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Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009

Terribly Klever

Plus: Who’s afraid of Claude VonStroke?

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As a two-time DMC champion, DJ Klever has grown accustomed to putting his own clever spin on the beat. Rowdy and rail-thin, the ATL native has merged his love for hip-hop and classic drum 'n' bass with a neon cache of electro, dance-rock, B-more and more. As a result, Klever has emerged as one of the most technically skilled DJs in the lacquered, indie-dance scene, where gloss often overshadows "the goods."

Klever's roots reach back to the late '90s, when he began competing in turntable competitions with the likes of renowned turntablists Craze and A-Trak. Influenced early on by artists like DJ Premiere, Cash Money and Afrika Bambaataa, Klever would go on to win the DMC Championship title back-to-back in 2000 and 2001. Soon after, he and Craze would establish a continuing partnership that still has them touring together to their rabid fan and festival audiences around the globe.

In more recent years, the tattoo-laden blingophile traded in his oversized hoodies and sweatshirts for hot-pink sunglasses and an arsenal of rock-ready tunes that go well with his dance-crazed audiences. His original production work on the So So Death EP, which dropped in 2008, resonates with shredding electro basslines paired with big vocals that often echo sentiments of hard rock, metal and New Wave.

While Klever's stee-lo may have a become a clich in the circles of the dance-rock scene, the DJ/producer has managed to remain a viable, party-rocking talent thanks to the backing of his solid turntablism. When it comes to rocking the hyperactive masses, Klever's fan following seeks nothing more than his glossy brand of beats that sparks plenty of jump.

DJ Klever touches down in Milwaukee on Saturday, Feb. 28, at Moct (240 E. Pittsburgh) as part of multimedia show featuring renowned video artist Zebbler. Diamonds of The Glamour opens the show. Music starts at 9 p.m. following two film screenings from snowboarders Travis Rice and Tanner Hall. The event is free all evening.

The Dirtiest Bird: Since his breakthrough releases of "Deep Throat" and "Who's Afraid of Detroit?," DirtyBird label founder Claude VonStroke (Barclay Crenshaw) has gone from an underground dance music artist who turned the scene on its ear to over-ground influencer of commercial dance music. As a producer, VonStroke is one of the rare artists to find success on two levels of a music scene that mesh together as well as oil and water. VonStroke's full-length debut album, Beware of the Bird, showcased flawless production talent and a pristinely dirty vibe that would lead to a slew of remix collaborations, including one with Detroit techno legend Kevin Saunderson.

VonStroke's talent is so undeniable that it took only three years for it to evolve from a quirky style of underground house to the preferred brand of dance for the frosted-tip masses. Now his sound has taken over trance, filtered disco and hard techno to become the sleazy preference for all who jones to dance. It's a performance not to be missed.

Claude VonStroke makes his first-ever Milwaukee appearance on Friday, March 6, for a two-room performance at Wherehouse and Hot Water (818 S. Water St.). Codebreaker and Bad Eggs open for VonStroke in the Wherehouse. Diamonds, David Dominguez, Anthony Williams and Christopher James perform in Hot Water. Music 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cover charge (for both rooms): $10, $12 after midnight.