San Diego was home to the celebration of LED Anniversary for the fourth year of LED Presents. Without any doubt, this year's LED Presents set the bar for future LED events to come. The San Diego Sports Arena and Valley View Casino Center provided the atmosphere and stomping grounds yet again for the non-stop party till 4am on February 15th. After a successful LED Anniversary in Los Angeles the night before, LED Anniversary in San Diego was the perfect way to shake off that Valentine's Day love fest hangover and make the most out of a holiday weekend. Not only was LED celebrating a birthday, but as was Valentino Khan and myself so this truly was a special evening.
This being my first time to an LED event I could only speculate about how it would be and I must say I was more than impressed. The Sports Arena is a perfect venue for this type of event and I strongly suggest checking it out if you haven't done so already for an LED event. With seating and ample room on the floor, ravers have plenty of room to do whatever their hearts tell them and with a top notch sound system and visual production with state of the art lasers, this a ravers paradise. Props were used in mass, from inflatable whales to light up sticks to black and white balloons as party favors.
Brazzabelle was up first and although I wasn't able to catch her set, from outside the venue I could hear the bass and tempo of her set and I knew that this was going to a very loud and exciting evening. I have seen her before however and I can attest that she puts on quite a show after seeing her at ExchangeLA last year. The energy outside the venue was exhilarating as well, with the hordes of ravers lining up outside and about to take over the Sports Arena. Once inside, heavenly bliss awaited.
As I mentioned earlier, Valentino Khan was also celebrating his birthday this night and his set translated into a solid performance. Having never seen Valentino as well as a majority of this lineup, I instantly became a fan. My favorite moment of his set when was he dropped his remix of Dillon Francis' "Drunk All the Time" and his set was absolutely flawless. He kept the energy solid for an earlier set and I almost wish he had played a little later in the evening keeping in mind the flow of the night. I would keep my eye on Valentino as I am sure he will provide plenty to talk about this year. And speaking of providing plenty to talk about, the next DJ showed why he's one of EDM's rising stars and who's future looks especially bright.
JAUZ, or Sam Vogel, is one of EDM's fastest rising producers and best kept secrets at the moment. Recognizing this, LED made sure to book the Buygore talent and boy did he take us deeper. He proved why he deserves to be on the big stage and took advantage of the opportunity to show us what he can do. After steadily rising in 2014, I believe 2015 will be his big coming out and EDM's next big thing. With releases already on Mad Decent, Buygore and Red Bull Records, the past year has been quite a ride for JAUZ. His unique take on future house music with treatment of his signature bass wobbles gives something any electronic music fan can appreciate and the masses are showing up to support. The Los Angeles local came, saw and devoured. By far one of favorite sets of the night, I can't wait to see more of JAUZ this year and see where he ends up by the years end.
The M Machine took the stage next. With the heady, bass-heavy throb of their tracks to the heart-on-sleeve dream-pop of “Over/Love” to the sunny, spaced-out synth of “Don’t Speak", The M Machine played new material off their recently released EP, "Just Like". The UCSB graduates mellowed things down a bit after a very impressive JAUZ set and although I thoroughly enjoyed their set, I felt as though it needed to be earlier in the evening. They were good to vibe out to for a bit and in fact proved to be a critical set as for what was to come up next, myself and those in attendance would need the mellow down time for Milo & Otis would come and destroy the Sports Arena.
Hands down my favorite set of the night, Milo & Otis set the standard for what a LED Anniversary set should be. Track after track got the entire arena jumpin', twerkin' and just getttin' downright dirty. Having solidified themselves in the EDM world, I finally got to witness what they were all about and they did not disappoint. The clearly showed why they are crowd favorites at shows and after witnessing the 45 minutes of pure raw energy and sweat inducing rhythms I cannot wait to see these two dance music masterminds at work again. This set definitely got put into my top favorite sets that I've seen to date and you could feel everyone connected through this monster of a set and it was beautiful.
For ETC! ETC!'s set I found myself doing a bit of exploring of the arena and caught about half of the set. After being blown away by Milo & Otis, I needed to recoup and meet back up with my lady friend who accompanied me that evening. We roamed around for a bit, hit the bathroom, grabbed some water and beers, managed to get backstage for a bit and then proceeded to be the recipients of a couple light shows. After making some new friends in the seats, we decided it was time to get ready for Jack Beats, where we would be going deep into the morning hours.
Jack Beats have been a favorite of mine for some time now. I managed to miss them on a few separate occasions but now finally had the chance to witness the legends Niall Dailly & Ben Geffin do what they were born to do. Taking over from 1:30am to 2:15am, they provided the epitome of a perfect set. Thumping bass, solid bass lines and a non stop urge to move your body all night long took over your mind and you had no choice. The masses were together as one in the sea of bass and there seemed no possible way that life could be any better. Jack Beats has been in the game for a while now and exemplified the meaning of a being an outstanding and other worldly duo of producers. This tied with M & O's set earlier in the night and I wish that their set was after Jack Beats set cause that would have set up Zeds Dead perfectly. Much love and mad respect to Jack Beats and you can also catch them on February 26th at Sound Nightclub for Night Bass with AC Slater.
DJ Mustard hit the decks next from 2:15-3:00am. I strongly disagreed with the set time of his set and thought it kind of altered the flow of the evening a bit but it was still a solid set for DJ Mustard fans. He played virtually all his hits for those 45 minutes and I took this time to take a seat and get ready for Zeds Dead.
Saving the arguably the best for last, Zeds Dead provided a perfect ending to a perfect evening. Starting their set in epic fashion, for the next hour all hell was let lose and I could feel the ground shake with the stomping, jumping and the nastiest bass. I have had the pleasure of seeing Zeds Dead multiple times over the years at HARD events; most recently at Day of the Dead back in November but this was by far my favorite and most memorable set. It's hard to believe their Somewhere Else EP came out seven months ago due to the fact that the Canadian duo have released so much music since then. They also have solidified themselves over recent years while playing numerous festivals around the world and constant touring. They have a knack for not shying away from any "genre" of electronic music and their set proved just that. From trap to dubstep to drum and bass, they have something for everyone. The entire sea of fellow music lovers and ravers stomped and raged to our hearts content till 4am and by the end I had nothing left to give.
Well done LED. The night could not have gone any better and indeed it was quite a way to celebrate a birthday. Until next year! - Bradley Callison Photos: Gilbert Sanchez, https://www.fixationphotography.com/