Electronic dance music: the takeover

By Cassidy Cavanah '13 Contributing Writer

Very few cities across the globe could rival Los Angeles as the hottest spot for electronic dance music (EDM) in the year 2012.  Hollywood seems to have gotten a tight hold of the broadly labeled genre and all signs point to the city never letting go.  While many age-old fans may cry “sellout!” I will hold my tongue, raise my hands and dance my way through the constant flow of big names and bigger talent that pass by here instead.  With Los Angeles only one episode of ‘Breaking Bad’ away, distance should never stop you from enjoying all that life in Southern California has to offer. If you are interested in exploring your EDM options, either for your first or hundredth time, the most important thing is to stay informed and make the trip. Nothing is worse than missing your favorite artist play due to mere negligence or sloth.  Thus, we must discuss prevention.

First and foremost, you must discover and appreciate the great gift of MusicAlertsNow.com. This site lays out every upcoming EDM event and show onto separate calendars for Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego, making it easier and faster than ever before to start planning your adventures ahead. Secondly, follow your favorite DJ/producers or music blogs on Facebook and Twitter to keep posted on upcoming tour dates, ticket releases, and the occasional competitions to win free entry or VIP access.  For example, the blog GottaDanceDirty.com posted an opportunity to win free tickets to the added Swedish House Mafia show in March before tickets went on sale the following day (the first two shows sold out in minutes—depending on popularity you have to act fast).

The EDM experience varies drastically depending on the show type, artist, venue, and promoter. Be aware of the distinction between a ‘show’ and a ‘festival,’ which may seem self-explanatory but is particularly important in regards to this specific genre. While a show typically takes place in a club style concert venue with an opener and a headliner, EDM festivals are often in outdoor venues with at least two stages and many great headliners playing sets one after the other. However, music has historically gone hand in hand with drug use, and this is no exception—EDM festivals significantly blur the line between festival and ‘rave.’ But trust me, if your interest is the music and not the drugs this aspect is easy to ignore and is handled impressively by most popular promoters (Insomniac! Goldenvoice!).  Free water stations, wide open spaces, strong security, and surprisingly clean and line-free porta-potties restore my faith in the situation and allow me to enjoy the music without having to worry about any underage teens passing out from heat exhaustion at my feet. If you chose to go, don’t feel pressured to do drugs. Take a moment to reflect upon your favorite producers…have you ever seen one wearing stacks of colorful bracelets or sucking on a pacifier at a show? Not likely. Rock and roll was once vilified as ‘the Devil’s music’ for similar reasons and now it is highly revered, so I don’t let the negative connotations stop me from loving the energy and experience of these massive productions and neither should you.

Upcoming EDM events in the LA area:

Porter Robinson & Zedd for Control at the Avalon Oct. 10

Bassnectar at the Hollywood Palladium Oct. 18

Benny Benassi at Exchange LA Oct. 27

Wolfgang Gartner at The Hollywood Palladium Nov. 10 ‘All Gone Pete Tong’ is coming to Exchange LA on Nov. 24, competing with Dirty South at the Palladium the same night, followed by Simian Mobile Disco at The Music Box on Nov. 30.

Popular Nights Out: If you prefer electro to popular house music, check out ‘Control’ at the Avalon on Fridays and Dim Mak Studios on Saturdays. Control consistently raises the bar with a calendar full of big names like Diplo, Crookers, Carl Cox and Nero. Dim Mak Studios, previously known as Cinespace, is co-owned by Steve Aoki and has hosted Peace Treaty and Nada Storm with shows by Kid Cudi, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike coming up soon. They also boast a solid set of resident DJs like Bones to keep it groovy at all times. For more truly underground sounds check out Gotta Dance Dirty’s Thursday night event ‘Versus’ at the Central Social Aid and Pleasure Club in Santa Monica.

For more popular house vibes: Fridays or Saturdays at The Music Box, Supperclub, Playhouse, or the Avalon will likely boast a big-name house DJ at some point every weekend. Keep your eye on the Hollywood Palladium and Exchange LA as the venues most likely to host the biggest shows coming through LA, such as Deadmau5, Pretty Lights, Pete Tong, and Booka Shade.

Halloween: Hard Haunted Mansion presents Day of the Dead: Nov 3.  One look at the line-up of this year’s annual Hard Haunted Mansion puts it at the top of my list for places to be this Halloween weekend. Featuring Justice, Knife Party, Diplo, Major Lazer and Dillon Francis, this festival line-up will serve a satisfying dose of electro, dub-step, and moombahton.  Prepare for madness. Escape from Wonderland: Oct 27.

The Halloween edition of Insomniac Events’ quarterly San Bernadino-based EDM festivals is looking to be a big one this year with headliners like Steve Angello, Laidback Luke and Calvin Harris. While he may not have the name recognition amongst house lovers, do not miss out on the chance to experience techno master Richie Hawtin’s set at Escape. Expect hordes of questionably dressed attendees; try to avoid being one of them. Monster Massive: Oct 27.

After a one-year hiatus, Monster Massive is back in full force this year. Although I have never attended this particular event before I have heard great reviews and know that they have frequently hosted some of the biggest names in the industry like Armin van Buuren. However, with Halloween only a few weeks away, the lack of a confirmed artist line-up is highly suspect.  Additionally, I cannot vouch for the safety or sanitary factors of this event because I do not have much experience with the promoter (GoVentures) or the venue.