Music is universal. It crosses every boundary and every language barrier. That may be a cliché but Tuesday night at Bar None in Vancouver, Canada, the Red Bull Thre3style world finals opening night reminded a packed crowd that clichés exist for a reason. The first round-robin evening didn’t disappoint, with a four-way face off between Australia’s DJ Perplex, Brazil’s Nedu Lopes, Norway’s FMC, and Bolivia’s Javier Rossell.
A veteran, slick, opening set by hometown icons The Boyscouts revved up an eager crowd, with highlights being LL Cool J’s “I’m That Type Of Guy” and a Can Con overture Maestro Fresh Wes jam. Hungry for the competition, the way-too-excited-for-a-Tuesday crowd was finally satiated when Brazil’s Nedu Lopes took the stage and immediately destroyed brains with his talented reworking of DJ Assault’s “Ass ‘N’ Titties.” Brimming with confidence, last year’s runner up Lopes later played an edit of “Black and Yellow” that replaced the “black” with “green” while showcasing his Brazilian flag prop, beating the audience over the head with his clever nationalism.
Next up was Norway’s FMC. Clad in a The Police T-shirt, his pop music-soaked set satisfied his fans, highlighted by his beat juggling of Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On” and punctuated by his finale of the falsetto-laden classic “Take On Me”.
Bolivia’s Javier Rossell chucked his nerves aside and took on the Vancouver crowd with a reckless, tough demeanour. Delivering a steady diet of South American house anthems, he quickly shattered the dance floor with Skrillex’ “First Of The Year”, introducing the recognizable sample/scream of “CALL 911 NOW!!!”
Bringing up the rear, Australia’s DJ Perplex showcased his scribble/scratch abilities while still maintaining the spirit of the event by leaving nothing but sweat on the stage. It had been a long time since Vancouver’s after-midnight community had heard “Run’s House” by RUN DMC played with such aplomb, and every tune after that was gravy on Perplex’ mashed potatoes.
Of course, to use another cliché, like in sports, some had to feel the thrill of victory and some the agony of defeat. A top shelf interval set by New York City’s The Rub, relieved the nervous anticipation of the audience and the contestants, while the judges made their decisions and the final headliners SmallTown DJs prepared their setup.
In the end, Nedu Lopes showcased his deep skills enough to convince the judges that he was the pistol that hit the bull’s eye and as we all know, Chekhov’s rule states that a gun in the first act has to go off in the last one.
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