DJ Sober Describes Life Behind The Decks at Dirk Nowitzki’s Wedding Reception.
A few weeks back, DJ Sober, born Will Rhoten, got a call from his friend and fellow DJ, Jeff Mitchell. Mitchell, who had helped Sober score a few choice gigs at private Uptown events in recent months, was again calling in with an offer. This time, as he explained over the course of that phone call, Mitchell had been tapped to spin at a somewhat secretive event on Saturday, August 18. More important, he wanted Sober’s help at it. One problem, though: Sober was already booked elsewhere that night.
“But it’s a really high-profile gig,” Sober recalls Mitchell telling him.
With his curiosity piqued, Sober pressed Mitchell for more information. And, eventually, Mitchell relented: The offer Mitchell had was for Sober to join him in spinning at Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki’s local reception to commemorate his not-so-secret wedding from earlier this summer in Kenya.
“Immediately, I was just like, ‘Yeah, alright, I’ll cancel that other gig,'” Sober says with a laugh. “I mean, it’s Dirk Nowitzki. As a Dallas guy, that’s just huge for me.”
Trick is, much as he wanted to spill the beans on the gig, Sober had to keep his involvement in it mostly to himself.
“Jeff just told me not to really talk about it until it had passed,” Sober says. “So I didn’t really put anything out there about it — not until I had left the party. That’s when I posted that pic of me and Dirk to Instagram. That’s when I knew it was OK.”
And, of course, the party itself, Sober says, was far more than just “OK.” The two-floor affair held at 333 1st Ave., was, by his view, “just super classy.”
“I went the day before just to check things out,” Sober says. “And I was just blown away. I was set up kind of by the kitchen on a riser, and there was all this hustle and bustle behind me. But the DJ booth had four decks and there a full-on sound team. It was pretty nuts. At the very beginning, it was kind of overwhelming.”
And more so given Sober’s responsibilities at the affair. During the dinner portion that took place on the upstairs level of the space for the first three-and-a-half hours of the event, it was his job to set the mood.
“Other than a couple of songs they told me to play, it was really all up to me to pick the songs,” Sober says. “I just tried to keep things pretty chill. Lots of classic jazzy stuff and old-school R&B.”
His biggest job during that portion of the night? Playing the couple’s introduction song, “Let Love Rule” by Lenny Kravitz.
“The crew just gave it to me on a disc beforehand,” Sober says. “I guess Dirk and his wife are big Kravitz fans.”
From there, Sober and Mitchell, who joined forces on the decks in the downstairs dancefloor area, turned the party vibe up a bit.
“It was a lot of classics,” Sober explains. “A lot of Michael Jackson and stuff like that. Dirk was definitely doing the Cupid Shuffle at one point.”
Indeed, Dirk approved of Sober and Mitchell’s selections.
So did his bride.
“I met her first,” Sober explains. “She was just super nice and sweet. I was playing 2Pac’s ‘I Get Around,’ and she and a girlfriend just came up and were like, ‘Yeah!’ I guess Jeff knew her a little bit, so we started talking and I asked to see if Dirk would be down to take a picture with a fellow German Gemini. He was, I guess!”
But the chance to snap an iPhone pic with the basketball great was just one of many highlights from the night, Sober says.
“The whole thing was just super cool,” he says. “Like, just to see Dirk and Steve Nash just laughing and palling around was awesome. And he’d, like, look up at the booth and give us a nod or a finger-point when we were playing a song that was his jam. It was just a huge experience for me.”
Especially since Sober has only DJed a handful of weddings and events of that ilk in the past.
“It’s usually not really my thing,” he says. “But now I’ve been able to DJ Erykah [Badu]’s birthday [in 2008] and Dirk’s wedding — and those are just two of the most important Dallas figures to me. It’s crazy because you build these people up, but then, once you have a conversation with them, they’re just regular people. They just happen to have way more money than me.”
Oh, and speaking of people with money? Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was in attendance at the party, too.
“Maybe,” Sober says with a laugh, “I can DJ one of his parties next.”
Catch DJ Sober’s weekly Big Bang! event every Thursday night at Beauty Bar.