Bonded by the Beats
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Morganne fluffed it up at Tequila Mockingbird's party at Zero One Gallery.
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Grunge-tronica figureheads MSTRKRFT rocked the vowels out of the Hnry Fnd Thtr.
"This reminds me of the old L.A. raves. Remember when everyone danced in one big room all together?" DJ Z Trip asked the drunk-with-rhythm revelers at the Henry Fonda Theater last Friday. "... it was one room, one crowd, one love." The unity sentiment has been made about dance music before, but as Nightranger looked around the room Friday, it was hard not to notice that those bonded by the beats are more diverse than those at the underground parties of yore ever were. Back in the day, the kids who flocked to all-night ragers in abandoned warehouses pretty much all looked the same: baggy overalls; big, silly hats; lots of fairy wings and plastic jewelry; flower-power prints.
There's really no dress code for dance denizens these days, but Friday's sundry slaw shags, ink, bling, glowsticks, emo garb and hip-hop gear were typical of the hipster-meets-neo-raver hodgepodge that flock to electro shows these days. Of course, MSTRKRFT headlined, and they're the poster boys for grunge-tronica (the 'staches are so '70s Marlboro Man/Schneider from One Day at a Time). As they chugged Crown Royal, chain-smoked and debuted a humongous Jason mask that looked down on them like a creepy shrine of worship, the duo's set was vulgar and vivacious — as much for the visual as for the vicious cascade of synths and bass.
As usual, Trip masterfully mashed everything from drum & bass to power ballads (we don't really need to hear "Don't Stop Believin'" ever again in a dance setting, but, what the hell, we sang along with the crowd anyway). His live drum interlude was a bit self-indulgent, especially coming at the end of an exuberant set (plus, it's been done before), but this dude's deck work and his uplifting 'tude made up for the li'l lull.
Up next for both pulsating playas (who can each be heard on a free promo split disc put out by Obey Giant): Z will spin for "Operation MySpace," a concert for the U.S. troops serving in Kuwait, and he'll be debuting his first "legal" remix disc featuring new spins on disco classics this summer, while MSTRKRFT continue to tour the globe with Italian remix rovers The Bloody Beatroots. Both will be all over the SXSW party scene in Austin too.
It's a wonder we had any energy left for the Fonda floor-shaker after Metromix's equally lively print-issue launch party the night before at Crash Mansion. The pub threw one hot shindig, with a cavalcade of "It" co-hosts (scribe Clint Catalyst and Dim Mak dame Ana Calderon) and scorching dance-floor groovers, including Squeak E Clean and Diplo (MIA's knob man). Catalyst held court in one corner with designer Jared Gold and skin-baring Web-celeb Chris Crocker, while Franki Chan helped turn the stage into a second dance floor, pulling girls from the crowd to grind onstage during Dip's set. Chan's appearance may have been surprising to those who read his I Heart Comix e-mail blast that week. In it, he chided Metromix not only for reprinting part of a previous blast about former co-promoter/current nemesis Steve Aoki "out of context," but for advertising that Blaqstarr would be on the bill of Friday's bash (the hip-hop producer performed at his Check Yo Ponytail night at the Echoplex the week before, and Chan asserts that the show's sales suffered due to the MM's party ads. "Why would people pay to see him when they could see him for free and get free drinks?" he told us). Alas, the 'Starr was taken off later versions of the invite/ad and didn't perform Friday.
These types of battles for bands and DJs happen all the time in the club scene, the protocol being that an artist who comes to town is usually contracted to play at one venue or with one promoter. If he or she wants to appear somewhere else as well, it's gotta be on the D.L. and definitely not advertised. (Ironically, this tug of war has been a constant between Chan and Aoki since they parted.) Whether or not mass e-mails or private-party invites constitute an ad is the question at hand, but Chan told us his issues with the mag wouldn't have kept him away from seeing his pal Diplo any more than his issues with Aoki (also at the Mix-er that night) keep him away from seeing an act he likes at Cinespace on Tuesdays. Whatever the behind-the-scenes conflicts, it seems that once the music makers come to L.A. to conjure their magic (wherever that may be), everyone's down to fuck the drama and just dance. As it should be.
LOOKS THAT THRILL
From drama to grandes dames, we caught a divalicious set by crooner Morganne at Tequila Mockingbird's Club Fluffer (formerly at Hyperion Tavern) at Zero One Gallery recently, but unfortunately, the wacky and wondrous evening of eccentrics won't be back at the Santee Village locale — and neither will Zero One. The space has been sold, and we hear the Zero has obtained a new one on Olive Street to open on March 22, and that future Fluffers will move around to different locales, including Ghetto Gloss in Silver Lake. The mesmerizing Morganne will next be seen in designer Maggie Barry's runway show at Smashbox during L.A. Fashion Week, where reality-TV tarts (Pussycat Doll Robin Antin, The Hills'Lauren Conrad) will also debut their collections. Out of the 'Box: Jared Gold tells us he's hard at work on his runway show, which will take place at Union Station and be open to the public. (Get free tix at www.blackchandelier.com.) ... But first, the clotheshorses start trotting this Friday, when GenArt's always-gregarious "New Garde" event takes over the venerable Park Plaza hotel (sponsored by Botox!).
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