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Paul Oakenfold

Friday, November 21, at the Metropolis.


The term "superstar DJ" has become just as clichéd an oxymoron as "sports entertainment." Instead of waiting for such electronic-music barometers as Urb magazine or Gilles Peterson to anoint whichever spinsters can be considered upper-echelon talent, many of them take it upon themselves to create their own immortal, self-important personae. Just as many dance fans fearfully predict, their heads begin to get as large as their record collections.

Some DJs have worked long enough to merit such an ego. One of these is Paul Oakenfold, a man who's in his 40s and still works at getting kids half his age to dance in place to his music. But in the eyes and ears of many, Oakenfold is to electronic music what Denis Leary is to comedy: a too-cool-for-school male diva whose rock-star preening has alienated more folks than it has attracted.

Fans of "Oakey" will vehemently disagree. They say that he deserves to enjoy his success. After all, he's been everywhere out there as a DJ, remixer, and producer, and he's been at it much longer than most deckmasters -- all the way from New York's post-Studio 54 scene through London's acid-house era and right up to the present.

Last year, he released Bunkka, which answered the age-old question, "Can a London DJ create an album in which Ice Cube, Nelly Furtado, Grant Lee Buffalo, and Hunter S. Thompson can coexist in perfect harmony?" Okay, so that question has never been asked. But you can thank a cat like Oakenfold for even bringing up the thought.

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