Mom and dad, I know this is hard to hear, but I have to come out. I’ve never been to a dance music festival. Sure, I work in a nightclub and have seen electronic shows, but never have I dared step in the open air.
All My Friends Music Festival, then, was a chance to right this unforgivable wrong. And man, what a time it was.
The crowd is unrelentingly gorgeous, like, Jesus Christ. The fest is divided between two stages, the massive Friendzone stage housing the night’s headliners.
I kicked off my night with the relatively hard sounds of Matroda, the banger slinging pretty boy of EDM. This guy is absolutely magnetic, a cool presence in the face of a sonic storm. Ratcheting things up was Kaleena Zanders, the self-proclaimed EDM Whoopi Goldberg, who served vocals and energy, honey.
Destructo offered something a bit more groove based, with taut and accessible synth lines shouting into the night, funk basslines galore. He brought up two cool ass cheerleaders who added a bit of camp to an already fun as hell set.
Idris Elba was the night’s big mystery. He’s an A-list actor hoping to show audiences he can switch it up and rock an hourlong DJ set. And rock he did.
He had a decidedly stoic energy as he burned through rife with tasteful vocal samples and a pronounced 90s deep house aural aesthetic. When he and Justice had their brief b2b moment, the crowd roared with appreciation. LA shows love, y’all.
What a day. The crowd was so loving toward the performers but also toward each other. People compliment you like crazy, make conversation, and gush over their faves in a completely unguarded way. I felt so refreshed after day one, I couldn’t wait to slide into the next.
Bruno Furlan kicked off my night on the BFF stage. I got to stand right behind him for a set that was equal parts buoyant and blistering.
His mix of Hollaback Girl was a freaking riot; a rare crowd sing a long at a mostly vocals free fest. He also played what I think is the like, Warner Bros movie theme song. It was funny as hell, maybe my favorite set of the weekend.
Competing for that title was diplo’s B2B set with MK, which was packed with so much soul I almost cried. Came this close.
Their set was much more vocal-sample heavy, which added to the sort of melancholy joy throughout their hour. They closed with that hot hot jam that goes ‘don’t walk, away boy. my love won’t hurt you!’ Love that song.
I stopped over at DJ Harvey’s set and was thrilled by how gay it was. Known party presence and art being Leon Yeshua was one of two vibe-lifters, dancers flanking Harvey during his porn-movie soundtrack meets real life bacchanalian sex party sounding set.
Black Coffee closed out the night with the most meditative, pastoral dance music I’ve heard. His sounds were so natural, an Afrobeat band packed in a serrato set up.
Also turns out all my friends worship him; I’m excited to dig in.
The fest was held in an interesting spot, at Row DTLA, a one block walk to Skid Row and some of the nation’s most destitute people. I couldn’t help but think of the juxtaposition between the massive light shows I was seeing and the camps I’d encounter on my way out. This is in no way an indictment of the festival, but moreso a call for LA to build housing and give resources to folks who don’t have the luxury of crying at a diplo set.
Anyway, have a good night, everyone. You should check out next year’s edition, I know I will.