Ahh it’s already Monday and yet I am still thinking back to the epic night on Friday/Saturday morning at Exchange LA in downtown Los Angeles. I will start out by saying that before, I was one of the harshest critics of Insomniac and their productions. While they always brought a lot of good stuff, they oftentimes had issues and problems that made the events unenjoyable. However in the past couple of years, my criticism has heavily subsided and I have turned into one of their biggest supporters. Especially compared to SOME promoters who throw an Armin Only event and then cancel it a month out. And after EDC this year and the event at Exchange, I must say that my support for Insomniac is only growing. So for my review:
Yes! Amazing event. Good times, good vibes, good people, good music.
As I said in my preview, I think Exchange is a great venue for EDM events. It’s one of those places that you look around during a long trancey breakdown and realize just how big and awesome the main room is. The event was sold out but not over-sold so there was plenty of room to move around on the dancefloor. You could actually get pretty far forward, which is always nice if you’re a big fan of the DJ. Try getting up close to Armin at EDC and face trampling, shoving, and possible stomping. It’s not pretty. The venue also had a pretty large VIP area up top which was not only for table service, but for certain lucky people (like myself) to get a good view and escape the masses. Lastly, there is a pretty large area downstairs next to the bathrooms with its own bar and DJ. That area had some cool art setups which I haven’t seen in any photographs yet but check out my instagram (@mishasilin) for some pics.
As far as drinks, it was $10-12 for a mixed drink (didn’t buy beer) which is pretty average for EDM clubs in Hollywood. I’m definitely glad it’s not the $14-16 that they charge in Vegas and high-end Hollywood clubs. You could get free icewater at most bars, however one of the bartenders downstairs wouldn’t pour it for me for some reason and said I had to go to the bar on the other side. To get an icewater? Let’s just say her tip was negatively affected by that.
Bathroom situation was fine – didn’t see too many shady people, line moved quickly, etc. No complaints there, although it would be nice to have a big bathroom on the 2nd floor (please, no need to re-build the whole building for me).
The crowd itself was fairly young and ready to party. Very peaceful. I didn’t see anyone get out of control, get in a fight, or anything like that. People were pretty nice when I would try to move around the dancefloor or VIP area – they would let me through and then go back to whatever they were doing. Definitely one of the best crowds for an EDM show – they are there for the music, not the drugs, or whatever else. Although personally this seems like an overall shift that I have been seeing lately. The ravers are getting separated into their own group, while people who go to shows like these aren’t here to rave, they are here to enjoy the music.
And lastly, everyone’s favorite part – the visuals and lasers. I thought that was well done also – I saw a little more than other times at Exchange but I could be wrong. Anyway, plenty of confetti, cryo blasts, and lasers to go around. Tritonal had some pretty cool visuals while the others seemed to mostly go with the default. No biggie. And of course the sound was crystal clear, no complaints there. I didn’t bring my earplugs and I didn’t feel that it was too loud, however if you are in the middle of the dancefloor the whole night I would definitely recommend it.
Trance trance and more trance. You would think that one would get sick of it, but there was enough variety to the point that it didn’t happen. First up was Leon Bolier (I arrived just as Kristina was getting off the decks, unfortunately). I’m not super knowledgeable in Leon’s sets but for some reason I was expecting a mellow, uplifting set. Boy was I wrong. Leon came out bangin’ and kept it up all the way through. The only tracks I recognized were his – Capetown, You, and Vengeance (unfortunately not the Samuel L Jackson version…) It was a high energy set and got the crowd going, for the most part, however seeing as how he was DJ #2/4 on the lineup and following him were Tritonal, I probably would have mellowed out just a little bit. Also Leon didn’t get on the mic at all which at this point, in my opinion, is a must, unless your set is mindblowing.
Up next were Tritonal. Again, like I said in my preview, I was expecting a good performance based on what I saw at EDC, and I would say that overall Tritonal did a great job. They were definitely the best of the night, and an excellent headliner. They opened with the Prydz remix of M83, which I LOVE, and didn’t look back from there, mixing tracks like Porter Robinson’s Language, an awesome vocal mashup of Omnia & Ira’s The Fusion, the SHM remix of Every Teardrop is a Waterfall (crowd loved that one), Ferry Corsten’s Live Forever, Above and Beyond’s Sun and Moon, and closing out with Motorcycle’s As the Rush Comes. So as you can see, a lot of singalongs, but also Tritonal played a bunch of uplifting trance tunes such as the Duderstadt remix of Dakota – Gypsy Room that broke up the pop songs. Furthermore, they had plenty of crowd interaction – those guys were jumping around, getting on the mic pretty often (didn’t annoy me much), and waving their hands in the air during every breakdown. I’ve noticed that with DJ partnerships such as these guys or Dada Life, it makes it a lot easier to interact with the crowd more, and I think that made a big difference here. In the future, I could definitely see Tritonal opening for Above and Beyond or Ferry Corsten (they probably have already, in fact).
Last up was Richard Durand. He did a good job continuing the energy that Tritonal had during their set. Again, not a lot of stage or mic presence which I think hurt him a little bit, but the good track selection made up for it. He came out blasting with a remix of Ferry Corsten’s Punk that I didn’t recognize (not Arty), and a remix of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. Later on, he dropped my favorite tune – Madagascar – Art of Trance (Richard Durand Remix). But alas, at that point, I was no longer there – I got tired and went home early. That’s what I deserve, I suppose!
If you’ve been reading the whole review you can see that I basically have nothing bad to say except for a few tiny complaints (gimmie free water!). Great crowd, great music, and great venue combine for an awesome and fun night. Looking forward to having more of these at Exchange LA with other interesting artists. I almost want to avoid having the super popular ones because that will bring in a totally different crowd and might spoil the vibe. Let’s start something special here.
Special thanks to all the people at Exchange LA who hooked me up with this night: Anthony, Malia, and Courtney. And thanks to all the photographers that we met, especially Jed whose photos I used in this post.