Dallas is now a major event town in the U.S.A. This is a point that is not an opinion so much as it is the fact. We have become the destination for all kinds of major events. We've had a Super Bowl here. We have hosted the Final Four. We're getting Wrestlemania soon (if you believe what you read). Because of this recent influx in event traffic into Dallas, the city has slowly turned into an "event town." To be an event town, you need certain facets of infrastructure to support all the visiting people. Bear in mind, people visiting for events are not your regular tourists. They are there for a short window and are usually coming to unwind.
As such, the entertainment must be different. You need a strong club and bar scene, you need a world-class hotel game and you need DJs. You need damn good DJs. This is why L.A., NYC and Miami are the nightlife powerhouses in North America. Thankfully, in Dallas we are blessed with a pretty damn good group of homegrown DJs who are coming up along with the city itself. Here are five of the city's elite DJ's, as selected by our esteemed voters for the recent Dallas Observer Music Awards.
The newly minted 2014 DOMA winner for Best DJ didn't really stop after the DOMAs. No, Sober capped off his banner year by throwing a holiday function at Beauty Bar that would feature local legend Erykah Badu making an appearance (as Lo Down Loretta Brown). Not many DJs can boast that they have a club nearly at capacity by 10 p.m. In fact, filling a club is an art form for DJs. It requires skills in showmanship, performance and promotion. Sober excels at all of these, reminding everyone why he is as good as he is every time he hosts another function.
Blake Ward has cemented himself as one of the cornerstones of Dallas' present nightlife. He has established residencies all over the city (including stays at Beauty Bar, Hotel Zaza, and Boxwood T&G to name a few) making sure that if you go out in Dallas, there's a good chance you're going to hear Ward spinning. Besides making a home at numerous Dallas haunts, Ward has also produced music with Sean Humprey under the Psychic Soundsystem banner. In a field that is constantly derided for being easy to do, Ward's hustle has exemplified how much work it takes to be a successful DJ.
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Inzo has spent over a decade making himself into one of Dallas' most effervescent DJs. He has carried on a two-fronted campaign to ensure that you've heard him (and if you live in Dallas, there is almost no way you've never heard Inzo before). He has DJed at several of the premier radio stations in Dallas including 106.1 KISS, HOT 93.3 and at 106.7 before and after the format change. Inzo takes great pride in his style, which gives any club DJ a run for their money. He does not just slap the hits as much as he uses the hits to make the club his own for the night.
Gavin Guthrie AKA TX Connect
House DJ TX Connect is a throwback to when clubs were taboo. Before EDM ruled the airwaves and your 12-year-old niece said she was waiting till she was old enough to go to Electric Daisy Carnival (yeah, that was a real conversation), when electronic music was viewed in a very negative light in society. It was an after-hours haven of designer drugs and deviant activity. For Gavin Guthrie, that's the aesthetic he wants you to take in. He wants electronic music to be trippy and dangerous again. In the process, he creates much of the music that he plays at his sets. To this end, Guthrie controls his aesthetic in a way that many other DJs can't. He controls the creation of the music being played while using it as a means to cultivate a certain ambiance at his shows.
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Wanz Dover, member of the Black Dotz and the Frenz, is a DJ whose style is defined more by ambition than sound. In much the same way Armin Van Buuren became a genre icon for his work in simply trying to do things differently (and at the next level), Dover has endeavored to do the same in Dallas. Appearing as a resident DJ at the Granada Theater, Dover's repertoire incorporates a little bit of everything, from post-punk to funk. In addition to just playing music, Dover, like most DJs, is also a producer and much of his selection utilizes songs that he has worked on himself. It is very hard to be a DJ these days while openly doing something different. Dover seems to have welcomed the challenge.
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