Recap: Panda Funk Takeover at Havoc Thursdays

December 24, 2014 -

Nick Monge

White Rabbit Group is a promising Southern California event company that runs Havoc Thursdays at the Yost Theatre in Santa Ana, and you’re probably going to hear more about them soon. They’ve been throwing weekly parties at this esteemed venue for quite some time, but had the pleasure of hosting the Panda Funk Takeover this past week. The label's pride was in full effect, especially with a surprise appearance by Deorro himself, and there's a lot to be said about the strength of their fans the way they came out to party on this particular night.


The Yost is a cool venue, and has an actual pit area that is lower than the bar deck on the first floor. This makes for a great view from most anywhere in the room. The balcony upstairs was open to general admission as well, and is where I found my personal favorite viewing spots. White Rabbit had a small side-stage setup for some local talent by the second bar, and I got to hear some killer tunes being dropped every time that I waited for my drinks. Throughout the night, giant white balloons bounced around from hand to hand, slicing through the bright laser rays and giving the balcony's rail-hangers something to reach for. As I stood on the balcony, I ended up next to the guy in charge of the video screens, who was controlling everything right from his iPhone.


The crowd on this night was predominantly young, as evident by a large amount of black "X" marks on the tops of peoples' hands. This really threw me back to old hardcore shows, where people would display an "X" on their hands to signify their devotion to the Straight Edge lifestyle. I felt strange going from a place where people wore this symbol with pride to a place where people tried to hide it from security. The Panda Fam was also loving their fair share of Big Room. At one point, I even saw a group of bros doing that push-and-shove thing that some would call moshing. There was no doubt in my mind that the audience was leaning largely in favor of big, heavy sounds, and it made me consider for a moment that the people who are saying the genre is dying are the people trying to kill it in the headlines; it's definitely not dead in the clubs.


The official lineup for the night was Reece Low, Zoofunktion, and Whyel, but we had a strong hunch that label-head Deorro might make a stop by the show to support his colleagues. Our suspicions were validated where we were outside and I saw him walk up to the entrance with one other person. I saw him walk in through the back of the building and, before I could even make my way back into the theatre, I heard Zoofunktion get on the microphone and shout out that he was in the building. When I finally did get inside, Deorro was on the decks alongside him, and he played his track "Flashlight" to a roaring crowd. Later on in the night, even Deorro took some time to walk up to the fans, and grabbed a girl's phone to take a selfie with her. MAKJ's edit of "CoCo" by O.T. Genasis made it onto Zoofunktion's playlist and it became clear that this song is quickly becoming one of this phase's biggest cultural references. Just like people scream the lyrics to "Show Me Love," the crowd filled in the gaps as Zoofunktion would cut the audio at the distinctive hook. The change in scene has never been more apparent to me than at the end of the night when I could hear ATB's "Ecstasy" on the balcony stage (a song that used to be a staple in any prime-time DJ set) at the same exact time that Whyel played E-40's "Yay Area" on the main room stage. Despite my "I'm getting old" realization, we were all treated to some other gems such as Tchami's remix of "Take U There," and the night finished on a high note.


Overall, Havoc Thursdays is a great event to catch if you're in the Orange County area, with A-list DJs coming through on a regular basis. The Yost is a fun little theatre that provides great viewing spots, an intimate environment, and plenty of opportunity to rub elbows with someone you've only seen in pictures. White Rabbit is doing a great job filling the room with enthusiastic and fresh new faces, and we expect that they have some big plans in store for the new year.

Gent & Jawns w/ Kicks N' Licks - January 8th

Antiserum - January 15th

Branchez - January 22nd

Photography by El Jeff B checkout the rest of the gallery here.

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