Published on June 26th, 2012 | by Meryl Luzzi0
Review: Insomniac Events presents Awakening Launch at Exchange LA 6/22/12
In March, Markus Schulz mentioned that out of all the cities in the States throwing huge EDM parties, Los Angeles, was by far the epicenter. A tall order considering how most festivals are adding a New York City outfit and Miami continues to bring superstar DJ’s night after night. It wasn’t clear to anyone who didn’t live in LA or who hasn’t played there why this statement could be true, but this past Friday’s Awakening launch at Exchange LA may have just solidified Schulz’s statement. Conceived by Insomniac Events, Awakenings is a new trance and progressive event, which will take place every Friday at what most consider being LA’s premiere EDM venue. Exchange LA saw a lot of improvements on their already unique space (the building itself is the old LA Stock Exchange) for the sold-out launch; dancers in gold bikini’s graced the stage, an Awakenings light drop donned stage right while an Insomniac light drop was featured stage left, an emcee was present to hype the crowd and there were light fixtures on stage bannisters all borrowed from other successful Insomniac events. The add-ons were nice, but the energy that built throughout the night was better.
Leon Bolier, a man of definitive tastes, took the stage after resident Kristina Sky. Away from the groovy and melodic, Bolier once again demonstrated that not all trance is uplifting nor progressive with his ability to provide a hard-hitting and high-paced driven set. With an infusion of chugging kicks and rolling bass lines, Bolier dove right into the evening with layered rhythms of big bass delight. Laden with ferocious and strong vibes, Bolier put a chunky package of trance tunes into one techy-psy-hard trance set as a prelude for the evening’s softer glow. Boiler’s mixing is less so about him and more so about the trance movement that he is wholeheartedly an advocate for. He manages to keep his sets distinct from other trance acts and therefore propelling himself forward as an act that can be separated from the masses of generic material that’s so often being spun today.
As soon as the lights dimmed and Texas natives Chad Cisneros and Dave Reed appeared behind the decks the energy burst; a tone that would extend beyond their two hour set. After their much-loved EDC Las Vegas set, Tritonal had their work cut out for them. But as they’re always willing to side-step in and out of the box, Tritonal orchestrated a dramatic trance and house filled set that bounced around genres all the while staying true to their gritty mixing abilities and exhilarating sing-a-longs. From their club mix of “Can’t Keep It In” dropping straight into the break of the Arty Rock ‘N’ Rolla remix of “Punk” to their new club release of “Everafter” and collab with Kaeno called “Azuca,” Tritonal covered all the staples. They switched up their jagged basslines with the steady rolling progression of the Swedish House Mafia remix of Coldplay’s “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” and Porter Robinson’s “Language.” Churning out new remixes from their Piercing the Quiet album, the boys created mass appeal by delivering every last batch of the goods. Eric Prydz’s “Allein” had the crowd chanting and “Sun and Moon” by Above & Beyond had them belting out the lyrics. Tritonal never seems to lose a crowd’s interest and their energy is completely unmatched. No matter the track or the style, Tritonians fed into Dave’s heavy eqing and Chad’s raging dance moves. A big component of the duo’s interaction with the crowd was actually acknowledging them from time to time. They’d be smiling and waving at individuals and even walked beyond the decks to shake a few hands with loving fans. As a DJ you always play to your audience and Tritonal has a true connection with theirs, which is why their sets are so memorable whether you’ve seen them once or three times in the past year. Finishing their set with the melodic-intact Seven Lions remix of “Still With Me,” Tritonal made quite the impression and surely kept everyone wide awake from the early smiles to the last waves of goodbye.
As Tritonal left audiences with swollen feet, starry-eyed and thirsty for more, Durand hit the stage with a diversified set. With influences across the electronic spectrum, Durand manages to combine tech and house with uplifting and summery sounds. After exploring Australia for the tenth installment of In Search of Sunrise, Durand brought a rather progressive set to Los Angeles. Filled with ballistic tunes with bombarding baselines, Durand’s set was both euphoric and house-y. The moody melodies, synth stabs and peak-time progressive fillers transitioned between the bright and cheerful summertime grooves that Durand has been responsible for some time now. With an arsenal of lean and mean tracks, Durand worked through a set that was perfectly tailored for the LA Awakening’s audience.
Hallow-eyed, drenched in sweat and physically exhausted, people stumbled out of Exchange LA at 3 AM – all clear signs of a dance party of epic proportions. Next week’s lineup includes goofy progressive house Aussie Jaytech, Los Angeles-based and Above & Beyond approved, Norin & Rad and support from the young and talented Nate Rathbun, better known as Audien. If there’s one thing we can recommend you do this summer, it’s to attend Awakening at least once. Ok, maybe more than once.