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CSS, Bonde do Role, and Diplo ~ Downtown LA

12:02 PM PDT on August 14, 2006

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CSS + Bonde do Role + Diplo = OMG!

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Earlier this week I struggled to get some scratch to buy tickets for this gig. Magically the funds appeared, and I headed straight to Turntable Lab to buy them sans service charge.

Fast forward to last night...

John Jr. rolled by in his convertible, and we proceeded to get lost in Vernon somehow. Anyway, it was easy to spot the venue because of the stream of kids lining up to buy tickets outside the building. The show was held at the Cooper Design Building, 860 S. Los Angeles St. Originally this show was scheduled to be at the Echo.

John and I bypassed the growing line outside and headed to the lobby and then entered more lines inside. First we were in the will call line, then we were in the ticket holders line, then we were in the line for the elevator! It was as if we were at Magic Mountain - all that was missing was missing was the log ride.

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The elevator took us to the top floor (the 11th) and opened to a massive space that only had a few tables set up for merch and booze in addition to a minimal stage set-up. As folks made their way upstairs, old school videos by Newcleus, Roxanne Shante, and Whistle were projected on a huge overhead screen. I'd never seen them before, and they were amazingly low budget and super awesome.

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Surprisingly enough Bonde do Role played first (they were second billed). I wasn't expecting much because I didn't like the record they put out on Mad Decent. On record the music is a flat, collage of samples backed by Miami bass beats (the baile funk formula) with each song sounding like the previous one melding into one continuous song. Seeing them live was a different experience altogether. Their music was made to be heard LOUD AND IN A CLUB. The set was high energy and very shouty. The crowd wasn't too moved though. Few danced while most kinda nodded their heads along to the music. The lead singer, Marina (in arm cast and sling from an injury sustained on the New York leg of this tour) tried hard to motivate a crowd that wasn't quite ready to dance yet. She also pulled a somewhat reluctant cat on stage to dirty dance with her. The highlight of the set was "Melo do Tobaco" which made heavy use of Alice in Chains in the chorus.

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CSS kickstarted LA's own version of Dance Party USA. The crowd was EXCITED to see them. Their new record is so much fun and they are even better live. They opened their set with "CSS Suxxx" which flipped the switch and set lots of happy people pushing and shoving and jumping up and down throughout the set. It seemed like everyone sang along to each tune. CSS played most of the songs on their new Sub Pop release. The crowd was rowdy enough that security turned the house lights on for a second and lead singer Lovefoxxx had to tell the kids to cool it a little bit. Also at various points in the evening, Lovefoxxx sported foam antlers and the helmet of one of the folks who rode to their motorcycle to the show. It's hard to pick out highlights in a set that seemed like it was only highlights, but "Alala" and their final song "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above" certainly stood out for me. The show ended with some crowd surfing, crazy applause, and handshakes.

Diplo came on immediately and played his usual awesome set and the dance party continued on and on. (Sorry, I didn't get a picture of him and his perv-style moustache. My camera went dead.)

Today I am sore, hung over, and happy. Many thanks to everyone involved with the show.

ps. Yes, the sound was shit. But everything else made me forget about that till now.

pps. If you get a chance to see a show or dj in the Cooper Design Building, do it. It's surreal.

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