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Review: Red Bull Thre3style World DJ Championships

Friday 08 November 2013
Words Spindle

There’s almost no limit to what you can do as a DJ; advancing technology has only opened up even more ways for artists to manipulate music to their own ends, but even back in the vinyl days DJing was essentially a realm with constantly expanding boundaries.

It is the DMC DJs who are doing the hard work of finding those boundaries and pushing them back, and this week Toronto is getting a highly concentrated dose of exactly that as the Red Bull Thre3style World Championships touch down at venues across the city.

DJ Acorn
DJ Acorn

I headed out to the Hoxton to catch day three of the affair, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the event was not only sold out, but that hundreds of people were still outside clamouring to try to find a way in. Electronic music has grown up in a big way, and it’s enough to warm this old ravers heart.

The night kicked off with a solid opening performance from Small Town DJs, playing to an already-packed house with solid mixing across eclectic selections. They were followed up by Torro Torro, and if you were following my live tweets, you watched me get progressively more excited about their set as it went on. My scrawled notes from the night say “absolutely banging, tons of energy, stellar track selection, great stage presence, SO GOOD!!!” and that’s just how I remember it. I’m a high-energy kind of guy, and this was a high energy set. It’s just a ton of fun to watch people work when they obviously love what they’re doing. Perfect lead in to the competition.

Torro Torro
Torro Torro

For those not familiar with how it works, the DJ competition at Thre3style is pretty straightforward. Each contestant gets 15 minutes to showcase their skills; at the end, they’ll be judged by a star-studded panel (this one included Manseo of De La Soul, Kid Koala, and DJ Jazzy Jeff to name a few) on their mixing style and skill, creativity, song selection, stage presence and crowd reaction.

DJ Inferno of Jamaica kicked it off with a fast and furious set based around crowd-pleasing hip-hop, and his high energy suited the style and got the audience pumped up. He was followed by Canada’s own Adam Doubleyou, a beard-wielding Quebecer with plenty of stage presence and exactly the sort of fun-loving style I’d expect a Canadian to display.

DJ Acorn
DJ Acorn

Third on the decks was DJ Acorn of South Korea, a smooth performer who kept himself collected while laying down some very cool beat juggling and scratching over a well-programmed and energetic set. Finally, he was followed by Trentino representing the USA. Trentino’s performance was essentially flawless, very high energy and extremely eclectic with plenty of scratching, some stellar beat juggling, nearly flawless mixing and very creative controller use. His stage show was outstanding, with behind-the-back beat juggling taking the cake for me – it was at that point that I turned to Toronto Is Awesome’s chief editor, Joel Levy, and said “I think he’s gonna take it.”

The judges retreated to deliberate while Canadian legend A-Trak took to the stage to show off why he was the world champion DMC DJ for two years running. The next hour and a half were a pretty wild party; I expected people to start to filter out given that it was a Thursday, but the vast majority stuck around to the end to hear Trentino declared the victor.

A-Trak
A-Trak

The sound and lighting were great and truly measured up to a world-class event. I’m looking forward to tonight’s qualifiers at the Danforth Music Hall; say hi if you see me there! But don’t worry if you can’t make it; I’ll be livetweeting the event just like last night (follow me @DJDynamicNC to keep up to date) and there’ll be another review right here in Spindle Magazine as we get ready for the finals on Saturday. In the meantime, listen to the sets you missed on the Thre3style blog page. Hope to see you tonight!

Words: Tim Ellis

Check out some more pics below:

Small Town DJs
Small Town DJs

Small Town DJs
Small Town DJs

Red Bull Thre3style

DJ Inferno
DJ Inferno