Red Bull has been steadily establishing a reputation for championing the artistic expressions of up and coming artists, and this evening was no different. At Beta this past Saturday night, the Red Bull Thre3Style brought ten DJs from across the country together in Denver to compete in the national finals for party rocking domination.
Cities represented included Dallas, Houston, Cincinnati -- home of the competition's only female deejay DJ, Apryl Reign -- St. Louis Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Orlando and, of course, Denver. Each DJ was given had fifteen minutes to create dance floor utopia, alternating between styles and genres, in hopes of impressing the judges, among them ?uestlove and DJ Jazzy Jeff, and ultimately moving on to compete in Paris against the best DJs in the world.
DJ Low Key set things off with a set of the kind of blazing, euphoria-inducing hip-hop he's become known for as both floors of Beta filled in. Drinks were flowing, and the atmosphere was ripe for partying. DJ magMANimous, aka DJ Vajra, the Mile High City's representative in the battle, was spotted easing his way through the throng amid fellow contenders such as DJR from Phoenix*, who had a fan wearing a helmet with a built in scroller bearing the message, "DJR is the best." Nice touch, albeit a little distracting, as he was stationed stage left for most of the evening.
As the DJs got busy behind the tables, songs from James Brown were notably prevalent in a number of their sets, namely cuts like "A Man's World" and "Get On Up," suggesting that many of these cats were cut from the same cloth.
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There were several performances that stood out, including one from Pittsburgh's Bionics, who had everyone screaming long after his set ended. MagMANimous, meanwhile, brought finesse and substance to his routine and let his style and presence speak for itself, inciting the crowd with a few Rick James cuts and then flinging records like Frisbees into the audience.
The performance earned magMANimous a third place finish behind DJR, who exuded a great amount of charisma. His set was as much about the crowd as it was about the music. Deftly reading the energy of the room, he seemed to dropping the perfect tunes at the perfect time, giving an almost prescient performance.
As good as his showing was, however, it wasn't enough to best DJ M-Squared, who simply went off on the decks and had the audience losing their freaking minds as he cut and scratched and rocked until there was very little left of the dance floor. Wiping sweat from his brow several times throughout his fifteen minutes, he brought Orlando to the Mile High City, and it was live and direct.
*Ed note: An earlier version had DJR hailing from Los Angeles. This was based upon a flier used to fact check. Ru Johnson's original version listed him as being from Phoenix.