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Dj Ko Sets off the Red Bull Soundclash with Ludacris, Neon Trees, & Mick Boogie Pictures by: Jeffrey J Amezqua
Pictures by: Jeffrey J Amezqua @jamezqua
Story by: Djko.com
T Shirts: Atlast Clothing
After taking 2nd place in the Red Bull Thre3style Dj battle @ Opera Nightclub in Atlanta, Ga, I was hoping I would be on Red Bull’s staff’s radar. So when I did not hear from them for a week I was ready to accept that they were not vibing with my sounds. I won $750 for 2nd place. I was runner up to the man who put me in the Dj game- Dj Jelly (not bad to take 2nd behind a polished legend and my sensei, I’d say). 2 weeks after the contest I had not yet received a check from Red Bull or heard from them. I was a bit worried that I had rubbed them the wrong way but felt like all I did was be thankful for the opportunities, rock a smile, and pour my heart out into my set and presence. Hmmm oh well. A lil while back I co-produced a record with Jared for country artist’s Brantley Gilbert & Colt Ford, called “Dirt Road Anthem”. The record received a lot of exposure and Jason Aldean, a multi-platinum #1 selling country artist, bought the song. “Dirt Road Anthem” went platinum and hit #1 on the billboard charts as well. BMI threw everyone a #1 party and I headed to Nashville. Just before I headed to the event, Liz and I were at the hotel bar at the Marriott at Vanderbilt when I received a call from Michael at Red Bull. Once I saw the name on my caller ID I was pumped. I believe Red Bull does the coolest marketing and the best sponsorships and I would love to be a part of their movement. Michael told me they had been really busy and that it takes a week or two to process everyones W-9 form to pay out winnings from the contest. He then asked if I was available to be the opening Dj for the Ludacris & Neon Trees Soundclash in Atlanta. The Soundclash is an event that Red Bull puts on in cities across America, where they take two different styles of music and put the artists on 2 different stages across from each other so the audience can see the difference in the two styles of music in a new and innovating way. For this one, Ludacris took a stage and about 60 yards across, Neon Trees took a stage. The crazy thing was the dj booth was in the center of the two stages suspended about 18 feet in the air and the platform had an interesting wobble. Although there was a minor wobble in the platform, it felt safe and I learned to rock with it. I dj’ed from 6pm as the doors opened until around 7:45pm just before Ludacris hit the stage. Ludacris is an amazing hip-hop artist and the Neon Trees are more of an organic alternative rock sound, and the show was a cheap $10, so I knew we would have a diverse audience. I wanted my dj’ing to reflect the wide audience we were going to have, so I was dj’ing a mix from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Outkast and everything in between (although I do believe the Atlanta hip hop music was pumping the crowd the most). It’s funny tho, before most concerts when I am dj’ing I try to think of songs that will get the crowd going and I always seem to end up playing Ludacris. His in your face, fun, comedic music always takes the crowd from a sway to an all out mosh pit with a smile on everyones face. Since Ludacris is about to hit the stage, a seasoned dj knows not to play the perfoming artist’s music unless they do not want to get hired back. So I just had to be creative and good music does the talking. Although, I did hear a lot of cheers when I dropped the ATL classic, Kilo “luv in her mouth”. This song never fails to get a crowd in Atlanta going. Once it was show time, Dj Mick Boogie who runs the Soundclash’s for Red Bull took over and I was off to the vip section to tear up some food and drinks; after all it was a holiday!Mick Boogie and the host explained the show to the crowd and Ludacris was first to hit the stage. Luda started with some of his classic records like “Stand Up”, Throw Them Bows”, & “Move”, and it ignited the crowd to the fullest. I could already tell this was going to be an amazing experience. Oh yeah, Ludacris and I were sound checking and I was able to give him a cd filled with my original beats that I picked out earlier in the day just for him. Just so happens a couple months earlier Ludacris was featured on Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” and they preformed the song that Jared and I originally produced on the CMT awards to millions of viewers. So you already know before I handed him the cd I told him I was one of the original producers so I could have an in other than I was opening for his show tonight. He responded “I remember you”. Now, just so you know, I have never personally met Ludacris but I didn’t have the time to explain that, so I just said “yeah, you are going to like these tracks!”. The tracks I picked out for him were hits!! Ok, back to the show. Ludacris had just ignited the crowd with some of his many popular songs and he ended what Red Bull Soundclash calls a round (this being round 1) by saying “I’d like to see the Neon Trees top that!”