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Halloween 2017 is behind us. There might be a few clubs and promoters holding on to the spooky aesthetic, but the real nightmare is over. I spent my Halloween at Exchange L.A. with Dirtybird boss Claude Vonstroke as well as Maximono and Worthy. As usual the birds played great sets. Unfortunately there was something missing from the evening.

Exchange used to be L.A.’s Dirtybird destination. A couple years ago, Claude Vonstroke and Justin Martin had residencies there, and fellow birds like Kill Frenzy, Worthy, Ardalan, and J. Philp would commonly join them.

2017 was different though because the birds haven’t dropped by all that often. There was the players night back in February. Kill Frenzy and Worthy made an appearance in June. Shiba San has a residency, but in my experience those shows have a different vibe than a classic Dirtybird function. Other than that there hasn’t been much avian activity at Exchange; especially from the big man himself.

Claude’s last set in LA was back in March at Union. Since then I would surmise that Dirtybird Campout and other festivals hindered his ability to appear because of radius clauses. So when the “very special guest” at Exchange on Halloween night turned out to Mr. Vonstroke, I was ecstatic. Finally the birds would once again takeover Exchange for a night of fun with the best community in all of dance music.

That wasn’t what happened though. Again, Claude, Maximono, and Worthy played great sets. The problem was something more illusive.

Maybe it was because the Campout was barely more than three weeks ago so a lot birds opted for other functions. Maybe it was because it was a Tuesday night, and a lot of people had work the next morning. Whatever it was, it felt like the people in there weren’t looking for a Dirtybird party. It felt like they just wanted to be somewhere on Halloween.

I wasn’t able to attend Campout, and as I said before the number of Dirtybird parties at Exchange (and in L.A. overall) have been few and far between this year. So for me this was a huge night. Claude is one of my favorite DJs after all. The difference was that my enthusiasm is usually matched by the people around me at a Dirtybird party. There were some moments on Halloween when I felt that way, but not like the players night in February. That was an unforgettable night. This night not so much.

Perhaps that’s why the birds don’t show up as much anymore. After all, the vibes and clientele within clubs are always changing. Exchange used to book techno artists like Loco Dice, Sasha, and Dubfire every weekend. Now those DJs almost always play Sound, Union, or other clubs while techno comes to Exchange once in a blue moon.

I haven’t lost faith in Exchange though. The next time I see that egg with a lightning bolt in the corner of one of their flyers I will surely be there. I just hope the rest of my fam is there too.

Feature photo provided by @wearenightowls

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