Paul Oakenfold is the Boss of trance

Let’s examine this phenomenon of DJ as Rock Star.

Edmonton’s Gig of the Night on this particular night (Wednesday, June 8) is one Paul Oakenfold, “performing” at the Oil City Roadhouse, those nasty quote marks suggesting that this British dance producer doesn’t so much as perform as basically play the recordings he already made in his studio back home. All he has to do is show up and turn it on, right? Oh, no. There’s much more to it than that. These mighty famous DJs are doing something creative up there, we’re sure, we’ve seen it, looking so busy with their headphones and furious knob-twiddling and arm-waving and light-flashing. Laugh if you want, grandpa, but when it’s done well, it’s as stirring as any live rock show. People pay good money to see this sort of thing for a reason – in this case $25 at Ticketmaster. Such a deal.

Plus, it has a good beat you can dance to.

This guy is considered one of the godfathers of house music. Think of him as the Bruce Springsteen of dance. As a former recordman who helped discover artists like Salt N’ Pepa and Will Smith, Oakenfold popularized a style of dance music called trance – so named because it puts the listeners into a trance, duh – and became famous. Dance culture took off in the ‘90s, and he was helped by no less a force than U2, who took him along on the Zooropa tour. That certainly helped the whole DJ to Rock Star thing. Oakenfold is so popular now that he even has a show in Las Vegas – just like a lot of rock stars.

If that isn’t mainstream, we don’t know what is.