Stones Throw Records Documentary Premiere Party - Exchange LA - 6/20/13
Max Bell J. Rocc, Peanut Butter Wolf, Gaslamp Killer
Stones Throw Records Documentary Premiere Party
Better than: the NBA finals.
Founded in 1996 by DJ/producer Peanut Butter Wolf (Chris Manak) three years after the death of his best friend Charizma, Stones Throw Records has become one of the most successful and respected independent record labels in L.A. and around the world. Last night was the much-deserved celebration of everything they've accomplished.
Held at downtown's Exchange LA, the sold out show was billed as the prelude to the premiere of the Jeff Broadway directed documentary Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton (This Is Stones Throw Records). The documentary chronicles the label's history using rare archival performance footage and interviews with current/former Stones Throw artists. It will be playing tonight and Saturday afternoon at L.A. Live as part of the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival.
The main room on the bottom floor of the opulent and dimly lit venue housed both Stones Throw acts as well as some from other L.A. labels/collectives. There were a lot of good performances, especially those from Leaving Records heavyweights Matthewdavid and Ras G. The latter delivered what amounted to an interstellar audio assault, the heavy spaced out bass of his set near face melting.
Walking upstairs, attendees were greeted by a projected Stones Throw logo spinning like a record on the wall. At the merch table next to the bar (where drinks were expensive), and just outside the main concert area, you got a sense how true to its roots Stones Throw remains seventeen years after its inception. Sure, there were CDs and limited edition skate decks for sale. But there were also stacks of vinyl and piles of cassettes. Single and even some double). It was refreshing.
Max Bell Exchange LA
All Stones Throw acts happened upstairs in a huge (and thankfully air-conditioned) performance area. Lights and smoke machines were abundant, and when things got especially funky the Disco ball was turned on.
Until you experience what essentially amounts to a small portion of Stones Throw's roster all at once, it's difficult to truly appreciate the sheer scope of the label's output. There was everything from Soul/R&B (Myron & E) to Reggae/Dub (The Lions), and Hip-Hop (Jonwayne, Egyptian Lover) to DJ sets using only 45s (7-inch records played at 45 rpm).
Max Bell Stones Throw
Today, when countless DJs lean on computers to do the work, the skill displayed during the back and forth 45 sets was moving in every sense of the word. These sets, however, did less to display the history of the label's music as much they did the history of some of the music that led to the label's creation.
While he's not on Stones Throw, Low End Theory resident DJ Gaslamp Killer might've had the best 45 set. "Some of this shit is not going to make sense, but I'm going to do it anyway," he said before moving from records like The Charmels' "As Long as I've Got You"-- sampled on Wu-Tang Clan's "Cream"--to something absolutely infectious from Istanbul, Turkey that used instruments we couldn't begin to identify.
Max Bell Jonwayne
Myron & E and The Lions both sounded fantastic and displayed great stage presence, but it was rapper/producer Jonwayne that really got the crowd going. Looking like Jesus, Buddha, and The Dude rolled into one, and wearing a pair of basketball shorts and Teva sandals, the "Wayniac" boomed bar after bar as if prophesizing the second coming. He rapped a capella while setting up his equipment, DJed for himself, and at one point walked the entire floor, leaving awe-struck concert goers in his wake and never missing a word. If you don't know about Jonwayne yet, his live sets will make you a devotee.