Dressed in a black sweater and slacks, Siobhan Roche stands on the deck of the Tavern in Southampton, shooting an icy glare at the girl sausaged into a backless leopard-print dress who’s grasping the railing for balance as her silver-dollar-size pupils roll back in her head. “These people are really scary,” says Roche. “Way too bridge-and-tunnel for my taste.” Her eyes dart to two men with tank tops and spiderweb tattoos, pumping their fists to the music. “What’s the big deal about the D.J.? Should I know him? All I know is that my ass has been grabbed 150 times tonight.”
To those who spend their weekends at Twilo instead of the Tavern, Paul Oakenfold is one of the world’s most famous D.J.’s, accustomed to packing European stadiums and jetting from London to Tel Aviv for weekend gigs. But on a recent Saturday night, he played for an unwieldy mix of 1,200 hard-core trance-music fans and oblivious East Enders in a club that usually hosts 500.
The self-proclaimed “Oakey-heads,” many of whom had trekked from as far away as Maine and paid $35 in advance or $100 at the door, stared intently at the D.J. booth, waving their arms to the pounding beats. The Hamptonites enjoyed bottle service at $2,000-minimum tables in the outdoor VIP area, away from the loud music and the sweaty club kids asking to sit on one of the precious cushions. Some regulars were forced out on the deck, where the club had set up several additional VIP tables to accommodate the unusually large crowd. Still others braved the dance floor to watch kids whip glow sticks into twisting trails.
“I’ve seen things tonight that I never thought I’d see in my lifetime,” said Maria Los at her table on the deck, her crossed leg bobbing under her delicately beaded skirt. “There were two fights, and some girl threw up right in front of us and just kept walking!” A few feet away, Sylvia Colacios, covered in glitter and dressed in a halter top, chomped furiously on her gum while her friend in goggles and dreadlocks danced in place next to her. “This crowd is fucking terrible!” she shouted. “These people just don’t get the vibe. And he’s a sellout for playing here!”
After finishing his set, Oakenfold himself plopped down at a table on the deck. “I just wanted to see the Hamptons – I knew playing here would be different,” he said. “I like a challenge. I want to change people’s perception, and I think I’ve succeeded tonight.” He giggled and waved at a boy in baggy pants pacing slowly in front of the table. “The Hamptons will never be the same.”