It is my distinct honor to welcome you to the biggest title bout in the history of history. I'm talking life and death. Man versus machine. Or, rather, man and machine versus man and machine.
From a trove of submissions, five finalists have been chosen for the Pitch Ultra Music Festival DJ competition. A panel of Pitch staffers will use the wisdom of Solomon and the pulse of Oakenfold to judge this clash of titans.
A handsome ransom awaits the winner: airfare, accommodations and an opportunity to perform March 26 at the Ultra Music Festival during the sweaty throes of the Winter Music Conference in Miami.
Our first challenger is a reigning champion of Kansas City electronic music, resident at Kabal and opening act for nearly every big show in town ... Paul DeMatteo!
Is DeMatteo nervous?
Well, there you have it. DeMatteo is a master strategist -- and a WMC veteran -- who lulls his enemies into a false sense of security. But not all of them are fooled. Just ask our next competitor, DJ PDP (Patrick Kelley):
"I know Paul pretty well. That's some stiff competition."
PDP is no slouch himself. The upstart honed his skills playing house parties and clubs in Kansas City (including short residencies at Push and Trago) and opening for Nigel Richards in St. Louis.
He'll have to best Thump 'n' Thor (real name: Brennan Shirk), who learned the craft while playing professional rugby in South Africa and is a veteran of DJ battles at the Hurricane. What does he look for in a DJ?
"I want a DJ with the balls to throw down something I can rock out to."
Would our fourth contender -- DJ Brent Scholz -- like to engage in a little shit-talking himself?
"Absolutely not," he says. "I wish them luck. I'm sure we'll put on a good show."
Well, duh, Mr. Manners. But Scholz hasn't played Kabal, Chakra and the Empire Room while holding down regular gigs at Segafredo and Gia's because he's timid behind the turntables.
Our final sonic soldier has also put in his tours of duty. DJ Clockwerk (Brian Scott) has worked decks at Mike's Tavern and Jilly's and opened for Skylab 2000, DJ P and Z-Trip as a member of Breakbotix.
But is he ready for this musical maelstrom?
"I would have quit playing records if I didn't make the finals."
Ladies and gentlemen, each combatant now has 30 minutes to shake your moneymaker.