Feed Me and Bromance shine at San Diego’s LED USA Day 1
Over the past three years, My Life Every Day, or LED Presents, has grown into San Diego’s leading dance music purveyor. While their New Years’ Eve show is renowned on its own, LED took the opportunity to capitalize on Memorial Day Weekend, throwing an all-out two day festival featuring A-Trak, Feed Me, Brodinski, Gesaffelstein, Axwell, Diplo, Martin Solveig and more. Dancing Astronaut was there to capture all the action of Day 1, from Digitalism, to Baauer, to A-Trak, to special guest Feed Me and French standouts Brodinski and Gesaffelstein. Click past the break for a full Day 1 review.
I arrived at the San Diego Sports Arena just in time to catch Congorock serving up some sputtering house offerings. With a set pervaded by pounding, distorted kick drum tracks such as “Boy Oh Boy,” “Wakanda,” and his own “Bless Di Nation,” Congorock’s set was like an anachronistic tribal dance.
Digitalism followed next, constructing a steady and absorbing progressive house set. Aside from dropping their own originals such as “Zdarlight,” “Blitz,” and collaboration with Tommy Trash “Falling,” the German duo showcased their respect for Eric Prydz, opening with his remix to “Circles” and later playing his remix to “Midnight City.”
Next came one of the best sets of the night, as LED’s special guest Feed Me took the stage for what may have been one of his last sets on the West Coast for a while. With an embellished, yet appropriate extended piano intro, Feed Me introduced himself to the San Diego Sports Arena with a jolting, minimally-layered house drop. Feed Me’s Matilda Remix of “Love Is All I Got” came next, complimenting catchy lyricism with a crunching electro drop. A few tracks later, Feed Me captivated the entire venue with both his progressive house masterpiece “Relocation” and revered dubstep track “Blood Red.” It was this careful balance of elegant interludes with crushing releases of energy that easily won the crowd over.
Feed Me’s ability to mix between genres was keenly displayed, as he brought “Blood Red” down from 140bpm to 110 to segue into a midtempo torrent with “One Click Headshot,” “Pink Lady” and more. “Rat Trap,” Feed Me’s colossal unreleased trap production, got an overwhelming response from the crowd, but his forthcoming Tasha Baxter dubstep collaboration “Ebb & Flow” was easily my favorite.
Baauer came next, opening with his highly acclaimed Just Blaze collaboration “Higher” as well as a bit of dubstep with Flux and Major Lazer’s “Jah No Partial.” Early in the set, the trap phenom showcased his adoration for RL Grime, mixing into Grime’s remix of “Satisfaction,” only to drop it into the RL Grime and Salva remix of “What a Shame.” Later came RL Grime’s new remix of “Love Sosa,” also a highlight of the set. Throughout the hour, Baauer merged through tracks at a breakneck pace, furiously bobbing his head all the while and keeping the audience entertained with his own trap originals and diverse selections from UZ, Dismantle, and Flume.
Turntablist virtuoso and Fool’s Gold czar A-Trak followed, dishing up the most technical set of the night. Starting off early with some Mord Fustang, A-Trak dropped a four bar sample of Daft Punk’s “Aerodynamic,” receiving an immediate reaction from the crowd. “Tuna Melt” led into a double build up with Tommy Trash’s “Truffle Pig,” while Gent and Jawns’ “Turnup” inspired some serious shoulder dipping. Clinical sampling and emboldened scratching pervaded A-Trak’s entire set, as he finished off with an improvised scratching outro to “Heads Will Roll.”
As A-Trak dazzled the crowd with tweaks, chirps, and scribbles, Gesaffelstein could be seen sitting cross-legged below the decks, coolly watching A-Trak wrap up his performance. Though the set times listed Brodinski and Gesaffelstein spinning separate sets, the two Frenchman made the conscious decision to perform back-to-back for an hour and a half.
I’d heard first hand accounts of their supremacy behind the decks, yet had never had the pleasure of succumbing to their deviant ways myself. It was 2:30am when Brodinski and Gesaffelstein plugged in for their set, and something told me the timing couldn’t have been better.
The Bromance duo began their set with nearly two minutes straight of monotonous, marching-band percussion. The anxiety was palpable, and I was admittedly worried. Finally the break came, and with it, the beat. And the beat was dark, and it was mean. It was minimal, yet dense and feisty. It was everything I needed in the lethargic, musty-rave after hours. As the beat chugged along, two orange circles sporadically blinked in the darkness of the shrouded stage. This illuminated inhalation of their cigarrettes had a calming effect, as if they had everything under perfect control.
Their figures dimmed in the 3:00am light, the Bromance potentates continued to breeze through plump techno offerings like “Control Movement,” “Viol” and “Let the Beat Control Your Body.” The quiet spaces preceding some of the drops would stretch on indefinitely. The two would stand motionless, waiting for the crowd to absolutely beg for it. Suddenly, three quick taps on the cue button from Brodinski and a snaking techno beat would descend upon the crowd.
With the introduction of each new layer, Brodinski would swiftly lift both arms, throwing the beat upon us as he thrusted the volume fader forward. With a clocklike swing of the hips, Brodinski subtly grooved along while his partner in crime, Gesaffelstein, maintained his cool demeanor, sampling and scratching with a masterful ease. Every now and then, a powerful kick-snare broken beat would signal the dawning of a polished hip-hop track, providing a break from the steady industrial punch of the French techno. It was 4:00am when the duo brought the beat to a halt, but in the groggy late night dusk of the arena, I could have swung to their music for at least another hour.
LED’s USA was not your typical lineup. From deeper sets by Digitalism and Feed Me, to raucous selections by Congorock and Baauer, to the sheer technical prowess of A-Trak, Brodinski, and Gesaffelstein, it was night of compelling musical variety. Hats off to LED for another fantastic event. We’ll be back soon, San Diego.