SNBRN & Mija At Havoc Thursdays Were A Deep House Paradise

February 24, 2015 -

Nick Monge

It’s starting to feel more and more like home at Havoc Thursdays by White Rabbit Group. We’ve been covering this weekly event for months now and every show has provided a unique experience while maintaining the WRG brand. The combination of a prime location surrounded by party-hungry young people, a decent venue with a good sound system, and carefully selected headliners has turned this into a breeding ground for EDM culture. Tonight was no different as it had a markedly different vibe than the Lil Jon show last week, but preserved a fun and energy-filled environment. I was curious to see how deep house sounds would be received in the Santa Ana area and I wasn’t too surprised to find that, just like in the rest of the country, there’s definitely a market for it.


The rise of deep house has played out almost exactly like the big room boom: one or two songs that have trademark characteristics of the genre blew up and got played in every famous DJ’s set at the big festivals, then social media carried these new sounds into every regular EDM consumer’s iTunes libraries until finally, bedroom producers across the globe regurgitated their own copy-cat songs with reckless abandon. For big room, it was Sandro Silva and Quintino’sEpic” that paved the way for guys like Martin Garrix to flourish. Some newbies in the scene would credit Knife Party’sLRAD” with the innovation, but veterans knew that the duo were simply making parody of the current trends. Likewise, songs like “Gecko” by Oliver Heldens and “Latch” by Disclosure grabbed the attention of mainstream listeners like a bright light does with moths, and steered them in a new direction. This was a full year ago, and now the deep house classification has become just as ambiguous and prevalent as big room was in 2013. Knife Party, in true character, even responded by releasing their song “EDM Trend Machine” on Abandon Ship as a response to the culture shift, just as they did with “LRAD.” To bring the tangent back home, this particular night was full of honest, genuine, and high-caliber music – not the aforementioned generic stuff that has surfaced because of fads.


The opening DJ was playing some interesting stuff and dutifully whetted the appetites of the crowd for the night to come. He is apparently a part of Pinnacle Group – another Orange County based promoter – and he caught my attention when he played a deep house remix of the "Song of Storms" from The Legend of Zelda. After proceeding into some trance for the second half of his set, I saw a petite girl with blue hair pass by me with a crowd of people wearing OWSLA shirts. At about 11:00pm, the decks were handed over to Mija as her posse swarmed the riser and turned the stage into an all-out dance party. A DJ’s entrance is one of the most important parts of their set because it grabs the attention of people who have strayed away from the stage and signals that a new performer has just begun. The showmanship of having a bunch of people rush the stage with her really got the crowd amped, setting her off on the right foot to kill her set. She gracefully transitioned between some deep, melodic records to stuff that sounded straight out of Night Bass. Ghastly also made a fitting appearance and hung out on the riser for a lot of Mija’s set. When their track “Crank It” dropped it was clear why these artists are making a lot of noise in the scene. Everyone that I spoke to approved of her set, and I think she could have headlined by herself and done just fine. The fact that she wasn’t alone was that much more of a treat for us all.


With yellow lights shining down to create pillars on the stage, SNBRN took over the decks around 12:30am with a healthy amount of bravado and kept the energy alive with ease. His style is a perfect fit for Southern California crowds. He tastefully blends smooth deep house with old school hip hop acapellas and, in a land where 90’s rap reigned supreme, there’s a huge element of nostalgia that comes when listening to him. Being that SNBRN is a graduate of Icon Collective – an LA based production school that has cultivated guys like MAKJ, Jauz, and Slander - a few other people from the school were there to show support. While Mija’s set was very dynamic and had contrasting moods, SNBRN kept it all relatively consistent in the realm of deep house. This disappointed nobody though, and as he dropped a cover of 2Pac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love” sang by Kaleena Zanders people sang along loudly. A highlight for me came when he dropped the Oliver Twizt remix of “Polkadots,” which was a huge throwback to 2010 when I first got into dance music. It served as evidence for why he has a big following and likely, a very bright future.


Overall, this installment of Havoc Thursdays felt a lot more well rounded than the Lil Jon show. On that night, it felt like the headliner was one of the only noteworthy performances whereas this night was jam-packed with talent from start to finish. This isn’t the first time Mija has been booked by White Rabbit, and it’s clear why they chose to book her again. Coupled with the classic throwbacks of SNBRN’s set, they performed like a match made in heaven. If you still haven’t attended this epic Thursday night event, you need to head over to this link and buy your tickets to this week’s show. On February 26th you can catch the Canadian trio Black Tiger Sex Machine, who are self-described as “an intense barrage of sounds” with masks. If that doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, check out the Yost’s calendar for a list of upcoming performances. Stay close for more first-hand coverage of Havoc Thursdays right here on Daily Beat.

Photos by Ryan Hadji.


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