Beat battle

Tronix Ultimate DJ Contest

DJ Jacie keeps the dance floor moving during the Ultimate DJ Competition.

DJ Jacie keeps the dance floor moving during the Ultimate DJ Competition.


The concluding night of the Tronix Ultimate DJ Contest is Friday, March 20, at Tronix Video Music Club, 303 Kietzke Lane, 333-9696. 10 p.m. $5.

By a quarter to one, Tronix nightclub is jumping. Girls are dancing with guys. Girls are dancing with girls. Guys are dancing with girls. Guys are dancing with guys. My girlfriend, Marina, and I just got hustled into buying drinks for a couple of pool sharks, and now we’re scoping out the dance floor.

For most of the night, we’ve been checking out the heavily tattooed waitress sporting nothing more than jeans, nipple tassels and sneakers.

“She’d make a good-looking man,” Marina says.

She makes a good-looking girl too, even though we have the same haircut, I respond.

I walk across the dance floor and talk to DJ Teddy P, who is one of 15 DJs in the Tronix Ultimate DJ Contest—a five-week contest ending with a party on March 20. Teddy P and the other DJs are competing for a $500 prize.

“We wanted to find a way to get people who, you know, don’t usually come to the bar, to come to the bar,” says marketing director and bartender Yevonne Allen. “All of a sudden, I got this flow of DJs who want to participate.”

It’s part of a push to open up Tronix—a well-known gay bar—to the non-gay community, Allen says. “With this DJ contest, I think all but one of the DJs so far have been straight men.”

It’s a common stereotype that gay clubs only play house and techno. So I ask Teddy P, formerly a DJ for Wild 102.9 fm, what kind of music he plays for a club like this.

“It’s more upbeat, top 40,” he says. “Plus, they like hip-hop.”

“Most of the DJs have been taking top 40 songs and doing their remixes to them,” Allen says. “It’s kind of fun, you don’t know what to expect every week.”

The rules for the contest are pretty simple. There are five judges total: Allen, the club’s owner and another bartender, plus two customers selected as judges every week. DJs are judged by how large the crowd is, how much of the crowd is dancing and how well the DJs sync their mixes with music videos, among other criteria.

After all, Tronix is a video music club, Allen says. TVs line the walls around the club and the dance floor, with the largest screen against the wall of a small lifted stage in the middle of the dance floor.

The winner of the contest, which started in mid-February, will be announced on Friday, March 20, and then will DJ for the club the rest of the night.

The club is bumping, upbeat and diverse.

“Within the last year, I’d say, a lot more straight people, straight couples, have been coming,” says Allen. Just don’t be uncomfortable if you see a same-sex couple kissing, she says. Then again, she adds, you see that pretty often at most bars these days.

“It’s a showing of the times,” she says. “Everyone can come and hang out.”