The inaugural edition of Diversion - L.A.'s first house and techno block party located within the Downtown Arts District and brought to you by the people behind Prototype - had all the essential ingredients for an outstanding daytime soiree: perfectly warm daytime weather of about 85 degrees, relatively inexpensive drinks, and of course, a highly anticipated closing set by none other than Dixon. L.A. has grown accustomed to high-quality daytime electronic music events such as All Day I Dream and Cityfox, which have, in turn, raised the expectations of the city's clubbing elite. Therefore, we were all expecting yet another gathering for the books.
Rewind to about a quarter 'til five this past Sunday as I entered the outdoor venue through its indoor entry at the back of Lot 613, which not only served as the event entrance but as the location of its after party as well. A very tight yet typical security search annoyingly preceded my entry which then gave way to the outdoor patio area overrun by Porta Potties and a few outdoor bars. I immediately walked further and found my way out onto the designed block party. At one end of the street, food trucks, more bars, and more Porta Potties. At the other end of the street stood a relatively small stage with critically acclaimed Dutch duo Weval, who were finishing up a live P.A. that consisted of downtempo rhythms accompanied by soft and delicate melodies that my newly exposed Diversion ears took in quite well.
With dusk beginning to loom at the five o'clock hour, it was about time for Miami's Danny Daze to take control and get the crowd moving into the sunset. However, yours truly and many others found ourselves a bit let down as Danny never really found focus in his set. Although I can appreciate his unique track selection and the style of his set compared to the other acts on the bill, his combination of rare electro, acid, and other forms of mid-tempo techno left the crowd alienated and unable to ever really jump on a groove.
A Bulgarian wonder producer provided the next 90 minutes of Diversion's soundtrack. Strahil Velchev, better known to most as KiNK, threw down a rousing set filled with a smorgasbord of styles such as gospel, piano house, tech house, and disco house - but all that energy simply was a bit too much for the California daytime revelers, who are often more inclined towards the deeper and more melodic side of electronic music.
Dixon is the man who everyone had come to see. The elusive German behind electronic music's most sought-after imprint, Innervisions. He makes a yearly visit to Los Angeles and today was the day. So if you were a connoisseur of house and techno, you were likely attending Diversion to see this highly anticipated two-hour DJ set from the man himself.
In usual form, Dixon played nothing but the most unpredictable and obscure tunes - such as Beesmunt Soundsystem's soon-to-be-released acid thumper "Playin' Myself" and a brand new eclectic afro-house gem called "Ghomari." However, he truly captivated everyone during a couple of special moments in particular: first, when he played the ethereal Robag Whrume remix of "In The Moment" and then when he finished his set with a captivating, unknown edit of indie rocker Eliot Sumner's "After Dark."
Dixon's two hour set came and went in a flash, and L.A. can't wait to have him back.
Aside from a couple of questionable sets of music and a few logistical issues here and there that every event experiences in one way or another, it's fair to say that Diversion delivered in its own unique way differently than that of any other quality daytime happening in LA. Its organizers provided the quality talent and the unique block party space for old friends, new friends, acquaintances and enemies alike to all come together for the love of music - more specifically, house and techno enthusiasts who love Dixon.
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All photos courtesy of Randon Vannucchi