The music began playing at 4:00 pm in San Francisco and did not subside until 4:00 am in San Diego. As for what happened in between, it’s safe to say that there were illegal amounts of energy pulsating throughout the entire state of California. On Sunday, Feb. 16, LED combined forces with Goldenvoice to celebrate its third anniversary with not one, but three massive, truly “finger-lickin’” shows in the golden state’s music hotspots, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and LessThan3 was fortunate to be present at the SF and LA showings.
There’s nothing like a party at Fort Mason to bring out the raver masses, and the Fort is certainly well-prepared for it, with a gigantic warehouse that lends itself well to the “oldschool rave” feel. The crowd was ready and raring to go by the time local act Whitenoize took the stage, followed by DJ Green Lantern who trapped the crowd up before the first big room electro act of the evening–Melbourne bounce king TJR. TJ played a similar set to his later LA outing, which is outlined later in this article. While many were surprised by his relatively early set time of 5:30, this was explained by his need to immediately hop on a flight and head down to LA for his evening set at The Shrine.
EDM “man of the hour” DJ Snake was supposed to follow TJR, but technical difficulties prevented this, and instead the crowd listened to Santigold over the speakers for around 30 minutes before the next act, Adventure Club, arrived onstage a half hour before their scheduled time. The crowd certainly didn’t seem to mind, though–they arguably raged the hardest during AC’s set, which has taken a marked big room direction, perhaps to the surprise of their early adopter fans who first came to love the group through the melodic dubstep sound they presented in tracks like Crave You and Rise & Fall. That’s not to say they didn’t drop those tracks though, much to the delight of the sing-along crowd.
Whatever technical maladies Snake was having earlier in the evening seemed to have been remedied by the end of Adventure Club’s set, and the man finally took to the stage around 8pm for a set laden with trap, booty bass, and the all-around mayhem Snake has become famous for. Crowd favorites in this set included an as-yet-unknown booty-shaking remix of Face Down, Ass Up and recent track with Lil Jon Turn Down For What?, which currently sits at #1 on the US iTunes dance chart.
Albeit 30 minutes later than originally scheduled, the legend that is Laidback Luke took the stage at 9:00 pm for 90 minutes of electro mayhem that could only be from the mind of Luke. There were many tracks that were crowd-pleasers during his hour-and-a-half romp, but among the most memorable were his tribute to the late SonicC with Stickin’, which he played as the second track in his set, and his personal edit of Invalyd and Jonny Rose’s Let Your Heart Go, a track recently signed to his Ones To Watch label that he chose to use as his encore.
The legendary Shrine Expo Hall in downtown Los Angeles opened its doors to 6,000 music-loving kids and adults alike at 9:00 pm on Sunday night. Furry boots and 2-stepping sneakers lined up along the outside gates, their owners extremely eager to get inside. Even before entering the venue, there was already a general sense of high spirits and excitement circulating throughout the crowd.
Dutch/Turkish DJ Ummet Ozcan got the night started in the most appropriate way, by playing the tracks which mild enough for an opening set but also powerful enough to get the audience pumped for the madness which ensued. Originally known for his trance productions, Ozcan displayed a perfect balance in his set between melodic tunes and big room electro records. Most notable was his collaboration with R3HAB and Nervo, Revolution.
Next came Pegboard Nerds, a Scandinavian dubstep/glitch hop duo by the names of Alexander Odden and Michael Parsberg. Their set immediately took the energy a couple levels higher and about midway through when they dropped Dillon Francis and DJ Snake’s new track, Get Low, it was clear that the party had officially started. The pounding bass was so heavy that the entire room began vibrating along with the music. Odden and Parsberg seemed to have a natural ability to connect with and feed off the vibes from the crowd, which was sure to score them tons of new fans after last night.
At 10:45 pm, it was time for the highly-anticipated TJR to hit the decks. Living up to his reputation, TJ wasted no time at all in releasing the major bangers. He opened with his edit of Will Sparks’ Ah Yeah, which got the audience in a bouncing rhythm that lasted throughout the entire set. This was followed by an eclectic selection of party tracks including Steve Aoki, Chris Lake, and Tujamo’s Boneless, an electro remix of Rihanna’s Monster, and of course the TJR favorite, What’s Up Suckaz.
I had the chance to catch up with TJR following his LA set, and he was filled with nothing but positive emotions about both his San Francisco and Los Angeles shows. When asked about the difference between the SF and LA atmosphere, he claimed, “Really the only difference was the venue and the time of day. Both shows were filled with the same crazy people. There’s really something about California–California goes off.” After hearing his sets at nightclubs in the past, it was evident that TJR played completely different music for festival crowds versus club crowds. In response to this, he explained, “I go faster and harder for the festivals. The crowd is really responsive and receptive to everything. I have to keep it super high-energy the whole time and also throw in something different so people remember my set.”
Just when it seemed like the energy had hit its breaking point, Dutch brothers Wouter and Sjoerd Janssen, together known as Showtek, arrived on the stage. With their mix of hardstyle, progressive, and electro-house hits, Showtek definitely inspired a new wave of vigor throughout the raving crowd. Ironically, their record titled Slow Down incited just the opposite–there didn’t seem to be a single individual who wasn’t dancing during this track. This was followed by their more recent track, We Like To Party, as well as their collaboration with Hardwell, How We Do. As one brother handled the turntables, the other utilized the microphone to keep the audience pumped as the night progressed. Right around midnight, large white balloons were released during the crowd favorite <Get Loose, and the momentous confetti explosion coincided with Showtek and Justin Prime’s hit, Cannonball.
Last but certainly not least, Dutch producer/DJ legend Chuckie ended the show with a bang. His song selection was the most diverse of the bunch and certainly displayed his aptitude for seamless mixing and mashing. For example, he followed Turn Down For What by DJ Snake with a mash-up of Alice Deejay’s Better Off Alone and Calvin Harris and Florence + The Machine’s Sweet Nothing, which transitioned into Justice’s We Are Your Friends. The most emotionally captivating moment of the night occurred when Chuckie dropped the W&W remix of Armin Van Buuren and Trevor Guthrie’s This Is What It Feels Like. The entire audience seemed connected as friends and lovers embraced each other and sang along with the heartwarming lyrics.
Finally, Chuckie strategically closed his set with the feel-good classic, Love Is Gone by David Guetta and Chris Willis. And with that, showgoers walked out of The Shrine completely satisfied with their not-so-typical Sunday nights.
Josh Bennett contributed to this article.