People have a lot of different opinions about the city of Los Angeles, and a lot of them can be cynical. Traffic, rent prices, duplicity. A lot of people (mostly transplants) are quick to draw these topics like an arrow from a quiver, ready to fire it at anyone who dares reveal their optimism.
But people who know Los Angeles know there is every reason to be optimistic. They see a landscape where people gravitate to be themselves with pride, pursue (and subsequently fulfill) their dreams, and enjoy one of the richest cultures of music on the planet.
Goldenvoice and Framework brought Four Tet and Floating Points to LA recently, and under their direction, Pershing Square became a center point for that sense of optimism. The best the city has to offer, on all levels, converged for one exquisite evening.
Whenever Four Tet and Floating Points come to LA to DJ rather than perform live, the sets are always long. Multiple hours of eclectic selections featuring too many genres and subgenres to list here. For many years, both of them would confine these sets to warehouses. After all, both of them hail from the UK where strictures like ending alcohol sales at 2AM are purely laughable.
Moreover, warehouses serve a rave experience in line with the selections of Four Tet and Floating Points. The environment is that of nuance and intimacy. No one crowding towards the front of the booth. Everyone has room to dance.
But warehouses bring up another cynical aspect of Los Angeles: gatekeeping.
Gatekeeping is based on the idea that the fewer people know something, the better. Perhaps if more people knew about the Four Tet and Floating Points warehouse parties they suddenly would have become crowded messes.
Then at the beginning of 2019, Four Tet, real name Kieran Hebden, emerged from the depths to play a six-hour open-to-close set at the Hollywood Palladium. The Hollywood Palladium is quite divergent from an underground warehouse. Even though his entire production rider consisted of two desk lamps, casting a layer of darkness around the entire 5,000 capacity dancefloor, it is still a commercial venue.
And yet, the crowd at the 2019 set was fantastic. It was just like the warehouses. Everyone was kind, respectful of one another’s space, and most importantly of all, there for the music. Every reason for someone to be optimistic about Los Angeles existed in the crowd for those six hours.
So when Goldenvoice and Framework announced another extended set with Hebden and Floating Points, real name Sam Shepherd, in tow, there was every reason to be even more optimistic, and once again that optimism was well deserved.
Hebden and Shepherd played for five-and-a-half hours together. Five-and-a-half hours of pure magic. Not only did the back-to-back increase the spontaneity of the set, but this time even more of the same wonderful people attended. What’s more, everyone is still reveling in shows post-COVID, and Pershing Square proved to be the best outdoor venue in LA for single-stage dance music parties.
It’s fair to say the energy was high for Hebden and Shepherd’s set. From their opening reggae tracks, to Hebden’s sweetened house tune, “Baby,” to closing with gabber. Everywhere you looked were smiling faces and shuffling feet. It’s definitely comforting to know there are so many great people in the city, and soon they will gravitate to another dancefloor. Might as well go out with a sense of optimism right?
Featured image by Juan Garcia