Claude VonStroke and his Dirtybirds are no strangers to Los Angeles. The birds frequently brought their irreplaceable vibes to the City of Angels even before they blessed SoCal with the Dirtybird Campout. Their mecca of choice? Exchange LA. The birds love Exchange.
In 2015 both Claude VonStroke and Justin Martin had residencies at Exchange. Christian Martin just celebrated his 40th birthday there. And whether it was a Dirtybird night or not, almost all the birds have come through there at one point or another.
Given that the players are all Exchange veterans, it might seem like another Dirtybird night isn’t that big of a deal. However, last Saturday was special because Dirtybird took over Exchange. There were no unknown openers taking up time. There were no random closers switching up the vibe. From the moment the music started to the moment it ended the Dirtybirds did what they do best.
This night was also different from other Dirtybird nights at Exchange because there was no headliner. Dirtybird fam is down whenever one of the players stops by Exchange, but like most club bookings in the world Dirtybird nights often have an opening act and a main act.
Despite this common practice, if you ask any true Dirtybird fan they will tell you that just because Claude, Shiba or Justin Martin often land top-booking it doesn’t mean the other birds are less fun to watch. Part of what makes Dirtybird so special is that the players all love each other and respect each other equally. When the Dirtybirds gets together, they’re not trying to highlight the headliner, they’re trying to have a great time. That’s why at the first Dirtybird Campout, every artist (before after hours) had 90-minute sets. Sure some people had to play earlier in the day, but no one was jibbed on time. They all had an equal opportunity to express themselves.
What this does is help to take attention away from who is actually DJing and let’s everyone focus on having fun. Last Saturday no one knew who was spinning first, second or third before hand. No one was waiting for the top booking so they could go home after. Everyone just showed up when they felt like it and stayed as long as they wanted. That is the core of the Dirtybird vibe. Who is playing isn’t what’s important. What’s important is bringing the team together for a good time, and that’s exactly what happened at Exchange last Saturday.
Christian opened and did a better job at it than pretty much every DJ I’ve ever seen. Instead of keeping it light to warm up the crowd for the other DJs he went straight in on some of the dirtiest house beats I’ve heard in a while. The only thing moderately laid-back about it was the tempo which gradually increased until Kill Frenzy came on at 12.
By then the place was packed with Dirtybird fam. Everyone there was feeling the vibe and Kill Frenzy assaulted the crowd with his signature style of upbeat techno. It was the best set of the night and naturally flew by in seconds.
Next up was J. Phlip who was spinning in front of some of the happiest people in LA, even happier than the people who flew in to accept their Grammy awards. By the time she came on it was widely known that Justin Martin, Billy Kenny, Justin Jay, and more Dirtybird pals were in the building (mostly because they were partying on stage). So after about 40 minutes of J. Phlip’s bass-heavy breaks, Justin Martin joined her on the decks to finish of her set with a back-to-back.
After her Ardalan was supposed to be on, but frankly I’m not sure if he played by himself for more than 15 or 20 minutes. The vibe was so real. The bass was so heavy. The crowd was so up. Everyone in that place was feeling the love which included everyone on stage, and soon enough a monstrous back-to-back was happening in the main room of Exchange. Even if your eyes were locked on the booth it was hard to tell who was playing. The best part is, it didn’t matter who was playing. Dirtybird fam was out in force that night, and the birds themselves brought the same force to the decks.