Scenes From Saturday Night's Red Bull Thre3style Regional Finals at Trees.
By Brian Knowles on Monday February 25 2013 at 4:47 PM
The energy at Trees was pretty crazy on Saturday night -- and not just because everyone in the spot was hopped up on Red Bull.
No, Dallas was just hyped up on good ol' fashioned excitement at Red Bull Thre3style's Regional Finals, where five of the nation's top DJs gathered to be judged on their mixing skills, creativity, stage presence, audience response and track selection. And, though a number of attendees were on hand to cheer on Dallas' own DJ A1 in his bid to make the national finals of this international competition, there was extra excitement in the room thanks to the ones critiquing his efforts.
Legendary turntablists DJ Jazzy Jeff, Z-Trip and A-Trak were the ones charged with that task. A-Trak would also go on to perform a headlining set after the competition came to a close. Even better? Local legend Erykah Badu showed up as a surprise guest to cheer on A1. So, too, was another Dallas-dwelling legend: Spinderella of Salt-n-Pepa fame.
So, yes, Saturday night's affair was a party -- and one backing a pretty cool cause, as proceeds from ticket sales went toward funding the next phase of the Deep Ellum Mural Project
It was a lengthy evening: Before 9 o'clock, the already-packed house was graced with a surprise set from 2012 Red Bull Thre3Style World Champion Four Color Zack. He kept the crowd hyped in the early goings, right up until emcee Headkrack took the stage and started the competition properly with a rousing hello.
After an introduction, the competing DJs (hailing from New Orleans, Austin, Houston and Kansas City in addition to Dallas' A1) were all about showmanship and style. And the crowd loved every minute of it, singing along to Master P's "Make Em say Ugh" and displaying some serious motion (we're talking about body-to-body rocking and even some body surfing) when TNGHT's "Higher Ground" got played. There were too many anthems and genres covered to name them all, really, but, barring the only two noticeable mess-ups between the five competing DJs, it was a rocking good time.
In the end, Austin competitor Donnie Dee took home the crown with a set that won over the audience and judges alike. Finishing behind him were New Orleans-based and Dallas-born DJ Jive in second place and A1 in third. Donnie Dee will now advance to the Red Bull Thre3Style National Finals in Los Angeles in March. From there, a national winner will be crowned and sent to the World Finals in Toronto later this year.
With the competition over, it was A-Trak's turn to rock the decks. And rock them he did, with an EDM-heavy set that closed out the night -- but not before everyone in the room sang Badu a rousing take on "Happy Birthday." (She'll also celebrate her birthday on Tuesday night with a performance at the Granada.)
Finally, the night -- which was also filled with food trucks, Xbox 360 games and dancing girls --came to an end. But, yeah, it was definitely a party.