Past the threshold that unites Santa Ana's venerable Diego's Downtown and Festival Hall, and you're instantly greeted with a bold world of color. Dancers throw around glowing neon hula hoops around their bodies, while a small cushioned area resembling an opium den allows for guests to visit and tell stories; live painters move paint around furiously on their canvases. On stage, Noise Revolt member and musician+producer Jesta beats on a large conga drum to his DJ set while a western-themed experimental film is projected onto him.
The scene largely resembles a small Burning Man-esque party, aided by the hippied-out attire of guests and artists. But all this controlled chaos is meticulously planned out by members of the DJ collective Noise Revolt. In just a year, Noise Revolt have created a following from tacking on artists, dancers, and other creative individuals (they frequently include body painting and henna) in their events to bring different crowds and arouse creative minds and to reshape the nightlife in Orange County.
The beginnings of Noise Revolt started back in 2012 when Jesta, aka Jordan Elliot and fellow NR DJ Raskal, aka Jeremy Raskal met at the Lightning in a Bottle festival. Both springing from OC, they bonded over their familiar upbringings and their mutual passion for music, but groundwork for Noise Revolt wouldn't come about until a trip to the desert. Inspired partly by the lack of variety and artistic expression in the current nightlife scene, they manifested a plan for what would eventually be Noise Revolt. "We wanted to create a platform to encourage people to find their creative potential, and to create a new interactive aspect to the nightlife scene," says Elliot. "We're trying to bring out the artist and creatives within everyone, ever if they don't realize it," adds Raskal.
The first Noise Revolt event would happen in June of 2013 at Detroit Bar and feature live painters, a line up of well-known DJs in the area and dancers. More interactive features, such as the "collaboration station," where blank canvases are left out for guests to do their own works of art. They've also started a branch within Noise Revolt called "Soul Jam," that includes yoga sessions and meditation exercises, as well as art. Such a busy atmosphere would find a way in the hearts of locals; their first show generated about fifty guests, while their last show at Diego's in May brought in over two hundred. The crowd, clad in their summer shorts and bare feet, danced madly to the tunes in the stage area where a giant painted wooden wheel installation by Zach Young stood, inviting anyone to spin it- or just marvel at it.
And then there's the music; every event includes an exciting line-up of DJ's like Thriftworks, Jamie Schwabl, and GRN+GLD members Dirty Merlin and Repeated Measures. "We've taken a lot of risks with who we book and what we bring to the event and the movement keeps growing. A lot of promoters and event producers are afraid to step out of the boundaries and try something new," Raskal states.
Now as the group gets ready to celebrate its first year, they're throwing a big celebration and fundraiser to fund more projects and ideas, as well as to book bigger names for its shows. The line-up this time around boasts two stages- one for house music and another for bass music. And in usual form, an array of live painters will be setting up easels to showcase their skills in real time next to more giant installations by Young. Guests are even encouraged to celebrate the occasion by coming in dressed in onesies.
Noise Revolt has already expanded into doing events in LA as well, so for the moment they seem poised for success, yet tremendously ambitious to build up the events with more collaborations and bigger bands and DJs, as Raskal states, "We're bringing the transformational festival experience
that you can get at places like Burning Man and Lightning In A Bottle to
OC. We want to shake up the scene around here and open people up to new ideologies, arts, and sounds."
Noise Revolt is presenting their first year anniversary fundraiser tonight at Diego's Downtown featuring Le Rugg, DJ DaVoid, Bur Gur and more. To check out the event online, visit the Facebook event page here