DJ Pauly D - Sound Academy, Toronto – February 8, 2012

By Sarah Myers
Photos by Vanessa Markov

One of the best and most hilarious parts of being a pre-teen was the monthly video dance party held in a random gymnasium on a Friday night. At those, we’d come to expect a bit of music we loved mixed with a lot that we hated, but pretended to enjoy for the sake of socializing. Who knew this would act as a precursor to attending the performance of Jersey’s Shore’s DJ Pauly D last night at Toronto’s Sound Academy.

The last time I attended an all-ages show was last April, and now I remember why I waited so long to see another. Bros-in-training and scantily clad teenagers made up the majority of the crowd, as well as a miniature version of Pauly that is sure to haunt my dreams in the coming weeks.

The newly post-pubescent audience chanted “Pauly D! Pauly D!” as he strutted on stage rocking jeans, T-shirt, and his signature coif. Standing behind his laptop (bedazzled with an Italian flag) he got to work playing one of the most terrible sets I’ve had the misfortune of seeing.

“Hey Toronto! Let me see your fist-pump!”

I’ve got two words for you, Pauly – smooth transition. Any good DJ knows transitions are absolutely vital to a good set and these ones were brutal to say the least. Bangers (there were few and far between) would drop drastically into out-dated Top 40 songs like Terror Squad’s “Lean Back” or Jay Z’s “99 Problems”. I will give some credit for Afrojack’s “Louder than Words” and a stellar remix of Calvin Harris’ “Feel So Close”. Among the worst tracks of the night was an unsettling remix of Avicii’s “Levels” mashed with Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”; it was like putting ketchup on Prime Rib. And, did I mention he dropped some Bieber? Yeah…that happened.

It was hard to tell if the majority of the crowd was actually there for the performance, the novelty, or simply because they had to supervise their children.

The Sound Academy is a large venue regularly hosting big name artists, so Pauly D sure had a big space to fill - but fill he did not – not even close. Yet, even though this music was pretty disastrous, I can’t deny that this was definitely an experience….. and thus, no regrets.