Paul Oakenfold - Avalon - 10/22/11
Better than: Living a 1983 episode of Solid Gold.
It was almost 10:00 p.m. and the Hollywood hills were alive with the sound of cop sirens. Drunk-ass boulevard buskers fell over their own amps and glum blondes in glowing pink leg-warmers stalked Vine street, cellphones in hand and faces on fire with peeve. Along the boulevard, the crowds were thinner than in years past, but every bit as loud and booze-addled as back when the Avalon started throwing its epic Avaland club event in 2005.
A giddy debauch roaring into the very small hours inside an elegant old venue, Avaland specializes in top-flight designer detonations and every kind of nose-to-nose friendliness. Their seventh anniversary party was a hugely enjoyable marathon starring superstar DJ Paul Oakenfold and a packed house of serious party people.
Inside, a variegated crowd of muscle dudes, ladies in ultra-tight skirts, and girls in electric pink bunny ears staggered up and down the main staircase, while others lit up by el wire and Red Bull were lured to the main dancefloor by KiD DJ's ecstatic performance at the turntable. An eighth-grader with lank brown hair and long, spidery arms waving in smooth frenzies, he galvanized this random haul into a single throwdown mass, as "We're gonna save the world tonight!" came booming celestially from the giant speakers, and glowsticks filled the laser-sliced air. The place bulged wall-to-wall with frantic, sweaty people getting tribally closer and friendlier. The party was still building momentum when the opening act stepped off, one tall-walking youngster.
The headliner faded into the DJ stand Cheshire Cat-like, grinning hugely. Oakenfold is a house music legend and remix king who became one of the first superstar DJs on the international party circuit back in the '90s, so all the rockists you hear out there bitching about DJ culture have him to blame even if they can't tell him apart from Giorgio Moroder. He was very much at his element here, commanding the room like a benign dignitary as waves of shimmering, sexy, emotive sound washed over the room, which was packed to the rafters and all swaying at once.
A lot of fans didn't notice when Paul's Perfecto labelmate Zen Freeman took over at the turntable, but all dug on the white clad dancers and the fiercely glowing Chinese dragon that took several turns across the main floor.
By then, the general amorousness was reaching pleasantly alarming levels, with hundreds of new friends exploring the mysteries of each other's ears and necks. By 3:00 a.m., I was fending off fresh companions with truthless stories of a killer girlfriend with titanium teeth and by 3:30 I was in the upper lounge smoking my one bootlegged cigarette of the week and fairly awash in good vibes. The trickle of people leaving swelled a little and Vine Street began to swarm with the heedless and the hopeful by four in the morning.
Overheard: Bald guy in punk tee: "See any crazy stuff yet?" Me: "No." Bald guy: "It's still early."
Random notebook dump: "By three-thirty, "Sweet Dreams (are Made of This)" by The Eurythmics was going on seeming endless auto loop. Patrons began to take the hint and leave."