Concert Reviews

Over The Weekend: The Red Bull THRE3STYLE DJ Competition at the Granada Theater

Red Bull THRE3STYLE DJ Competition
Granada Theater
February 19, 2011

Better than:
sitting at home watching friends try to play DJ Hero 2.

Saturday night's Red Bull-sponsored DJ battle at the Granada Theater started promptly at 10, and it went pretty much as DJ competitions go, with each of the contestants given 15-minute windows with which to wow their crowds. Or so goes the plan.

Turns out a few area DJs looking to score some cash from Red Bull and to move on to compete in further competitions did wow the crowds. Others not so much. But these DJs' offerings -- and maybe the offerings of everyone as a whole on this night -- were just part of the bigger picture.

Sure, this night featured a cast of DJs looking to make a name for themselves. But, in the end, the night belonged to the guy who walked in with the biggest name from the start, the guest of honor, Mixmaster Mike.

Once Mixmaster Mike, he of legendary turntablism and Beastie Boys fame, took over the stage, the entire Granada Theater turned into a proper dance party, cutting and scratching with lightning quickness and blending traditional hip-hop and event metal elements into his mix.

It was quite the sight to behold, the entire Granada Theater floor, fist-pumping and waving their hands on Mike's cues.

He had some help in getting the audience to reach this fever pitch, though; the competition, worked quite well as the opening for his set.

First up in the night was DJ REV. The crowd, at that point, quite chatty, simmered down as he dropped Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes the Hot-Stepper." Hands were thrown in the air, and people sang along to the '90s dance-hit. The bass was so heavy one could feel it rumbling underneath their feet. From there, song selections leapt across genres, from old-school hip-hop to reggaeton to Top 40, with dance hits and banger stuff thrown in to boot. His 15-minute set finally ended with 2 Live Crew's "2 Much Booty (In Da Pants)," which the crowd ate up. It was an accurate preview of what the rest of the night had in store.

DJ ROZ -- who had been on stage a few minutes prior, clearing enjoying DJ REV's set -- took the tables next. His set was not entirely unlike the previous DJ's, as he coasted in and out of genres, playing hits along the way. One notable difference, though: He took his set a bit further back in time, starting it with the Jackson Five and ending with Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How to Dougie."

DJ NVS was next, and he shouted out the night's sponsor by starting his set with LMFAO's "I'm in Miami Bitch" and looping the verse "I got a Red Bull and vodka up in my hand." 

The night continued with DJ D-Roz, followed by DJ Trek and DJ Fishr Pryce, DJ Danny West, DJ Joe Vega and finally, DJ Danny V. Each set had its own unique element that set it apart from the next, but the formula generally remained the same, as the DJs scrambled to cram as many tracks and as many genres as they could into 15 minutes, scratching all the while over the top of their soundscapes.

Promptly, at midnight, the panel of judges, who had been sitting up on the balcony the entire night, reached a conclusion on the evening's victory. The panel, which featured DJ A1 from the Cannabinoids, Kwasar of Chocolate Groove, DJ Enferno, Delano Washington, DJ Sober and Ben of The Rec Shop, came to a decision on the victor, basing their selection on track selection, stage presence and audience response. In third place, was last year's winner, DJ Joe Vega. In second place was DJ NVS. And winning it all this year was DJ Fishr Pryce, who walked away with a check for $1,000 and the chance to compete in the next round of competition, during which he'll compete for a spot in the national competition and, potentially, the international one.

As for his secret to success?

"I practiced hard," he said out front of the venue, clutching his black vinyl-shaped award. "I was confident with my set, and am happy that I won."

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I'm no turntablist, but I do DJ from time to time.

Random Note: Despite having been sponsored by Red Bull, there was no free Red Bull anywhere to be found! How does that happen?