Before there was Skrillex, there was Paul Oakenfold. The three-time Grammy-nominated artist paved the progressive house dance genre for dozens of DJs after him, from which seemingly endless subgenres of electronic dance music spawned. In addition to playing at some of the most notorious clubs in the world and signing artists like Will Smith and Salt-n-Pepa through his record label, Perfecto, Oakenfold has toured with Madonna and U2, and has done scores for movies such as “The Bourne Identity” and “Matrix Reloaded”.
The trance-like, melodic musical style that Oakenfold has used to narrate film were skillfully put to use hypnotizing festival goers at the North Coast Music Festival at 8 – 9 p.m. Friday. Songs such as the “Sex ‘n’ Money” remix—a track that incorporates vocals from Pharrell Williams and the famous opening bass line of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”—elicited a sea of cheers and raised arms from an already-fervent crowd. Packed around the Red Bull stage like swaying, sweaty ants, fans waved flags and glow sticks in tandem with beats that snapped to life with mainstream vocal hooks. Toward the end of his set, Oakenfold brought a singer onstage for one song—but when his name was revealed at the end, it was unintelligible. I asked people in the crowd around me, but no one could make sense of it. Somebody out there's got this—enlighten us in the comments below.
Oakenfold, who seemed as comfortable coaxing his fans into frenzies at this specialized music festival as he might at some of the high-profile British clubs where he’s had residencies, defined for new generations of house fans the Balearic-style trance genre he helped make famous.