Giant Village Downtown Los Angeles Summer Party – July 22, 2006 8pm – 4am
Summertime hit Los Angeles forcefully this year, keeping in trend with global warming’s effect on most cities around the world. Varying temperatures, high humidity, hotter than normal days and bizarre rainy afternoons have made it seem more like Arizona or New Mexico, here, than sunny Southern California. And Saturday the 22nd of July was no exception. Temperatures ranged from 119 degrees in some parts of the Valley to over 100 degrees downtown, with close to 48% humidity throughout. Around 5pm, lightening storms began to hit the city, and power outages caused traffic delays several hours’ long. Some of us wondered if the party might be cancelled, just like Giant’s NYE party of 2006, but we set out and tried to make the best of it.
We arrived at the gates and had no problem getting in, but unfortunately, this year, the normally accessible All-Access press-photo wristbands were on tight security, which meant that this gal didn’t get any extra lovin’. So, sorry folks. My photos are limited simply because I’m used to shooting from backstage and didn’t come prepped with an extra photographer with a long-angle lens. I did try to get some shots, but because all the big playahs were far, far away from my vantage point in the crowd, I didn’t get any usable shots of any of the headliners. And that night featured a plethora of talent:
Grand Stage: Omar Khan, Jason Bentley, Paul Oakenfold, and Deep Dish
Flower Stage: Mark Tabberner, James Zabiela, Jimmy Van M, John Digweed
Hope Stage: David Moses, Boris MD, Matthew Dekay, Markus Schulz, Christopher Lawrence.
Community Service: Jay ‘Idol’ Videna, Robotronik, Hybrid, The Crystal Method
Deep: Raul Campos, Marques Wyatt, Miguel Migs, Mark Farina
Regardless of the change in policy, I ain’t bitchin. I’m glad to have gotten in the show for free. And truth be told, after desperately trying for the first few hours to fulfill my photographer duty, only to get an ant’s eye shot of [some DJ]’s feet underneath a Technics deck, all the while being bumped back by the crowd, I simply gave up. And instead of being annoyed, my reduced status actually freed me from feeling compelled to cover everything. So in the end, I went up where the music led me, instead of going from stage to stage, getting shot after shot. And you know what? In the process, this reviewer got to be a fan again, just following her bliss.
We began our evening sojourn into Giant at the Deep stage, catching Marques Wyatt’s set of sexy, bass-swingin’ house. The man knows how to mix and he certainly knows how to get a crowd going. I can not recommend Marques Wyatt enough. Although his sets do stray into a lot of Chicago-vocal house, which isn’t my particular thing, I can assure you that he does the vocals proud. And for my friends who do like that sound, they swear by him. My personal favorite Marques sound is that unstoppable, bumpy tribal swing. That flick, move, and twirl of the hips, the everlasting grin, the “I can’t stop dancin’” feet, and that shake of the head – that’s the energy of Marques Wyatt, and boy, does he do it well. Marques has been entertaining and uplifting dancers all around the world for a long time, and he has never lost his mojo. He’s inspired by music and it shows. That night, Marques kept it up for hours, filling the Deep tent ‘til it overflowed into the street. (n-i-c-e-!)
Over at the Flower Stage, we checked out James Zabiela, who was kickin’ it up. Depeche Mode remixed over wicked beats and funky progressive breaks. Wha’ the hell kinda mad beats does this kid kick up? Every time I see him, I am just speechless. He has the energy of Lee Burridge or Adam Freeland behind the decks – smiling, jumping around, so HAPPY to be there, but his music is more along the lines of a modern-day Sasha. Truly a pleasure to watch, if you haven’t heard Zabiela soon, I highly encourage you to check him out (!)
During Zabilela’s set, Jason Bentley was spinning over at the Grand stage, which was packed and jumping to funky bossa nova soul. Bentley’s a classic. What can you say? He’s done a hell of a lot for our scene. Props.
Over at the Community Service tent, we discovered Robotronik, just before Hybrid was about to get on. These guys are fun-ky, dishin’ out some serious beat-scratchin’ breaks. And the energy in that tent all night was great all night long. Funky, fun, and a little wicked. (yeah !), with people of all shapes, colors, ages, and races. To me, that’s the most beautiful unifying aspect of dance music. When you get down and I mean, you REALLY get down, it doesn’t matter if you’re a hippie or a 36DD silicone breasted O.C. babe. Ya gots to git down. And people were getting’ down all night in this tent. Loved Community Service (!)
Back at the Deep tent, Miguel Migs had gone on 45 minutes early, tag-teaming it with Marques Wyatt. Holy shite (!) Talk about sexy, tribal beats, and I mean drums dancing in the core of your cells madness. It was unstoppable in there. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that most of my friends think that Migs is hot. His music is definitely hot. And that’s all there is to it. The crowd was made up of everyone – frat boys, boys-town boys, girls, babes, couples, folks in their 50’s, and kids in their 20’s – we were all kickin’ it up to Migs’s brand of seriously ridiculous tribal funk. It was almost impossibly hard to tear myself away and check out…
Hybrid, back at the Community Service stage. Okay, so Hybrid is great I respect what he does, but for some reason, I was feeling Migs more.
The rest of the evening devolved into trips from one tent to the other. I’ve never been a personal fan of Oakie, so I just left that area alone. The crowd was too buggy to maneuver without a pass and the music wasn’t my thing. I checked out Digweed, but he wasn’t moving me. And although I ended up at Deep Dish for a good long while, I can’t say that they blew my mind, either. They are amazing producers and wonderful performers, and they really blow your mind when they spin indoors- in clubs. But ay, there’s the rub: their music is precisely meant just for clubs, with flashy lights, sexy go-go dancers, and preened punters. Outside, somehow, it just doesn’t hit the spot. In fact, it felt a little soft, a little fake, and a little cheesy.
I ended back at the Community Service tent, for the rest of the night. The Crystal Method were not just kickin’ it down, but tearin’ down the house. I got backstage thanks to Lori and Brandi (thank you!) and spent the rest of my night, dancing to everything from ILS to Beastie Boy’s, “You Gotta Fight For Your Right to Party.”
Crystal Method’s Ken and Scott never cease to amaze me. These guys are not just amazing performers, but they still really care about their fans. I saw it, in front of my own eyes. Picture ops with fans, smiles, and true happiness. There is no attitude with these guys. They give off a tremendous openness to their energy, and it shows.
All in all, I loved Giant’s Outdoor Summertime Party 2006. Really, really loved the entire evening. Sure, there were problems. Water ran out around midnight at the main bar. There was at least one police scuffle. And more than one person passed out on the concrete, surrounded by EMT’s. But for a party this size, Giant did amazingly well.
What a fantastic way to spend an evening. 9/10.
review by Aria
/deana aria mayland/