The walk up to It'll Do is always a part of the experience. Events like Red Bull Thre3Style Dallas Qualifier fill up quickly; Friday found the club at capacity by 9:45 p.m. Which means the nearby parking is gone, at 11:00 the valets won't consider a bribe and you are parking deep into the East Dallas residential neighborhood that surrounds the club. Walking down Carroll, we pass a church and I wonder, "What would Jesus tow?"
Passing Queen City Hall, that other dirty off the radar venue, I see a pyramid of PBR cans and remember the evening is 18-and-up. This is why the crowd has arrived so early and, unable to drink inside, are forced to down and dump on my precious East Dallas streets. I remember those days.
Once inside, I look out into the crowd, I can see how Dallas has shown out for all their favorites. DJ Sober's face on a stick is bopping up and down to drum lines. A cutout cartoon version of Fishr Pryce moves back and forth in the crowd.
Red Bull has assembled its most impressive line of competitors so far. DJ NVS has been keeps heads bouncing at Teddy's Room, DJ Rev is a steady go-to for house heads in town, DJ Sober of ADd+ is swiftly becoming his own empire, Fisher Pryce already has a Red Bull trophy under his belt and A1 is probably the only one in town who could teach the others a thing or two.
A1 starts the night and sets a standard the rest will chase.
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With no mic in hand, the name-calling all has to be in the music. A name followed by "That's that shit I don't like," or Luda's "Get Out The Way," all stir the shit. The best punch line comes from DJ Rev's mixed in request to Fishr to, "Let me rub your titties?" The real battle of the night is between DJ A1 and DJ Sober. Both using parts of songs to create conversations that go beyond name-calling and boasting. Sober's clean mixing takes us from his own ADd+ to N.E.R.D. to Tejano trumpets with ease, but ultimately his fifteen runs out early and may have cost him the title.
Or not. DJ A1's technical prowess is on full display, and his references are so subtle they could be called elegant. From A-ha to Big Sean or the smooth shout out to co-Cannabanoid Symbolyc One with that "Power" backbeat, A1 includes triple the genres required and made it all sound like it was from the same party. And he looks cooler than a cucumber doing it.
DJ A1 ends up taking the prize and deserves it. But we all won on Friday, because in Dallas we have created rock stars of our DJs, and it seems they are taking the responsibility rather seriously. Win-win.