Last night, Hollywood went Hollyweird as Avalon Nightclub opened their doors to Shpongle, Desert Dwellers and San Diego’s Vokab Kompany; all thanks to the Do Lab, one of my all time favorite production companies – not to mention, the brainiacs behind my favorite festival, Lightning in a Bottle! At a show like last night’s – costume’s aren’t just welcome, they’re encouraged – and beyond being part of the Hippie Olympics, last night was full of friendly faces, new and old, all getting down to the psytrance sounds. It was absolutely beautiful and I’m so glad I could share the night with my friends! For the ‘Museum of Consciousness’ tour, Shpongle had visual team at Zebbler Studios create their second version of the ‘Shpongletron’, an ever changing, 3D, 3 story, projection mapped stage that evolves and manifests itself through amazing colors, flashing lights, sound reactive elements and all around trippy imagery throughout the evening; overall, this is the third version , dubbed Shpongletron 3.0. Today, Shpongle is cruising up the California coast to San Francisco and Arcata, then the tour will be making stops in Portland and Seattle before venturing off into the Mid-West. If you have a hankering for a good time, great people and fantastic music – check this tour our, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Looking back at my posts from the last year, one that stands out the most to be is my 2012 Year in Musical Review. Partially, because it’s catalyzed my writing career on multiple fronts – but mostly because music, especially kickass live music, is something I truly care about to my core. Music influences our moods, our personalities and even our daily interactions. Unless there’s something highly important and technical that I have a deadline for, I’m literally submersed in music 24/7 – from the time my alarm and I wake up, to my morning runs, to the drive to work, you get the picture: I more or less have provided myself with a soundtrack to my life. With my attention span as short as it is (…squirrel!…), I constantly refresh my collection of original jams, remixes and singles and try to take in as much live music as I can.
I’ve been leafing through the ticket stubs and reminiscing about the excellent year in music that I just had. From attempting to co-start a music forum site and to with The DJ List, my daily extra-curricular activities have always circled around new music, fresh artists and the latest and greatest they have to offer. Somehow, even though I’ve managed to be busier than I’ve ever been I’ve definitely managed to fit in some quality R&R (Rave & Relaxation) into the mix. So, without further ado – here are my musical musings for 2013; enjoy!
Truth be told, I’m sitting here trying my hardest to even place Cosmic Gate in second place because Above & Beyond’s sunset at Avila Beach was just so spectacular! It was a small crowd with unexpected surprises in store for everyone in my friend group – we each found someone at the event from out of town (LA, Riverside and SF) that we didn’t know was in attendance and were all simply wowed by the musical prowess the group possesses. But Cosmic Gate is not a team to be underestimated, during the live show they brought out my favorite pixie blonde vocalist, Emma Hewitt, and Jonathan Mendelson who gave a phenomenal first live vocal performance during Nic Chagall’s ‘This Moment’.
Best D&B show: Modestep at the Nokia Club, High Contrast w. Camo & Krooked at Dim Mak Studios
Best Deep / Tech House Show: Kaskade @ Focus OC’s 10 Year Anniversary
Best Progressive House Show:Eric Prydz / Pryda / Cirez D @ Create
Best Electro House Show: Gareth Emery @ XIV
Best Festival: Lightning in a Bottle
For the last six or seven years I’ve been a self-professed seasoned festival go-er and have a host of Insomniac, HARD and GoVentures events under my EDM belt (almost 40 if you want to get specific), but truth be told last year I only attended three festivals, one of them being Sea of Dreams on NYE. For as much as the lineup to HARD Summer thrilled my pants off, the event didn’t…however, Lightning in a Bottle and Sea of Dreams surely did. Each was musically right in their own right but on a more personal level, I truly felt bonded to the community that LIB and Burning Man cultivates and have actively been seeking out similar events ever since.
Best Festival Set:Keys n Krates, Dillon Francis, Alex Metric ((HARD Summer)) HeRObust, Pumpkin, Rusko, The Polish Ambassador, Odeza, Andreilien ((LIB)), LowRIDERz, A-Trak, Thievery Corporation ((Sea of Dreams))
Best Venue: Sea of Dreams @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | NYE was one of the most amazing musical experiences I’ve ever had, everything about the night was golden and a lot of that is due to the venue and soundsystem that came with it; top notch.
