HARD Summer: On track with extended Metro hours and solid bill
After HARD L.A.'s last-minute cancellation and rescheduling last year, and amid concerns over the near-riot in Hollywood at an impromptu Kaskade set outside a screening of the Electric Daisy Carnival's documentary, the city government's reception for Saturday's Hard Summer electronic music festival could have been a little frosty. But this year's installment of the dance, dubstep and hip-hop event got a hard-won Christmas-in-August gift from Metro this year -- extended hours on the Gold and Red lines to accommodate the late-night dance crowd.
The two train lines, which connect at downtown's Union Station near the festival's footprint at Chinatown, will run until 2 a.m. the night of the festival, a welcome reprieve from auto travel for hard-partying or eco-minded dance fans.
But it's just one reason why this year's festival is worth a look in the aftermath of the recent difficulties of L.A.'s electronic music scene. Here are a few highlights to plan your (possibly very long) night around.
Skrillex brings bro-step to the masses: The recovering emo screamer Sonny Moore ably reinvented himself as Skrillex at the forefront of a very aggressive strain of beat music that pulls from the harsh, Ritalin-addled sounds and structures of noise music and the palms-up anthems of classic rave. Its appeal to a creatined frat crowd spawned a genre nickname (his collaboration with Korn, well, might not be to all tastes), but don't let that necessarily deter you -- Moore's a ninja with his sample controller and has a recent genre convert's eagerness to please his legion of insanely devoted fans.
Odd Future's L.A. festival debut: Its big-tent Coachella set met with resounding cries of "meh," but a recent House of Blues turn helped revive the avant-rap collective's reputation for stirring feral teenage rap-heads into paroxysms. Here's another chance for Tyler, Hodgy, Left Brain, Syd, et al., to play off their home turf and win back some folks who might have been let down in Indio.
James Murphy and Pat Mahoney's 'Version' of disco: Yeah, so LCD Soundsystem is kaput. Go watch the Lego version of "All My Friends" and get all nostalgic for your early 20s again. In the meantime, until Murphy reveals what his next move is, he and LCD drummer Mahoney take their deep crates of '70s NYC disco gold out for a spin. It's the best musical education you can get while double-fisting beers in a terrycloth headband. Added bonus on the bill is a live turn by Holy Ghost!, DFA-signees whose self-titled album of adoring downtown disco felt straight of of Whit Stillman and was unfairly slept on.
Duck Sauce's sweet and sour floor-fillers: Who knew that this tongue-in-cheek supergroup from A-Trak and Armand Van Helden would have risen to the top of a very busy market for breezy, anthemic dance music? "Barbra Streisand," an insanely catchy non-sequitur house jam, was inescapable for most of 2010, while "You're Nasty" and "aNYthing" went for a more orthodox warehouse-party vibe. The group is the equivalent of a popsicle on a searing summer afternoon -- pure sugar but exactly what you needed at the end of a long day.
-- August Brown
Photo: Skrillex at Coachella 2011. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times