The last time I braved an evening at Cowboys it was to catch a “stand-up comedy” set from washed-up ‘90s superstar Pauly Shore. It was one of the strangest nights of my life. We watched the comedian perform approximately two jokes before the set devolved into quite literally a Powerpoint presentation of his past movie credits with him saying “remember this one?” then some joke-less songs some inappropriate touching between Pauly Shore and some young female audience members and a number of wasted attendees approaching the stage and yelling things at him some of whom made it up there and grabbed him before getting escorted out. People of all walks (but mostly the sort of walk that gets star struck by Pauly Shore) were raucous and out of control. It was like watching a Harmony Korine movie. We drove home in silence.
When a friend of a friend was offering VIP passes to watch Paris Hilton DJ at Cowboys I simply couldn’t pass — the Pauly Shore show changed me and I wanted another one of those experiences. It’s an addiction.
Sure say what you will about Paris Hilton — she’s a trashy reality TV star who only got famous from a sex tape a bad actress and/or a failed pop star who’s only famous because of the hotel chain in her family. But all of that stuff is in the past. Now she’s also a bad celebrity DJ who’s signed to Lil Wayne’s Cash Money label alongside Limp Bizkit.
Paris Hilton. DJ set. Cowboys. The phrases had an ominous yet alluring ring to them. But the attendees at Friday night’s Paris Hilton party weren’t the same D-list-loving yokels who lined up to gawk at Pauly Shore. These were wealthy put-together normies a group of people willing to spend real money to jump up and down along with the starlet’s pre-made laptop mix of top 40 remixes.
As if watching a hotel heiress hit the spacebar on iTunes shuffle weren’t enough the event opened with some sort of hair competition between local salons. At least I think it was a competition — for multiple rounds five models with pre-styled towering wigs would sit in chairs and an announcer would offer live commentary as hairdressers would busily fiddle with the towering mounds of prosthetic dreadlocks and blown out poodle-esque puffs.
Then after the clock counted down they’d show off what they’d done — usually just adding one weave or fastening a weird object to the pre-done hair — as the women would walk down the runway. There were no winners announced as far as I could tell. None of us were winners that night.
Once that was over and hours before Paris Hilton showed up the house DJs kept spinning their hits an eclectic smorgasbord of Top 40 remixes EDM megahits and botched dubstep with bass drops and crowd-pleasing countdowns every 60 seconds or so. Upstairs in the VIP area a line formed in front of a banner background packed with those waiting for a picture with sweet sweet Paris. No one had reserved the black leather loveseats in the VIP — despite the modest $1999 price (plus bottle service) — so we managed to kick back and lounge. This my friends is what they call living the good life.
A wasted middle-aged woman joined us in our section announcing that we’d have to leave if her friend an immensely pregnant attendee who will no doubt name her child Paris wanted a seat. She was doing just fine waiting in line for a photo with the heiress though so we just hung out with our new wasted middle-aged friend. When Paris did finally grace us with her presence the woman underwent a near-spiritual level of Beatles-like mania shredding her throat with high-pitched screams and declaring “Oh my God it’s actually her! I can’t believe this right now!”
Before we could all experience the transcendent healing power of a 10-second photo beside Paris Hilton we had to do the right thing as proud upstanding citizens of Calgary and let that guy from the Stampede give her a cowboy hat and make her an honorary citizen. It was an emotional heart-swelling moment as Paris in her semi-sarcastic nasally tone read an oath with the word “Cowtown” in it a bunch.
Then the moment we’d all been waiting for as we all herded through a lineup and nabbed a photo with Paris. Hulking muscle men gave cool-guy glares while young girls who looked exactly like Paris Hilton pressed their bodies up against her and made “mwah” faces. I too was graced with her presence. She even touched my arm! I’m never washing that arm again! (I was thinking about giving up on showering altogether this year anyway.) I’d share the photo but the photographer said they won’t be up on the Cowboys site for 72 hours. I’ve set an alarm on my phone for the exact moment I can save it.
Once the crowd had shuffled through the lineup and each person had formed a deep unbreakable friendship of a lifetime with Paris Hilton the starlet grabbed the mic and peered down at the proles dancing their futile lives away below. “You’re all looking so sexy tonight” she said (I can only assume she didn’t see the guy who’s shirt read “Boogie Till You Barf”). She then promised that she’d put together a “sick set” just for us and that she was almost ready to start spinning.
Paris disappeared for well over an hour. In that time our drunken middle-aged friend found a box of sealed Paris Hilton-brand fake Ray Bans and stole pairs for everyone in the section bless her soul. Finally a curtain opened to reveal some mixers and plenty of other equipment most of which was undoubtedly there for show. A guy from the radio said some stuff about being a guy from the radio and then Paris surrounded by bodyguards meekly walked to the stage with her Macbook Pro.
“I’m going to open with a new Burial track that Four Tet just sent me then get into some lesser-known Canadian stuff like the new Graze LP. Shout out to local imprints Close to Modern and Modern Math. I see you.” Paris Hilton didn’t say any of that. Instead she revealed that she was going to open her set with something we’d all be excited about. “I found this dope trap remix that’s not very popular” she said. Damn Paris where’d you find this.
After announcing what she was about to play though there was a lengthy delay as Paris confusedly fiddled with everything onstage. Why wasn’t the sound coming out? Two people emerged from the shadows one of them fiddled with the cord attached to her Macbook and the sound jarringly cut in about 15 seconds into the song. The “dope trap remix” she promised was a ramped-up version of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” Finally some R3 ?L TR ?P SH|†.
It’s tempting to think that Paris Hilton like so many other phoney DJs is doing nothing onstage. But had say an intern programmed her entire mix ahead of time it probably would’ve sounded a lot smoother — transitioning to the next song was a tough listen as the BPM was way off the melodies unmatched and the whole thing very awkward sounding. It was a humanizing moment for Paris Hilton celebrity DJ.
As time went on she played a mix of the same EDM songs that the DJs had played earlier (one in particular was played four times that night though I have no clue what it’s called or how to distinguish it enough to accurately Google it) Top 40 remixes (including a blissed-out house version of Coldplay’s “Fix You” that was basically just Coldplay’s “Fix You” for the first half of the song before it erupted) and just straight-up Top 40 songs. Occasionally she’d lip-sync along to the words into a mic that wasn’t turned on. Then the mic would get turned on and she’d say things like “I facking love this song” and “I’m having so much fun I love you guys.”
When she wasn’t doing the classic DJ knob-tweaking that gives off the impression that she’s doing something she was waving her arms around in the air occasionally doing pageant-like twirls to show off her outfit. She also took the time to post multiple Instagram videos of the crowd. The multiple big screens throughout the venue showcased videos from Paris’ past (no not that video) stills of her in various outfits and other things to remind you that the girl on her phone behind all of that smoke and those lights was in fact someone famous. Soon phallic light-up tubes with her name written on them were distributed throughout and the crowd went bonkers.
All in all Paris Hilton’s DJ set at Cowboys was not as terrible as it could’ve been. She probably wasn’t doing too much onstage but she still danced around and hyped up the crowd throughout when she could have just left and it wouldn’t have made the slightest difference. And that’s really what makes Paris Hilton a passable DJ. She stands on the stage rather than leaving and going to her hotel. She really earns the hundreds of thousands of dollars she makes at each performance.