CONTROL Fridays @ The Avalon. Whether you like it or not, you’ve got a crazy story to tell from a night spent there. We think about what music we may be into right now or not anymore, but you better believe if you live in Los Angeles or have been here for a weekend, chances are you have had a wild one at one of the longest standing electronic music weekly events across the globe. After the “blog-house” scene spilled DJs into clubs and venues nationwide, Los Angeles was a beacon for this growing underground buzz. It wasn’t without difficulty for a young Ryan Jaso and Chris White to prove to the already storied venue, Avalon Hollywood, that their new weekly event CONTROL would gain any traction and or keep the crowds coming. “The red-headed step child” as the owners and managers of the club first called it, CONTROL had to live in the shadow of Avalon’s bigger nights showcasing heavyweights such as Paul Oakenfold, Tiesto, and a still thriving live music calendar. But none of that could stand in the way of what was going to happen with a growing music scene. For 5 years now, the “little weekly party that could” has turned into the taste-making, career-launching, riot-starting, life-changing movement that has kept LA one of the premiere places to discover new talent and see the best of the best at the same damn time.
When it all started in December of 2008, electronic music was NOT in the glorified spotlight it shines in today – sure, there was growing internet hype for the for the indie-electro, blog-house techno and nu-disco styles that we’re first featured at CONTROL, but they were only as recognized as we were at that age. They became our generation of dance music. And at that time when you’re 18-21 years old, the world is not taking you seriously. But that was what the party had to prove, and it was going to take time to grow and the birth of more artists to feed the beast. I remember going to the first of the CONTROL Fridays with a bunch of my friends and having plenty of room on the dance floor to spaz out to the early sounds of A-Trak, Tiga, James Murphy, AC Slater, Drop The Lime, Surkin, and so many more. At that point I was also starting to DJ around town, and finally crossed paths to meet Chris White at a now long deceased club called Opera Crimson. Jonah Berry and I had only recently started Gotta Dance Dirty, giving away music daily and telling the world how much we loved MSTRKRFT. It wasn’t long before GDD joined on to the CONTROL Fridays, pushing the lineups to our friends each week and even booking local young guns to play in the bite-size Honey Lounge and Jerry Lewis room (also inside the venue).
Each week, the bigger household names would play on Saturdays, but CONTROL was starting to make some serious waves. The younger crowds were flocking to the Friday party and so were the younger, cooler DJs. Headliners like Steve Aoki, The Crystal Method, Wolfgang Gartner, Felguk, Crookers, Major Lazer and more were packing the club out every Friday. However, that was not the only allure. The golden goose was the beloved direct support sets from either 11pm-midnight (before the headliner) or 2am-3am (after the headliner). These became the “golden child” time slots, literally the launch pad and most LA debuts for Skrillex, Porter Robinson, Zedd, Bingo Players, 12th Planet, Clockwork, TJR – I mean, the list goes on. Even before the main stage sets, the Honey lounge bookings saw the intimate origins of Dillon Francis, The M Machine (then called Pance Party), Peacetreaty, and a very young Sonny Moore (before the Skrillex moniker). The big names of course sold the tickets but the coolest part was seeing the career-igniting performances from the up-and-comers that are now the face of electronic music today – I mean we were watching history every weekend. Slowly but surely, the world was hearing about it.
But it soon became bigger than CONTROL. The popularity of dance music in America was spreading like wildfire, with new talent emerging everyday and the household names leading the front lines of the internet. Friday nights were gaining huge momentum. In the first weekend of November 2010, CONTROL hosted the infamously rowdy Swedish duo Dada Life, and lets just say things escalated quickly. The night had gotten so overpacked that the LA fire marshall had to bombard the main stage and announce to the thousands in attendance that they were shutting the party down. Passions were high as bottomless crowds poured into the streets on Hollywood & Vine. But even the aftermath couldn’t kill what had already been built in (then) only 2 years time. Since then, CONTROL has taken on a life of its own, standing as the only weekly party in Los Angeles that has prospered with its immense capacity. Legends like Green Velvet, Jesse Rose, Lee Burridge and Claude VonStroke have made for some of the best nights in house music. The rise of dubstep in the America saw CONTROL as a hub for its movement, with heavyweights Rusko, Caspa, Borgore, Excision, Datsik and 12th Planet frequenting the stage and keeping swarms coming back for more. Soon after, the emergence of trap began to prevail in the same fashion. As the only 19+ party that was getting the biggest and best, the growing generations like a moth to the flame know exactly where to go each week to get their fix.
This Friday, we celebrate not only the 258th night of CONTROL, but 5 historical years of electronic music in Los Angeles, and half a decade of where we have gone and been and listened and loved. As a former resident DJ for CONTROL, I’m privileged to be opening and closing the night with Sam Hiller (formerly of Peacetreaty and the now resident of CONTROL), alongside DJ sets from Whiiite (Chris White), the rising phenom Henry Fong, and the triumphant return of Dada Life. We started doing this because of the music, and it is the music that keeps the party going and our drive alive. CONTROL has reached a milestone, but the electronic music scene has not stopped growing and I don’t see an end in sight. We can only look forward to what is to come, and whoever we will be dancing dirty to next.
PHOTO CREDIT: Drew Ressler | RUKES.com