With techno taking center stage this past weekend, Minimal Effort took the opportunity to bring back dance music to downtown LA.
After years of Halloween raves at the historic LA Exposition Park with the Coliseum and now defunct Sports Arena, Los Angeles had been without a proper Halloween celebration within its city limits. However, Minimal Effort Halloween finally provided a one-day alternative that attracted fans of the darker spectrum of dance music.
Graduating from the club parties of years past, Halloween 2016 marked Minimal Effort’s first foray at a multi-stage indoor/outdoor festival. Local purveyors of dance music Minimal Effort are well recognised for bringing the best in underground electronic artists and this Halloween was their biggest endeavour yet. By taking an approach some would call marginal, Minimal Effort transformed LA Center Studios in the heart of downtown with hanging chandeliers, ambient lighting, and a large visual screen. The festival was advertised as a ten hour long party and attracted many of the city’s dance music enthusiasts and house/techno loyalists.
With over 20 different acts spread across 3 stages: THE GARDEN, THE BRIDGE, and SUARA ROOM, Minimal Effort Halloween brought an eclectic taste to an even more diverse audience. The GARDEN was the smaller of two outdoor stages and featured a list of well-known house artists. Even though plagued by sound issues that delayed music and cancelled three acts, Waze and Odyssey were determined to start the party with a high-energy set for a large crowd that had lined up eagerly to enter the area. TEED also showcased his ability to entertain any crowd he’s put in front of with a varied combination of funky rhythms and classic house vibes. Closing out THE GARDEN stage was TIGA’s much anticipated live show. Commonly known for his impeccable mixing ability, TIGA has been worldwide touring a live show that incorporated drum machines, synthesizers, and his own undeniable voice. With live renditions of his smash hit “Bugatti” and his techno-infused collaboration with Boys Noize “100”, TIGA’s set was sprinkled with acid and kept everyone dancing right up until the last kick drum.
As the largest stage at the festival, THE BRIDGE included a large screen backdrop whose intricate visuals were perfectly suited for a Halloween celebration. THE BRIDGE was dedicated to Minimal Effort’s bread and butter, the dark and deep electronic sounds they’ve highlighted since their inception. The vibe was laid down thick by Sweden’s own Jonas Rathsman and the driving momentum was continued by techno visionary Steve Bug. Legendary BBC Radio curator and now Los Angeles resident Pete Tong more than held his own as his extensive record collection was put on display as he guided the crowd through a myriad of emotions.
The Barcelona based Suara record label has been on a tear in recent years with a dj/producer roster of all of the underground’s heavy hitters and this Halloween Minimal Effort decided to grant the label its own stage. Although the only indoor room was much too small and affectionately nicknamed the “Suara Sauna”, label-head Coyu, Edu Imbernon, and Dosem played to a packed room and each delivered their unique brand of tech-house, techno, and everything in between. While the heat was uncomfortable and sound issues annoying, the Suara cat family was not fazed and dropped bomb after bomb leaving you immobilised on the dance floor.
Providing downtown Los Angeles with an electronic music festival was thought to be a far-fetched dream ever since a notable death from EDC in 2010. However, Minimal Effort was up for the challenge and although the festival was riddled with growing pains, their effort must be commended as it proved that a dance music festival could be run safely and without incident in the city center. Minimal Effort Halloween transformed an urban landscape into a techno playground taking full advantage of LA’s iconic skyline. With a recently announced NYE festival lineup of headliners Recondite, Simian Mobile Disco, and Stephan Bodzin, one can only hope Minimal Effort smooths out their issues as NYE is shaping up to be one hell of a party.