Low End Theory: Mix Master Mike, Jneiro Jarel & the LAFD
Going to LA sometime in the future?
Of course you are. That is one of the beautiful things about living in Los Angeles: eventually, everybody passes through. Including you.
The next time you visit Crazyland, make sure it is on a Wednesday night so you can experience Low End Theory or as I like to call it, the epicenter of the future of music.
And when you are in LA and the MC shouts “C…..A!” the languid reply is “ALL DAY!” This is not a chant or a cheer however, but more like a call to chill; after the prompt, kids in the club slowly put down the pipe they are smoking, take a sip of their drink, a breath of the warm night air and then slowly yell back, “ALL DAY!”
There is no need to hurry; this is California and things are done a bit differently here- easier, more chill, more pimped out, more ‘fuck all yall’, more falling off the chair and into the night, more steazy, more sunshine, more music. All day.
Last night Mix Master Mike of Beastie Boy fame was in the house to grace us with his turntable skills. The stars were blazing in the gorgeous warm LA evening, and by the time I arrived close to 11 the upstairs dance floor was filled with nodders bumping to the sounds of the Mother Fucking Gaslamp Killer, fresh back from Europe with a gang of new tracks from homies across the pond.
Now, people usually don’t “dance” so much at Low End Theory. There are always a few of us, to be sure, but in general there seems to be this idea that the music is IDM and therefore not to be danced to. I kind of despise the term IDM; though I love being labeled intelligent, for music it just implies that other types of music are stupid and that beats which lend themselves to dancing are for dummies. Smart people listen to IDM and bob their heads. Whatever.
Gaslamp finished up his first set of the night and My Hollow Drum took over the upstairs room. MHD is a collaboration of about a dozen LA DJs, musicians and artists; they have been at Low End Theory a few times and when I see them on the bill, I get excited- their music is fat and fresh and the rotating lineup means that you never know what you are going to get, which is a good thing in my world.
But the real place to be at Low End Theory is outside, down on the dance floor of the half open-air barn, by the Pure Filth speakers and under the rattling roof. The wooden rafters and tin roof panels buzz and shake like the third earthquake this week or something.
Daddy Kev, Nobody, and Gaslamp were taking turns rocking shit out to sweet bassy goodness, playing tracks that I have been given in the last week or so, brand new fresh cutting-edge shit. People don’t even know what to make of the sounds invading their brains. I love it.
With no Nocando last night, the Gaslamp Killer was on the mic periodically with his superfreak style and would shout out the DJs name AND whose track they were playing- for this club nerd, that is awesome. My shorty self can often not even see which DJ is on, and God knows I can’t name every track these pioneers lay down- but I sure do like to know. Props on that, Gaslamp Killer.
Now, the only problem with Low End Theory is that the residents are so goddamned exceptional, talent that comes through really has to step up their game. Good thing last night they did.
Jneiro Jarel or Dr. Who Dat? was the first guest to lay down on the outside stage; he was obviously really stoked to be at Low End Theory and his enthusiasm was catching. He was dancing like crazy and MC’d a bit as well, and was so excited that he seemed to sometimes grab the mic as an afterthought, ‘cuz he was spittin’ anyway. A very enjoyable set!
As much as I love seeing the DJ play with the magic knobs, I like to dance even more which is fairly difficult to do when the floor is packed up front like it was last night, so I found myself at the back of the Airliner by the trees and the grape blunts, dancing with the freaks.
Mix Master Mike came on to much excitement and applause and began chopping shit up right. Low End Theory pops, and Mike knew just how to harness the sizzle and throw it back down on our heads. We screamed.
He was just getting into a stuttering mix of ”Creator” by Santigold when all of a sudden the music shut off and everyone turned around and began walking off the dance floor.
I’m in the back right, like WTF? There is only one thing that can shut down a stage like that: the Fire Department. And indeed it was. I am guessing capacity issues but whatever- these uniformed gentlemen have obviously never been to a rave.
So the masses herded out mooing and the leftovers went upstairs for the rest of the night; Daddy Kev was up quick getting the second dance floor greasy and indeed by the time I made my way up so had Mix Master Mike, and he proceeded to play out his set.
Turntablists amaze me, how they keep the beat in their head while slicing it up with their hands, and this guy is one of the most famous turntablists in the world for a reason. High energy set done with style and then a little something extra, a little Low End Theory grit thrown in.
The sound upstairs at Low End Theory is not as good as the sound downstairs but ya know what when the LAFD shuts things down, you make lemonade. And that shit was tasty.
P.S. FUCK THE POLICE