Arriving just before the opening act, I made a stop at the bar to pick up a gin and tonic like the classy lady that I am and made my way through the sea of beanies and baggy winter coats. The crowd dynamic didn’t make much sense to me until I Wikipedia-ed ‘RJD2’ and found out his stuff’s been featured on a lot of skate and snowboard videos. I happened upon him through Pandora a while back and was pretty stoked to see him live, seeing as how I couldn’t stay still in my office chair every time one of his songs popped up.
Unfortunately, I’d donned my dancing shoes much too early. Around 10 p.m., DJ Steez, not to be confused with DJ Steezy of Lil’ Wayne fame (though I would’ve gladly taken Weezy over what ensued), came on stage, asked us if we were ready to have a good time with RJD2, and tried his very best to ‘pump us up’ for the headliner. Now, I’ll be the first one to admit I don’t know a turntable from a coffee table, but a good beat, well, if you’ve got absolutely any rhythm, you can feel that in your bones. As my roommate, Lisa Lynn, says, “It’s not music unless it makes me dance.” I don’t know any of the technical terms for what Steez was doing up there for nearly an hour and a half, but I do know it required another gin and tonic and the only people dancing were the type every girl tries to avoid at the bar.
I was shaken out of my electro-coma by the funky and familiar beat of RJD2’s “Ghostwriter” and looked up to see the stage illuminate and the sold-out show begin to fill in. Those lucky bastards must have been warned not to show before 11 p.m. RJD2 wasted no time getting the party started, though some of us were too mesmerized by the way he was rapidly moving around the stage and sifting through records to actually move ourselves. I didn’t realize DJ-ing required more than pressing play on a Mac and balancing an oversized pair of headphones, but I guess just like any talented musician, a good DJ puts in the work and builds up his beats from scratch at a live show. What I like best about RJD2 is his ability to compose, rather than just arrange, songs. When I go dancing around town, I notice the crowd gets the most excited when the DJ samples a popular song … RJD2’s compositions stand out on their own, and the fact that his hits are mostly instrumental speaks volumes of just how talented he is at creating catchy beats. The show climaxed with “The Horror,” which got everyone jumping, and personally, hearing that epic track live made me feel like a super hero for a minute. Though I didn’t pay much attention to it, there was a video being projected behind the turntables, and RJD2 made it clear the show was meant to stimulate both visually and aurally, directing the guys behind the lights on how to set the mood in between songs. At one point, he put on a Mario hand puppet, which began to move across the sound board pressings buttons while old-school Super Mario samplings introduced the next song and all of us cheered and laughed. He finished a successful set with an encore, leaving us moving our feet until the very last second.