The move marks a reunion for Dean and his onetime home base after he was booted from the club in 2006 (rumors were that his cut of the door was too much for owners to swallow). He went on to have a successful run as the lead promoter at rival venue Vanguard. Giant has even expanded to San Diego, Newport Beach and Phoenix.
The return might be seen as somewhat of a victory for Dean, who has out-survived virtually every other super-club promoter in Los Angeles even as his last-minute, rain-out cancellation of a New Year's Eve party in 2005, with tickets selling slow and bad weather having come already and gone that day, gave him a black eye in the media and more than a few wary club-goers. (Background).
At Vanguard Dean battled head-to-head with Avalon for talent and fans, with his Giant nights appealing to the more mainstream and trance-oriented club-goers and Avalon taking a trance-free, progressive tact. The competition drove up the price of DJs, whose booking agents often played the venues against each other to get the highest bids. With Dean at Avalon, it seems likely those fees will decrease, although the superstar DJ game has become increasingly professionalized, with at least one major Hollywood talent agency, William Morris, establishing a wing specifically to represent superstar DJs.
Avalon is arguably the superior of the two venues, with its self-styled Avalon Series sound system from EAW and a purpose-built interior. Vanguard has a top-flight sound system from British firm Funktion One, but the place sometimes feels like the warehouse it once was.
As Dean reemerges as the city's top superstar-DJ promoter, he returns to its top shrine to electronic dance music. Perhaps its a fitting pairing: Dean, more than anyone else, introduced Los Angeles to the super-club concept with his Giant nights at Circus Disco in 2000. He helps to take the reins of the city's most-prestigious dance night at a time when dance music is seeing a resurgence via pop acts such as Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas.
The name of Saturday nights at Avalon, however, will remain Avaland, a trademark that has been with the club's owners since they started with Avalon Boston in the mid-1990s. And the booking policy, we're told, will maintain the kind of progressive techno and house spinners the club has been booking through co-promoter Damian Murphy of Liquified, who will stay onboard.
Future bookings are to include Murphy's pals Sasha and John Digweed as well as Dubfire Loco Dice, Steve Angello, Damian Lazarus and Gui Boratto.
Dean and Murphy will be helping out with Avalon's Friday night parties, Control, too. The events have tapped into a new generation of dance fans who tend to like nu-electro acts with a punk attitude (as opposed to Saturday's linear, thump-a-thump groove). Trancier elements will be introduced Fridays, however, and progressive-house and break-beat acts such as Lee Burridge, Plump DJs and James Zabiela have already been confirmed as additions to future nights at Control.
Dean's return was facilitated by Avalon's top promoter, Garrett Chau, who is a former Hollywood talent agent. He tells the Weekly he left late last year in order to take a job “to oversee the global expansion of Lollapalooza.” Chau's partner at Avalon, Craig Edwards, will stay on at the club and work alongside Dean and Murphy.
The move seems to leave a gaping vacancy for promoters at Vanguard. Pasquale Rotella, the city's preeminent rave promoter, previously told the Weekly that he had pulled away from his marketing duties at Vanguard to focus on his own one-off events. The club's calendar of upcoming gigs is virtually empty.