Tupac’s hologram at Coachella has sparked many a virtual idea in creatives’ minds. The latest notion isn’t as uncomfortable as resurrecting the dead, but it does involve a prerecorded DJ set from an overseas club, eight time zones ahead, where no one can see the DJ, and the DJ can’t see the dance floor. This is the latest brainchild of Kav Sandhu, who has convinced his friend Peter Hook, formerly of Joy Divison and New Order, currently of Peter Hook at the Light, to step into that DJ position.
This is not the first time Sandhu has convinced established musicians to move out of their comfort zone. The Los Angeles–based Sandhu, who hails from the United Kingdom's Leicester by way of London, is known for taking chances. When he was a young teenager, he started the Grooveharder party, named after a Stone Roses B-side, in his hometown, with that group’s Mani as his main guest DJ. After that party expanded to events in multiple cities including Dublin, Edinburgh and Sheffield, the not-yet-18 Sandhu moved to London and started Getloaded with a similar ethos of bringing in members of well-known bands to DJ. In less than a year, the night morphed into the festival Getloaded in the Park.
“The idea behind these clubs was, I was trying to get support slots opening up for big bands because I wanted to play to big audiences,” says Sandhu, both hands around a cup of Earl Grey tea at a café in his adopted neighborhood of Los Feliz. “I wasn’t getting those slots, so I went for the next best thing: getting members of those bands to DJ at my club night. Then my band could play to 500 or 1,000 people.”
As an accomplished guitar player, Sandhu has made the rounds with a number of bands, most notably A.K.A. Weave and Sonic Audio, and most notoriously as a member of the drug-addled yet perennially popular Madchester flagship group, Happy Mondays. Now, with the help of another Manchester favorite, the aforementioned Hook, Sandhu is launching his first major club venture in Los Angeles, Dance in a Panic.
Taking place the last weekend of each month at the Regent Theater, with Spaceland Productions as co-promoter, Dance in a Panic features Peter Hook as curator for the event. As one of the owners of the famed (now defunct) Hacienda in Manchester, Hook is no stranger to club culture. Currently the owner of FAC251 or Factory, a club located at the site of the equally famed Factory Records, Hook is all-in on Dance in a Panic, even if he will be playing his DJ sets remotely.
“[Sandhu] is taking a chance. That’s what I’ve always admired about him,” Hook says from his home in Manchester. “He’s the one that gave me, Mani [and] Clint Boon from Inspiral Carpets our first opportunities when we were moving into DJing. Getting paid to play your own music is pretty good; getting paid to play someone else’s is fantastic."
Dance in a Panic is billed as a "British-style rock & roll dance party," and Hook doesn't plan to limit his sets to any one genre or time period. "I’ll be playing music from 1976 straight to the current day. With DJing, every night is a challenge. What’s going to be a challenge for me here is, I don’t know the club, I don’t know the audience, and I won’t be able to read the floor, which is going to be even scarier. But I find the whole concept really interesting.”
For the kickoff night at the Regent, Sandhu and Hook have put together a tasteful selection of bands and DJs: Together PANGEA, Gateway Drugs, Kav (which is Sandhu’s project), Magic Wands (celebrating the release of their new album, Jupiter) and Drinking Flowers. TSR Airlines, DJ Clifton and the group Pop Noir, along with Hook, will providethe tunes in between bands.
Sandhu is thrilled to have Hook, one of his childhood heroes and first mentors, so involved in the project. “He was one of the people that was so lovely to me as a young lad. I never forgot that,” Sandhu says. “As a kid, you’re a little fearful of meeting people who you probably had posters of on your wall growing up. He, Mani, Tony Wilson were so welcoming to me, it gave me the confidence to get involved, put these nights on, and ask people to do things that weren’t the done thing."
He continues, “Because it’s from Factory, in Manchester, and its history, and it’s [Hook] hosting, who has so much respect, this is a great way for English musicians to play records in L.A. without jumping on a plane for just one gig.”
Dance in a Panic kicks off Friday, March 11, at the Regent Theater. Tickets and more info.
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