It’s been a couple of years since I last saw Osunlade perform and if I remember correctly, the last time took place in the Panorama Bar in Berlin. While performing together with Henrik Schwarz, Ame, Dixon, and Marcus Worgull, I was afraid that that particular night wasn’t going to be topped so easily. Will that night ever be surpassed? Probably not. Should I care? Well, not really. Still, it took me a while to completely ignore these series of questions. That night in Berlin was just another legendary night, just like many others I’ve experienced. The 360 Degrees night in Rotterdam was surely bound to be one of them, yet in its own way. After all, when someone like Osunlade is going to perform in my hometown, I’m doing whatever it takes to be there. And boy, I was happy I did.
When I entered the venue, BIRD, DJ Thelonious was warming up the crowd with some deep and afro flavored house tracks. The dance floor was already filled, but the crowd was still a bit quiet, which made it quite evident that they were waiting for the main act to begin. When Osunlade came up, he kicked off with an African/experimental track. During that moment, the crowd wasn’t sure what to think of it and it was obvious that most people didn’t know how to dance on it. It looked like something that the crowd wasn’t ready for, let alone expecting.
After a minute or two, he continued with a strong and energetic house track. Arms were instantly swinging towards the roof, people started screaming, and the dancing commenced. I was under the impression that I wasn’t the only one who realized that this night was going to be great one.
This routine was something that Osunlade kept doing for the entire night, switching from deep to progressive dance floor bangers. From Rocco’s ‘TBT3’ to his own rework of Currambero de Gamero’s ‘La Preńa’. How unusual some transitions between two genre’s might sound, he made it work. It was also amusing to see people dancing somewhat stiff and clumsy on a house track, and suddenly getting all loose and sensual when an African tune came in. Yet another proof that, regardless what Osunlade was doing, the crowd was reacting on it. In a positive way that is.
The crowd itself was mixed with a variety of people from all sorts of age groups, and all had their own way of enjoying the music. From enthusiastic house dancers, who were giving the rest of the crowd more energy with their immense break dance battles, to the approving nodding audience sitting on a couch. There were hardly any faces who felt out of place or didn’t had the feeling that they went to the ‘right’ club to spend the night in. Simply put: the vibe was great, if not perfect. This night in particular was another proof that the name ‘Osunlade’ isn’t just for show. With the combination of his music selection and the skills he presented behind the decks, he proved that he’s indeed a true practitioner of the DJ art form.
Setting all positive thoughts aside, I have to say that I’m a strong believer that the ‘perfect night’ simply doesn’t exist. Period. Even when the bar is lowered to its minimum, there are always elements that don’t fall in place during the evening. Even though the transitions between different music styles were mainly a good thing, it didn’t always deliver as someone might’ve hoped for. There were moments where he suddenly went from one genre to the next, in a way that the crowd needed a moment to adjust themselves. Personally I always see it as some kind of story, where the speaker tells an audience: “Alright everyone, now it’s time for the next chapter.” However, not everyone sees it that way and prefers to keep on dancing without any kind of interruptions, which is fairly noticeable during a moment like that. Still, those moments were scarce and weren’t on a scale where he ended up killing the entire vibe over and over again. Also notable was that the sound volume wasn’t always on equal grounds. As someone who wears earplugs, I sometimes had the urge to put them out, while other moments I was glad that I had them in.
Nevertheless, this particular night was a great one and it’s been a while since I last saw a crowd in Rotterdam that happy, that energetic, and that responsive to what the DJ was doing. When it was almost closing time and most of the crowd already went home, there were enough soldiers left who were still unwilling to call it a night. I came to the conclusion that seeing this artist perform, is yet another privilege to witness. My regards goes to the 360 Degrees organization who made this night happen. On to the next one.
The next edition of 360 Degrees takes place on the 20th of June. For more information and tickets click here.