New Years Eve is both a blessing and a curse for anyone looking for a good time in the city: most people opt for overpriced cover charges to enter the same shitty bars they frequent every other night of the year while a significant group of others gather for house parties and closely knit hangs. Truly special events seem to be few and far between (what person with any sense of taste would choose to attend an electro-swing dance party and why do these things happen every year?) With 100% certainty I can say 100% Electronica assembled the most wild, intense, and sincere event to close out the decade with this show at the Lodge Room and I can’t imagine spending the night any other way.
Support for the evening began with Death’s Dynamic Shroud, a duo collaging all aspects of digital culture to produce a warped take on R&B, as well as the solo act VAPERROR, whose inverted spin on trap catapulted my music tastes ahead to 2050. Perfectly fitting choices for the lineup as these are two acts who’ve proven time and time again to be holding it down and setting new standards for the vaporwave a e s t h e t i c.
Negative Gemini swapped things up quite a bit with a live band approach that ditched the projected visuals of the previous acts. Fusing indie/pop sensibilities with shoegaze and an amalgam of a million other descriptors to make something genre-defying and uber contemporary is no small feat – Lindsey French seems to conquer it with ease. Seeing her perform in an intimate venue like this almost feels wrong considering her recent performance at Adult Swim Fest most likely gave her music the amplification and breathing room it deserves (and that’s no knock against the perfectly capable Lodge Room.)
As soon as George Clanton took the stage I had a solid reaction in my mind: this shit rules. The level of emotion and sincerity packed into every note and vocalization being pumped through the PA is virtually unmatched by any of his contemporaries and a brief exposure to the quality of the live show is enough to convince anyone he’s earned the cult following blogs are so quick to note. Every song in the set feels like a modern day classic; effortless yet refined and entirely pure of heart.
With an event like NYE you’ll already encounter crowds willing to say “fuck it” and go all in, but the love these fans in attendance have for the music amplified that devotion far beyond what I expected. By the time midnight actually rolled around the majority of the crowd was so into the performance that when Clanton took a moment to mention the champagne toast coming up people seemed surprised – as if they’d all forgotten why the event was happening (something George seemed to lose track of as well.) With under two minutes to grab a free drink, the bar at the back of the room was stampeded and the bartenders quickly stopped giving a fuck about the size of the pour (which I’m honestly not quite sure they cared about to begin with.) Champagne flowed freely but a countdown was never really given as something far more important happened – George took a knee on stage to propose to Lindsey French, aka Negative Gemini and the other founding half of the 100% Electronica imprint. (Reporting back to my editor Rob about the engagement the next morning prompted the mutual response “that kid is the shit.”) The music commenced once again – washing everyone back into the dreamy soundscapes with a a memorable performance of “Make it Forever” hyper charged by champagne and our freshly warmed hearts.
Often shows I really enjoy feel exhausting in the moment but occasionally one comes along that I feel pained to see end. This gig was an exception to the norm and a fine example of why top shows should never be ranked before the year is officially over. Thankfully Clanton and Co. have been on a streak of frequent performances around LA and I can only assume/hope it’ll continue into the new decade.
Words and Photos by: Dillon Vaughn