Music Feature

"The Shakedown" Celebrates a Decade

by suzanne slade
DJs Rob Paine and Will "Willyum" Putney reflect on ten years gone. Photos by Suzanne Slade.
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Every second Saturday of the month the Barbary hosts a legendary party known as  ‘The Shakedown." DJs Rob Paine and Will “Willyum” Putney have been throwing this party in Philly for 10 years and come March 10th, the Trocadero will be honoring their  anniversary with an epic dance party. DJs such as Josh Wink, King Britt and Francois K will be joining Rob Paine and Willyum as they spin deep House and Reggae. If you’re hip to the scene or enjoyed it as a teen, you don’t want to miss this night!

Here is how "The Shakedown" came to be!  In the spring of 2002, Worship Records, formed by Rob Paine, Willyum and Zacharijah, were pushing for their own sound. Kids flocked to hear the Worship crew spin monthly. Moving around to many different venues in Philly, ‘The Shakedown’ ruled clubs such as the old Silk City, Five Spot, Marathon, Bubble House. For the past 3 years “The Shakedown” has called the Barbary its home base.

I interviewed Rob Paine and Willyum before their last party on February 11 and needed to know how they had kept it fresh for 10 years. Willyum remarked that if 10 years ago someone would’ve said this is where they would be, he would’ve said “Yeah right!” For these killer DJs the journey has been amazing and lots of hard work. The Shakedown team has always  found ways to improve their sound and have set up their parties with colorful banners created by Rob’s childhood friend KHL. This has let them keep their original style and sound raw. In fact, most everyone behind the scenes is a long time friend.

“It’s a family affair,” Willyum says.

“We party like family. We fight like family. Eh, mostly we party like family,” Rob adds.

I noted that, for years, the crowd always boasts familiar faces.

“House was really popular in the late 90s and early 2000s when we first started ‘The Shakedown’, so we created this base that’s stayed with us," Willyum says. “Our crowd has kids and careers. It’s not a shady scene.”

You see that from the smiling, waving and eye contact they make with almost everyone that enters their party. When asking about their influences, both throw a plethora of familiar DJs names my way. After 20 plus years of spinning, I had to ask, “Aren’t YOU legends?” Willyum laughed. “Ehhh. You never think about it. That’s like Voodoo,” he said.

I let them finish setting up and watch them shove in some pizza from the new Northern Liberties joint “Home Slice,” which is co-owned by their old friend and doorman Andrew Bound. Willyum said it right, “It’s a family affair.”

So if you want to dance your face off to some of the best House and Reggae DJs while making lifelong friends, check out "The Shakedown" and their ten-year anniversary party March 10th at the Troc. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

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