As if electronic dance music wasn't already bursting at the seams with huge concert promoters buying a piece of the pie — Live Nation and SFX Entertainment have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in DJ culture — there's yet another player in Southern California.
San Diego's LED has partnered up with Coachella promtoter Goldenvoice, a subsidiary of concert giant AEG Live, to put on EDM shows in California's largest cities — L.A., San Diego and San Francisco.
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The foursome that founded LED only four years ago is coming to L.A. for a big New Year's Eve show, too:
OMFG! NYE will feature Boys Noize, Madeon, GTA, DJ Snake and more at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall.
We asked LED co-founder Johnny Shockey, a former hockey pro and onetime San Diego Gulls team captain, why America's largest and most pioneering EDM market needs some bros from San Diego to put on a party for us.
Shockey helped to start LED (for Life Every Day) in 2009. With the help of partners Tyson Ziebarth, Kevin Wiles and Farley Lucas, LED ended up with a club of its own, Voyeur, which has given way to a new San Diego Gaslamp district venue for the crew, Bang Bang.
Shockey says that, unlike some promoters who are invading SoCal with festival dreams (ahem), LED has built its audience from the ground up in the region.
As such, he thinks the promoter has the trust of club- and concert-goers who have gone from festival bangers (LED has done San Diego Sports Arena events with Calvin Harris, and Deadmau5 and Avicii at Petco Park) to deep, intimate club nights (Seth Troxler, Lee Burridge) — and vice versa.
“We've cultivated a scene,” Shockey, 37, said. “Dance music stems from the underground.”
I think it's important to us to cultivate the smaller audiences. We value a small show the same as a big one. It's important to have a pulse on the entire scene, not just big EDM. We don't want to be a Johnny come lately. We went out and built a nightclub for underground music. We did it ourselves.
That said, Shockey says he expects LED's OMFG! New Year's Eve event at San Diego County's Valley View Casino Center to sell out this week — with a capacity of 15,000.
It will feature such festival veterans as Laidback Luke, Diplo and Boys Noize — the latter of whom are also playing L.A. that night.
So LED is doing big NYE shows in L.A. and San Diego simultaneously, then. And it has done other events, including Booka Shade, at
the Shrine Sound already. It has also been booking shows at the Fox Theater in Pomona, the Echoplex, the Fonda Theater in Hollywood and the Yost Theater in Santa Ana.
That's a long way from the ice. As Shockey was training with the Los Angeles Kings in the early '00s he discovered EDM at L.A. superclubs such as Giant. It inspired him to make a go of it, he said:
The first time I ever went to a dance music event was with a guy who played for the L.A. Kings. I was actually training with the Kings. Hockey players always spend a lot of time in bars in nightclubs. I was hooked ever since. I thought it would be really interesting to start throwing my own parties.
And now, with the largess of AEG Live and Goldenvoice behind it, LED is a true player.