughn in­stead plans to lay down tape on the floor of the Mo­hawk and have au­di­ences quite lit­er­ally choose a side.

Of course, be­cause Vaughn will be the sole par­tic­i­pant who will spin for both sides, he’s the only DJ guar­an­teed a vic­tory re­gard­less of which com­peti­tor wins.

“That’s true, but it also means I have a guar­an­teed los­ing slot, too,” says Vaughn with a laugh. “I’ll be do­ing both win­ning and los­ing. Which seems pretty ap­pro­pri­ate.”

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