. I was thinking the same thing. Right then it was like Best Buy just opened their doors on Black Friday because the crowd took off sprinting from Luda’s stage over to the Neon Trees stage. Everyone around me kept saying “have you heard of the Neon Trees?” It seems a lot of people have heard their name but couldn’t name a song of theirs. They took the stage immediately and were rocking. Although I didn’t know the music, they were holding there own jamming a progressive rock sound with big vocals. The crowd was into it and I could tell these guys were serious musicians. They played a couple songs, stopped, the crowd roared and then took off running back to the Ludacris stage. My crew was standing on the side enjoying some complimentary Red Bull and Grey Gooses and all got a kick out the excitement in the room. If I remember correctly the next round was called the Cover Round and the host asked Mick Boogie to play a piece of a song and the two groups were to cover it. I failed to mention Ludacris had a full band and his music was sounding HUGE! Mick Boogie dropped the song that the two groups would cover and it was Michael Jackson P.Y.T. Ludacris said “We got this” and his band begin to crank up the song and got it sounding right. Ludacris then spit the lyrics from his song What’s yo Fantasy over the band and it was jamming. Once he ended the crowd took off to the Neon Trees side and they preformed a cover of the same MJ song. They killed it, it was amazing! The lead singer nailed every note and did it in his own style. I was very impressed and now fully believing in the Neon Trees. The show went back and forth like this changing rounds from reggae to rock and was just awesome. The last round allowed the artists to bring a special guest on stage with them. The Neon Trees were up first and starting playing there hit song “Animal” and I saw everyone say “I know this song!”. They had a group of audience members join them onstage who were all wearing animal face masks and dancing around to the music. Animal is a great song and completely sparked the crowd. But, Luda was up next and you know he is going to bring it! Ludacris performed his song “How Low” and the show turned up from a 9 to a 15 instantly. Stripper poles were brought on the stage and about 10 strippers came out dancing on stage. The girls kept there clothes on, but boy could they dance and put on an amazing show that every guy and girl in the crowd was loving. Not to mention this song is one of the biggest dance records of all times and Luda and his band were on point. Simply amazing! Around this time the Red Bull staff told me I did an amazing job, and that was music to my ears. My good friend Dj Jelly showed up to hang, and we kicked it in VIP. This brought the show full circle to me and was just an amazing experience.
Red Bull Soundclash makes a return appearance to Atlanta and with it brings a new twist to the already unparalleled, live music conversation. Ludacris and Neon Trees will take to two outdoor stages simultaneously for the first time bringing an innovative clash of styles, sounds and creativity that takes “concert” to a whole new level.
Atlanta’s Dj Ko will hit the stage at Red Bull Soundclash and open the show. Ludacris and Neon Trees follow in a creative collaboration, a musical duel played out in stereo that blows minds. They will face off on opposite stages and play to a single audience. As each band lets it rip, two divergent styles and genres clash over the heads of the crowd. The sharpest tongue, the heaviest riffs and the hottest beats rule, with victory going to the band that dishes up the most sizzling and kickin’ performance.
Known from the streets to the big screen, Ludacris is a star on multiple fronts – a Grammy Award winning hip-hop artist, movie star and once upon a time a radio DJ on Atlanta’s 97.5 (now Hot 107.9). Bringing comedy and entertainment to his rhymes has landed Ludacris onto the Top 10 Billboard’s Hot 100 several times and with celebrity collaborations such as 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes and Eminem- Luda is sure to put on a quite a show.
Purveyor’s of organic rock, Neon Trees from Provo, UT may be newbies to the national music scene-but don’t let that fool you- this “animal” foursome have opened for bands like The Killers and 30 Seconds to Mars. They know how to work the stage and better yet, the screaming fans.
Atlanta’s top emerging dj Dj Ko has been working his way to the top of Dj podium. Dj’ing for artist like Bubba Sparxxx, NKTOB, Nappy Roots, Bone Crusher and many more he also has played many major spots at Atlantas top clubs and radio stations.
The Cover: where each artist plays their own take on the same cover song.
The Takeover: a collaborative round where one band starts playing one of their own tunes then the other group takes over mid-song to finish it out with their own flair.
The Clash: challenges the bands versatility- as they adapt their songs to the music genre of the DJ’s choice.
The Wild Card: the final round is all about surprises as each band brings a special secret guest to the stage to perform with them.
This show is all about shocking, exciting, and entertaining the crowd- because they are the ones who decide which group/artist takes the title of Red Bull Soundclash champion and names the artists worthy of bragging rights across the music scene.
Date and Time:
Monday, September 5, 2011
Gates open: 6:00pm
West Plaza at Georgia World Congress Center
285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW
$10 general admission
Please visit ticketalternative.com/Events/15556.aspx
to purchase tickets for the event.
Follow Red Bull on Twitter: @redbullATL
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