Weird but Rad Venue: Lightning in a Bottle @ Lake Skinner, Temecula, CA | I was tempted to give LIB the gold star for ‘Best Venue’ but after the all of the shenanigans with the county and residents of Riverside, I’ll wait until next year to grant the festival that award. Basically, I want to see it shine in all of its glory; not just in my personal experiences but for the greater community in attendance as well.
Best Pool Party: Daylight
Best Party:Sea of Dreams
Best Up and Coming Venue:Sound in Hollywood
Favorite Reopened Venue: Create (previously, known as Vanguard)
Best Crowd: DoLab shows –Avalon | If you only remember one thing about the music scene in LA, let it be this: the Do Lab will always do you right. I always look forward to the art infused musical events they throw. Whether they’re at the Nokia Club, King King or out in the middle of nowhere Riverside – they make sure to cater to all of your senses and the people who show up are some of the nicest friends you hadn’t met you.
Douche-iest Crowd: XIV by Hyde, Greystone Manor, Sutra | I still hold by last year’s statement about Sutra, but now that I’ve finally attended events at Greystone and XIV I can easily bump those two to the top of the list. Maybe it goes hand-in-hand with my appetite for all things Do Lab and underground, but I can’t wrap my head around wearing 3″+ heals to a club and cozy-ing up to people just snag an extra drink (or five). I prefer the let-your-freak-flag-fly mentality of other events and prefer stomping around in flats to trying to maintain a proper demeanor in an outfit that’s definitely not meant for dancing.
Best Lasers:Create and Exchange have most definitely stepped their laser game up in the last year, far surpassing anything that Avalon has ever done (sorry guys – not knocking the place (it’s still rad!) but it’s true).
Ferry Corsten @ Exchange Hit us with those laser beams *pew pew pew*
Favorite Set/Act of 2013: Above & Beyond in Avila Beach
Best Surprise of 2013: Crywolf, Mitis, Kill Paris, Disclosure, Keys n Krates, Flume
So Glad I (Re-)Discovered: Bonobo, Emancipator, Shpongle, The Magician,
Remixes So Nicely: SubFocus, Flume
Best Remix-er: Boy Noize, Dillon Francis, Cazzette
Favorite Vocalists: Jonathan Mendelson, Alex Clare, Annabel Englund, MNEK, Chet Faker, Florence Welch, Emma Hewitt
Most Disappointing: Daft Punk everything; maybe because it was directly juxtaposed to Keys’n’Krates with their live instruments, but Duke Dumont was also pretty underwhelming live and looked like he was just pressing a button; last but not least, Cedric Gervais did absolutely nothing for me.
Vocalists Who Shouldn’t Perform Live with DJs: Danny Brown
People Who Should Be Reminded They’re Not DJs: Will.i.Am, Paris Hilton
My Top 10 Songs of the Year
Depeche Mode – Soothe My Soul (Steve Angello + Jaques Lu Cont Remix)
Darkside – Papertrails
Oliver – Night is On My Mind (Dillon Francis Remix)
Disclosure – You & Me (Baauer Remix)
Seven Lions + Myon & Shane 54 – Strangers
Minnesota – Stardust Redux (Crywolf Remix)
Maya Jane Coles ft Karin Park – Everything
Thomas Jack – Booka Shake
Flume ft Freddie Gibbs – Holdin’ On (LKids Remix)
Lane 8 – Be Mine
Mat Zo – Lucid Dreams – (M Machine Remix) [runner up]
There’s something to be said for combining two of my favorite pastimes and fueling my creative fire; I’m a sucker for live music, especially the electronic kind as I’ve more than displayed on my blog – and to boot, I have this new obsession with photography. Capturing a person in a moment is one thing; capturing a community in a moment is another thing entirely. In some situations, people might look at me like “Why is this girl standing still on the dance floor? Don’t you realize my legs want to stretch seven ways until Sunday on that spot you’re stuck in?” – but in our little EDM community. We were made out of PLUR, kandi, lasers, confetti and a shared appreciation of all things EDM. Being able to capture that moment, share it with friends and strangers alike and relive it together – that sums us all up in a nutshell. Besides, what good is a great time if you can’t share the wealth?
Here are some of my favorite concert snaps from the past few years; they still bring me back and give me goosebumps. Enjoy!