Every year, the musical magi at Red Bull scoop up a gaggle of disparately-styled local DJs and feed them into the hype machine, spitting out a DJ battle blast, surprisingly full of fun and Bay Area pride. Although compared to years past, the upcoming 2013 SF Red Bull Thre3style (Thu/24, 8pm at The Independent, $15) has been scaled back somewhat -- only five competitors this year, instead of the usual eight, and all of them are hip-hop/electro heavy dudes -- it's still gonna be a hair-raising time, and a chance to check out some talent outside your micro-niched nightlife comfort zone.
Plus, the competition is kinda tricky!
Here's the gimmick: This year's competitors -- D-Sharp, J Espinosa, Dstrukt, Richie Panic, Mei-Lwun -- have to include at least three genres in their 15 minute sets (mashups don't count!), while keeping the crowd pleased. I have seen this go seriously awry in years past, which is part of the general craziness. (The winner gets to travel around and win something big, I forget what.)
Another fun 3style thing -- the DJs usually ham it up (and if I know Richie Panic, which I do, mentally intimately, he will realllly turn up the ham), which makes you appreciate how self-effacing a lot of the DJ scene here usually is, despite the oft-bombastic music.
Anyway, I usually balk at branded events, but Red Bull really invested early in local nightlife scenes and brings out actual talent -- this ain't no Rock Star EDM crap, Red Bull gives you wings and standards. Just don't OD on all the fun, k?
Here are some of my favorite sets from years past =-- including one of the final appearances of DJ Solomon, RIP.