For alternative music there are big challenges. Outside of communities, complaints, labels and the like, you have more to think about. Making the music flow, and changing, building, reducing energy levels is really difficult. This goes right into properly matching songs with each other. You may find a great song to tango to, but finding one song, yet 2 or 3 songs that all compliment each other is by fat the hardest.
Pairing and making sets of songs for Alternative is always be the biggest challenge. I have a huge amount of wonderful and fun songs I can dance tango to, but haven’t found anything to pair them with. Some wonderful German, Korean, French, with different beats, instruments, vocal ranges, and more makes it really difficult. You can not find an artist that does multiple songs of the type of style or sound at all, everything need to be different. Sometimes finding good cover artists have their own style, take for instance The Piano Guys, Peter Hollens, Lindsey Sterling, and a huge number of others. But even then, pairing many of their songs together with themselves don’t work. You may find one or two that go together perfectly, or maybe none at all. So when you sometimes hear the same alternative set, it’s usually because it has similar characteristics that someone has fund pair together well. You are almost required to use different artists together, but you need to have the same feeling and energy. Practice and relistening to the music over and over is what you need to do to find something that works, and why I find it more difficult than traditional.
What about different song styles, can dubstep fit in well, what about country, or all instruments… they all can have their place, but playlist placement comes after getting a good set. Is it high energy? Well better not put it right after a Milonga set, or right after a super slow and easy going set, you’ll just kill the energy, or lose the dancers on the floor due to them being tired. You need to work up or down into your Alternative music as your goal is to get many people to try dancing to it and being comfortable.
The last point I want to make here, is song length… a 7 minute song is really difficult to dance to for 7 minutes. And 3 songs that long is a huge chunk of the night… you can almost get 2 traditional sets in that time frame. This is a big consideration when it comes to alternative music. Fitting it in when appropriate and taking length into play. I have a great cover of Wonderwall I love dancing to, but it is just under 8 minutes long, offers good changes of tempo, good beats… but just too long. Unfortunately I can’t seem to splice it right down to under 4 minutes and have it not sound off, so it does not make it into Milongas or practicas, but more into just private practice time. If I’m doing a full alternative set with no cortinas, I can make it fit in and flow nicely, but with a traditional format, it’s nearly impossible.