What happens when you pin together Germany’s two biggest house and techno DJs for a B2B set in an airplane hangar? It’s a question which, thanks to the clever minds of Rhonda, Framework, Sound, and Goldenvoice, was answered last Friday night in Palm Springs.
Billed as Rhonda: Queen of the Desert, the one-off show pitted the two underground titans together for a four-hour set at the prodigious Palm Springs Air Museum. More than just a chance to watch the world-class DJs perform, the show marked a union of Germany’s two most revered house and techno imprints, Diynamic and Innervisions. As such, fans were treated to a rare showcase of some of the underground’s most cutting-edge unreleased tracks — the kind of venerated DJ ammo which likely won’t see release for many months.
Walking into the venue, one thing became immediately clear: this wasn’t any average Coachella afterparty, but a veritable underground spectacle. For one, the giant airplane hangar mirrored the kind of gargantuan warehouse structures of many of Europe’s more esteemed techno locales. With high ceilings and half the venue exposed to the open night air, it was a far-cry from LA’s typical sweat-stained warehouse experience. Secondly, the music provided was a refreshing change of pace from many of California’s recurring underground affairs. Deep, mystical, and often overtly tribal, it was the kind of set that would function just as potently in a cenote in Mexico.
As one would expect from a collision of Solomun and Dixon’s formidable talents, the set followed an engrossing arc, moving from swelling progressive cuts to heavier melodic techno (with a brief bit of breaks thrown in). Each DJ’s selections were readily identifiable for the most part, though much of the two’s respective tastes blended seamlessly together into a mélange of rarefied selections.
Ultimately, Rhonda: Queen of the Desert marked a moment of credibility for Southern California’s burgeoning underground scene. The fact that Solomun and Dixon sold out a multi-thousand-person airplane hangar in Palm Springs speaks volumes as to not only the changing tastes of dance fans, but the overall vitality of house and techno in the US.
Photo Credit: RPB STUDIO / FUN Mag.