Swedish House Mafia March 8th - 9th, 2013 LA Historic Park
Who would have thought that just after seeing the legendary Tiësto sell out the Staples Center on March 2 that LA would receive another one of the biggest EDM weekends since Electric Daisy Carnival was held at the Los Angeles Colosseum. Erick Morillo played at Avalon AND Sound Nightclub, Carl Cox brought the house down at Exchange, Sasha was also at Sound and Ben Klock saw the sun rise at an incredible warehouse party. But the biggest event of the weekend and probably year was Swedish House Mafia's Masquerade Motel which played it's final west coast dates of their "One Last Tour" on Friday March 8th and Saturday the 9th at the LA Historic Park. Only a group as big as Swedish House Mafia would be able to sell 35,000 tickets in minutes only to add more show dates, which included this Friday night event.
One of the most notorious EDM shows since it's debut in 2010 - The Masquerade Motel brought the Swedish House Mafia-themed party from the white island of Ibiza to the United States and for the first and final time to LA. The theme of "Masks On" and the opportunity to be free and let loose is the epitome of what the dance music culture entails and Swedish House Mafia know just how to bring that feeling to their Masquerade Motel party. Thousands of fans braved the cold and rain on Friday to be there for the final opportunity to see the Swedes in all of their glory since Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello announced this would be their last tour ever via their website in 2012. With the slogan "We came, we raved, we loved" this is exactly what we did this weekend as we celebrated one of dance music's most historical nights in LA.
In a way, we wish Live Nation would take a couple of tips from real EDM promoters such Insomniac Events. Last year, around the same time when Beyond Wonderland faced some of the most torrential rain ever, Pasquale Rotella the CEO made sure his team did everything in their power to make the event safe and fun for everyone despite the rain. This included creating a giant tent and hanger over every stage and having ponchos available for purchase. The Masquerade Motel was not as prepared and the thousands in attendance on Friday had to rave in the rain if they were at the main stage and walk through a muddy mess all night. Production for the main stage acts was also lacking and the sound was quite low. The fog machines were cool and all, but we would have expected the production at the venue to create a more immersing experience than a regular concert.
Bored with the mediocre predictable sets on the main stage, we headed into the Ballroom which hosted bass-loving acts like Monsta, Clockwork, Sub Focus and Nero. It was also conveniently located next to a beer garden which at this point was the only way to stay warm. Of course the booty shaking in the Ballroom to some epic dubstep helped too. Clockwork was surprisingly one of the best sets of the evening as well as Subfocus and Nero who never disappoint. Though the sound was a little low the Ballroom was were the real party people were at. From "Harlem Shakes" to almost every favorite on Nero's Welcome Reality album we were happily pleased to be away from the mainstream crap going on at the other stage with lots of bro's who only know "Don't You Worry Child" and "Save the World
Behind." You know those annoying ones wearing YOLO hats and moshing everywhere?
We headed back towards the main stage to catch Swedish House Mafia which included an awkward 30-minute intermission with some guy talking about the app before their 10pm start. Finally as the lyrics "we come, we rave, we love" resonated from the noticeably turned up sound system everyone screamed and chanted in anticipation. The giant LED walls screens and lasers made us realize why we come to these sort of events. Too let every care in the world go and dance your ass off to some of the most stimulating visuals and production this scene has to offer. We did just that as we sang along to some epic mash-ups which included Sebastien Drums and Whelan & Di Scala's "Here I Come" vs. Daft Punk's "Harder Better Faster Stronger" vs. Laidback Luke & Swedish House Mafia's "Leave the World Behind."
The EDM Gods must have heard our prayers because the rain completely stopped and allowed us to enjoy all of SHM's hits, the out of this world lasers, fireworks thanks to Pyro Pete, bubbles and infectious energy from the thousand revelers in the crowd. We sang along to hit after hit, but were happily surprised when they threw down sick tracks like Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike's "Wakanda." That's when the real EDM lovers started shuffle dance offs and went absolutely bananas! Yet when you looked back at the Los Angeles skyline and saw the thousands of people singing along to their remix of Coldplay's "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" you couldn't help but smile at how this music has become larger than life and crossed genres and boundaries like no other. As corny as it sounds, we wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world than amidst the sea of people from all walks of life celebrating the music that brings us all together with a positive message.
Critical Bias: Having been at the first US Masquerade Motel in Las Vegas on Halloween I couldn't help but getting a sense of nostalgia when they played the Axwell & Dirty South Remix of The Temper Trap's "Sweet Disposition" and "One." Those were the jams in 2010.
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The Crowd: Was really everyone from older ravers, burners, EDM newbs, bros, VIP model types, hipsters, ragers and anyone seeing what the hype was all about.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I don't know how many times I've heard 'Epic' and 'Calling' in back to back sets tonight."
Random Notebook Dump: I liked how they gave a big ups to those of us who actually dressed up despite the cold weather - we deserve some kind of prize for flaunting bikinis and masks in the rain.