If there is a temple of electronic dance music in Los Angeles, it is Avalon. Located in the heart of Hollywood, the theater housing it was erected in 1927 and is an opulently designed art deco palace of chandeliers, twisting hallways and vintage baroque touches. Meanwhile, the party powerhouse celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2013 and regular Friday night Control blows out the candles on half decade on January 31 - with Dada Life, Henry Fong and Control co-founder Whiiite playing. This is no fly-by-night venture.
A weekend music mecca, it's the must play venue for big name electronic acts rolling through town, and the venue’s vibe of mystery and magic has lent itself to many unforgettable nights out for hundreds of thousands of LA party people. Having expertly surfed the tidal wave of EDM in the past few years, it's also accelerated the rise of local acts, like Skrillex and SMOG boss 12th Planet, into scene-defining giants.
So it makes the obvious home for DJ Mag' Top 100 DJs tour as it snakes its way around the US. With the line to get inside Avalon snaking down Vine Street, a capacity crowd of 2000 is assembled in the warm Los Angeles winter air when we arrive. Avalon has risen steadily in our reader’s Top 100 Clubs poll in the last few years, rocketing from No.95 in 2011 to No.58 in 2012, before coming in at No.49 in 2013. Sponsored by Miller, the party celebrates Avalon’s status as one of the world’s best dance venues, Kristina Sky, Andy Moor and tyDi those commanding proceedings from behind the decks.
This takes place during Avalon’s longstanding Saturday night party Avaland, which hosts the biggest and brightest names in house, trance and techno. By midnight, the dance floor is packed with excited attendees writhing to the sounds of LA's own Kristina Sky. Sky’s sophisticated, high energy set handily demonstrates why she has shared stages with trance superstars including Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Paul Oakenfold and Above & Beyond. Skillfully raising the intensity in the room right up to the blinking lights on Avalon’s opulently carved ceiling, she sets the stage for the rest of the night’s players.
Celebrated DJ/producer Andy Moor takes over as Saturday night transitions seamlessly into Sunday morning, an ever growing group of well groomed VIP types crowding the stage around him, drinking, dancing and hyping up the British DJ. Down on the packed dancefloor, the party rages as guests revel in Moor’s signature trance and progressive house sounds, which are complimented by the hypnotizing multicolored visual show being projected on the massive LED screen behind the booth. Mixing ethereal vocals with big room beats, Moor inspires everyone in the building - from list and bottle ballers to the couples getting cozy up in the balcony - to explode in a wave of cheers and raised hands each time the bass drops.
Tonight's crowd is a fashionable assemblage of electronic music lovers from all over Los Angeles, the Inland Empire and the adjacent Orange County. “I come here all the time,” says Immanuel Frost of San Pedro, “but this is the best set I’ve ever seen at Avalon.” As Moor’s set goes next level, incorporating darker, edgier beats, the temperature in the room literally rises while the music itself gets louder on the venue’s high octane sound system.
Moor triumphantly surrenders the decks to Australian DJ tyDi for the final leg of our journey. “Los Angeles! I’m so fucking happy to be here tonight,” the classically trained musician and top ranked DJ announces. The applause he receives suggests that Los Angeles is just as happy to see him. tyDi wastes no time launching into a hyphy, full throttle set that includes samples of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and Swedish House Mafia’s “Antidote,” the latter creating one of the biggest moments of the night, folks headbanging during the massive drop. It's just part of a relentless set fusing trance, progressive house and well-placed pop music to appeal to EDM's current widespread demographic, who tonight have come together in force.
A major advantage of partying at Avalon is that, in a town known for shutting down early, the club stays open late and functions as an after-hours venue. The party is scheduled to go until seven in the morning and, indeed, when we leave at 3am tyDi still has the dancefloor in the palm of his hand, hundreds of resilient clubbers soaking in every moment of the set with joyful abandon. Although more people have taken to the seating area in the balcony to sit, rest and enjoy, the crowd had not yet thinned, despite the late hour. It is, for everyone involved, another legendary night in one of the world’s most legendary venues. And with a refurb on the cards this year, it's only going to get more legendary...
Pics: Skyler Greene
Words: Katie Bain
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