Saturday night. It was just another night in the Los Angeles jungle. Dynagroove was set to go. It was a cool and overcast 10 pm exiting off the 7th street ramp winding my way into a dormant downtown hemisphere. Quiet took over after a long burn on the interstate 5 while the subdued hum of sodium street lamps, busses, newspaper delivery trucks and ragtag street dwellers kicked in. Kohler Street was a few blocks down 7th, moving through pockets of small Latin markets still alive, still kicking. Even though they were empty and colored into the deep grayish shade of nighttime downtown, the vibrations were comforting. I made a left onto Kohler and found a spot right in front of 747. I recalled the last Dynagroove back in September. Without even opening my door I hear the thump inside bulging through onto the quiet street. It was going to be a good night.
I walked into a near empty warehouse as Cade warmed up the air. He didn’t mind because we all knew by midnight the place was going to be packed into a mad frenzy. That’s just how it works at 747 Kohler. It’s small, intimate and well guarded. People feel safe and comfortable by the immediate vibe. Cade knew this as he welcomed me.
Thomas Sahs stood still, excited and smiling along the brick wall behind the decks. His anticipation to play was written all over him. Slowly people began to gather. Cade kept it bouncy and groovy – controlled – whipping around the shapes of sound as people began to arrive. I took a few shots of Cade and slipped outside to have a smoke and catch up with arriving friends. Not 15 minutes go by and as soon as I returned inside Cade had a healthy floor parading around in excitement for the rest of the night to unfold. Thomas Sahs was beaming at this point; everyone was ready. Cade’s host set got everyone going. Thomas locked into his laptop and cutting edge mixing console. The frenzy took over. Like a cinematic jump cut the dance floor turned into a zoo of freaks ready to take it all night long. This is why Dynagroove is so special. The subtle dynamics in the way the evening unfolds.
Sahs put on an electrifying and enigmatic set. The frequency was definitely new as he mashed the elements of deep house out through waves of jackin’ Chicago, sexy French, unassuming Germany, and spaced out San Francisco. The screaming crash- cuts of colorful melodies kept it cool. He weaved the layers seamlessly, pushing out new themes every minute. The dirty French references in the mix created a non-preconceived mood. The feel-good swirl was on. Just shut up and dance! That’s how it felt. The floor got so hot and mixed up there could have been a horse right there in the middle of it all and nobody would think twice about it. It was all about the music. I stopped to consider the surrounding Downtown LA dimension outside the 747. It felt like Chicago, it really did. And sure enough, Diz pops out of nowhere. If anyone is going to justify the LA-Chicago assimilation that night, DIZ was the man.
And that is just what he did. Like a clean up batter, Diz came on clutch with his energy. The angst moodiness of Los Angeles was harnessed in the Chicago delivery. Diz didn’t fuck around – AT ALL. He went for the kill and sent everyone into that frenzy for the last gust of freakiness.
Before LA turns into a calm and gentle morning, DIZ exploded the 747. The mix was transfixing, brining on a deep and legit re-mix of the Doors’ Riders on the Storm early into his set. He knew, we all knew, that once Ray Manzarek’s mesmerizing electric piano solo came on the place was due to melt. It was perfect. And as much as he packed in after that telling remix, his closing track was a slinky-funky remix of Steely Dan’s Time out of Mind. Fitting.
Dynagroove did it again. Quality time with people who know what they want: quality music all night long – I mean, why else would someone go to Dynagroove?
April 13th 2009
F-Yeah Fest: Eagle Rock, California
They were due to play at the Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock, a post-bucolic pastoral suburb of Los Angeles. The town’s gravity ebbs from the historic Occidental College, which lies hidden amongst oak trees and Bougainvillea flower bushes scattered every which direction. Eagle Rock was an appropriate destination for the traveling folk band from San Francisco.
The venue was a Spanish built church renovated into a Universalist community center of some kind. A modest sign on the front lawn read: EAGLE ROCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS. The church was on an incline, fed by elegant concrete steps winding up top. Orangish yellow stage lights faintly casted out onto the steps, toning the bushes and baby trees on the property. Soothing. A subtle ode to the band was in everyone’s demeanor.
Richard Swift opened up, sending the right vibration for the hundred plus crowd. For intermission there was a rare groove DJ who looked like a cross between David Byrne and Clint Eastwood. 3 Comedians warmed up the crowd, including a heady bit by Josh Faden.
After a warm Eagle Rock welcome, front man Andy Cabic and the 5-piece band delivered an analog, soft-real-soft, ensemble of blues, folk and jazz. The songwriting forgave everyone.
Despite some initial feedback the band rocked everyone into a dream like state. The sound issues didn’t even break their firm hold on the music. “On a Nerve”, a song that renders life into shapes, sent everyone swooning, eyes closed, Cabic included, “…the shape of things to come.” They played a healthy 90-minute set creating an atmosphere of comfort and stillness. Just as soothing as the opening, the close was like a deep sigh of relief. Amazing music prevails.