Relentless Beats

Poolside Perfecto

Paul Oakenfold is used to performing in front of a lot of people, say 30,000 or more. But that doesn’t stop him from touring the country hitting every market along the way, like Chicago. Earlier this week Oakenfold was in the Windy City and played for a near sold out crowd at the United Center. He’s used to playing Congress Theatre, which is more his style. But on his trip to the Midwest he hit a bigger, more suitable venue. But not all venues on this tour are massive.

On Friday, September 21, 2012, he landed in the Valley of the Sun to spin at El Santo Cantina. At first glance, El Santo looks like a restaurant, not a club. But El Santo has a pool. Hence the name Relentless Beach, given to the show by the insanely successful event promoter Relentless Beats. There isn’t much room to dance at El Santo, but nothing beats listening to dance music poolside.

Paul had some support on Friday night. Local names like Lujan, Michael James, and Turner & Heit peppered the bill. Turner & Heit pretty much blew my mind. Being relatively new to the Valley, I’m just starting to learn the players in the local dance music scene. That’s why I get excited when I stumble on names like Josh Evans. Turner & Heit all started when Timothy Heit was spinning at Freedom Nightclub, formerly Pompeii. Timothy actually got the chance to spin with Oakenfold while at Freedom, so opening up for him is nothing new. Heit met Thomas Turner at Freedom. That is when Turner & Heit was born.

The Brand Perfecto

Oakenfold doesn’t tour a lot, as he spends a lot of time in Las Vegas. He has been a resident at Rain Nightclub since 2008, and spins into the wee hours of the morning in Sin City. But the show at Rain is about more than dance music. It’s about the brand that is Perfecto. For the last few years, Oakenfold has been working on the Perfecto brand. From album covers to the impeding Perfecto At Sea, the two names are interchangeable. The Perfecto At Sea has been indefinitely put on hold, thanks to funding, but is being organized by Sixthman, the team that brings you the ridiculously successful Rock Boat. Hopefully they will get things moving again because setting sail with Oakenfold would be unforgettable.

Speaking of Sixthman, they have a lot of other cruises in the works. The Rock Boat is what they are known for, but they are currently working with 311, Kid Rock, Kiss, and Weezer. There was even an Elvis cruise earlier this year.

In addition to all things Perfecto, Paul has his own label. It’s called… you guessed it. Perfecto Records. Their website is currently under construction, but as this brand molds into what will for sure be a profitable venture, look for Paul to feature artists that not only complement his ever changing sound, but challenge it with new cutting edge and progressive overtones. Oh, and don’t forget about Planet Perfecto, Paul’s podcast. It’s available for free on iTunes. (And make sure you also subscribe to the Relentless Beats podcast. There are tons of exclusive mixes on there, including one from Oakenfold used to help promote the Relentless Beach party.)

If you didn’t get to see Paul in Scottsdale, you can see him in LA at the Avalon, or in Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Those are his last stops here in the States before jet setting to Australia for an impressive run hitting cities like Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.

El Santo Cantina

When I looked at pictures of El Santo Cantina online, it looked small. A huge focus of this place, at least according to their website, is the pool. But they have a menu. I was confused by the location, and by the theme. But pulling up it all started to make sense. It’s a restaurant. It’s a bar. It’s a pool party. This place is incredible.

When you first walk in, there are restrooms to the right and a bar straight ahead. You then pass by another bar before getting to the pool. There is another bar behind the pool. There are also cabanas all over the place with comfy chairs and couches. One of the cabanas even has a shower. I could imagine relaxing here on a weekend soaking up the rays and listening to beats poolside. There was a club in the Bahamas, at Atlantis, that reminds me of this place. But this place is practically in my backyard.

Enter Perfecto

The El Santo website said Paul was going on around 10. No headlining DJ goes on that early. We knew better. So we showed up around 9, as I wanted to see the opening acts. Paul, from an insider point of view, wouldn’t even arrive until after 11:30. When he arrived, chaos ensued. Security guards went nuts, started shoving people out of the way, and made a path for Paul to enter from a side entrance. He pulled up in a stretch limo, which was a nice touch.

Paul’s set started loud and in your face. It didn’t stop there. He played some new stuff, some oldies, and some fan favorites. It seems anytime a well-known DJ takes the stage, the speakers get louder. But hey, as Gareth Emery says, “Turn it up.” Dance music is meant to be felt, not heard.

Throughout the night I was thinking to myself, “Why do names like Nick Warren, Markus Schulz, and Paul Oakenfold play such small rooms?” Who cares? I am just glad electronic dance music is alive and well in the Valley.

This was my first show in Scottsdale… it won’t be my last. I’m excited about the relationship that I’m building with Relentless Beats, and I’m pumped to be sharing my experiences with you. Dance music has never been more popular than it is now, and everyone at Relentless Beats has one thing in common… we love electronic dance music. Come on Arizona… let’s dance.

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Ricky Lee Potts is a freelance writer and avid electronic music enthusiast. Visit his blog “a voice of rhythm, reason, & reality”. Photo by Sheryl Hugill. 


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