Star Wars wasn’t the only game in Los Angeles on Thursday night. In what’s become a local tradition for bass loving party kids, record label WeDidIt threw their annual holiday party and it sold out. The difference is that, this time, the event sold out well before doors opened. This despite the fact that, for the second year in a row, they kept the lineup a secret.
“We can just have the record label’s name and people know what it is,” said Shlohmo, who cofounded the label with fellow DJ/producer Nick Melons after graduating high school in 2008. They started throwing the holiday parties in 2011 for the simple purpose of getting all their music pals together during winter break. Last year, the crew stopped announcing the lineup to circumvent the radius clauses that can prevent artists from playing if they have another gig scheduled in the area. The guessing game, however, has been good for promotion.
“It creates a little hype thing,” said Shlohmo. The kids who assumed they’d see RL Grime, perhaps the best known member of the WeDidIt crew, were right. They showed up wearing Grime’s t-shirts and chanted the producer’s name long before his party-closing set — and were rewarded with lots of bass. Onstage, the low end pulsated through shoe soles. Out in the crowd, it prompted a mosh pit.
The venue was more than half-full when Karman, a baseball cap and hoodie-clad up-and-comer who could pass for a high school kid, opened the night. WeDidIt crew members D33J and Groundislava rounded out a lineup that also included sets from Melons and Shlohmo. The big surprises came with the guests, a mix of old friends like hip-hop artist Vic Mensa and emerging artist Pollari.
There were virtually no boundaries when it came to the tunes. Melons got noisy while dropping in stellar pop-minded moments like an edit of T.A.T.U.’s 2002 cut “All the Things She Said.” During Groundislava’s set, the crowd shouted out the lyrics to Katy Perry’s “Firework” as though they were on a karaoke stage. Shlohmo opened with a touch of metal.
The only thing the audience didn’t seem to get was a surprise performance from Leafar Seyer, vocalist for San Diego-based goth duo Prayers. It was a last minute addition to Shlohmo’s set. Seyer happened to be in town and Shlohmo invited him to stop by and perform. “I didn’t know what songs I was going to perform,” Seyer said after the performance. He let Shlohmo pick out two tracks: “Blood on the Blade” and “Gothic Summer,” from Prayers last EP. I could have sworn I heard boos. Shlohmo, who is collaborating with Seyer on new songs, did too — and he seemed excited by that reaction. “It’s just different enough to offend them,” he said. It’s fucking amazing.”
For me, that was the highlight of the night. In a party scene where it seems like people are open to every kind of music, it’s good to know that at least goth can still freak out the crowd.