Last weekend, all the deep house heads and “cool kids” of the EDM scene hightailed it out of Los Angeles to Crossed Fest in San Diego. “You should go!” they said. The lineup was stacked with deep house, and acid, and techno — a clear departure from the normal names that have been headlining the likes of EDC and Beyond Wonderland and yadda yadda yadda for the past few years.
The deep house sound has finally found its way into hipness, which is great, because it means that on weekends like last weekend, nightclubs like Avalon are a little less crowded. There are fewer shenanigans and hassle. No, pretty club girl, you don’t have to cut in line with your friends tonight because the line isn’t ridiculous. While I’m sure Crossed was wonderful, I’m not sure there is a better time to head out to your favorite nightclub in Los Angeles than on a festival weekend.
So I went to Avalon. My hunger for sweet, delicious house music goodness has been well documented, and I was excited to catch Klangkarussel, Claptone, and Fritz Kalkbrenner at one of the best venues in the city for this type of thing. All of the artists are producers of the uhn-tiss, uhn-tiss variety, which is great considering Avalon is one of the few venues in the city that will go pretty much all night. It can also be a bit of a nightmare depending on the talent and the crowd they draw. In this case, though, the folks I ended up rubbing shoulders with were all really into it.
The night started with KCRW’s Raul Campos spinning a deep set. I would name the tracks if I could, but my brain doesn’t have a direct line to Beatport. For the hour or so that he was spinning, the crowd was moving, though.
At one point I was attempting to take a picture of the stage for Twitter when an inebriated woman grabbed my attention. Literally, she grabbed me. “Put down your phone, maaaan. There are REAL people here.” I laughed, but she was right. She was very drunk, but she was right. There were people here. I was the only one kinda being a mood killer, so I put down my phone and kept dancing. The night had just begun, but if that’s not the sign of a good vibe, then I’m not wholly sure what is.
The floor filled up, but because this is Avalon, it never really filled. Even at the front, there was space to move around. Other clubs and venues that I like otherwise (Sound and El Rey specifically) can suffer in this department. Avalon is just so much bigger than other places that crowdedness isn’t an issue.
Fritz Kalkbrenner came up next, followed by Klangkarussel. I originally thought he was going to do a live set, but it ended up being a DJ set. Honestly, I wasn’t disappointed. Their selections were similar, but that’s hardly surprising considering how close their production is anyway. It wasn’t “deeper than the abyss” type house, but a little bit more upbeat and lively. At some point while wandering through the crowd, I met up with a group of partiers from Australia, who were quite impressed. I was happy that they had a good impression of our clubbing scene compared to Sydney, so I bought them alcohol to make it even better.
Claptone came on last, after the bars had pulled back their booze for afterhours hours. I was dead tired at this point. Other people were not, but they were also probably a little bit, uh, turnt. On things. Mainly Red Bull, to be honest, but even I got a bit of a second rush on nothing but the music.
Claptone is interesting. With the mask and the visuals, he definitely cultivated a kind of mystique that gave off a very different energy than the other performances of the night. His set was really deep with a definite weirdness to it. Not in an immediately obvious way, though; it was like a slight distortion in the fabric of space-time. He has this blend of house with kind of funky elements to it that was different enough to feel different. Maybe it was just the feeling of tiredness setting in, but it stuck out to me. Very interesting vibe. I think I will be seeing him again in a smaller space if possible.