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Spinning in the House of Logic

World-renowned deejays kick it until predawn on a school night.

May 29, 1997|D. JAMES ROMERO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

There exists a global deejay circuit that has top jocks racking up frequent-flier miles like media moguls in order to spin their records at top-tier mega-clubs--1,000-plus capacity dance venues like New York's Twilo and London's Ministry of Sound. Los Angeles has nary a place in that league. But LAX, nonetheless, has become a point of arrival, thanks in large part to one 300-person sweatbox in a placid Santa Monica neighborhood.

Enter Logic, Greater L.A.'s premier house music club, housed at the West End every Sunday night until 3 a.m. It is a tight spot on an off night--but that can make encounters with the world's best spinmeisters even more enthralling and intimate.

The club, which celebrates its third anniversary next month, is the brainchild of Munich-born Matt Streitel and local deejay Mark Lewis. Streitel, 28, wanted to bring the ecstatic, hands-in-the-air vibe of European clubbing to Los Angeles by inviting the world's best turntable tricksters to this intimate, underground-ish affair.

He has been largely successful. Each weekend, internationally known guest deejays such as Carl Cox, Tony Humphries, Little Louis Vega, CJ Mackintosh and David Morales fill the room with the kick-drum stomp and rolling piano bridges of house music. The names might not mean much to pop fans, but to dance music maniacs, these are luminaries who can make waves on the dance floor with divine force.

Regular "resident" deejays include Lewis, Doc Martin and Steve Loria--globe-trotters in their own right.

Lewis, who seems to have the best attendance record here, spins mesmerizing mixes of uplifting house--matching beats on different records with perfect synchronization and timing. Crescendos seem to come rolling out of his ocean of sound only to sweep up the dance floor and set it down like exhausted beached seals.

He matches gospel-esque "garage" house with deeper, darker, techno-influenced sounds, as does Martin. Loria lets fly with the long, progressive songs on the club's three-turntable setup.

The sound system at the West End, which was upgraded especially for Sunday nights, is tight and omnipresent.

Considering that this is a Sunday night spot that goes into the ungodly hours, the crowd is dedicated and dance-music savvy. When a house classic (such as Lil' Louis' "French Kiss") joins the mix, dancers roll their hands in recognition. There's a lot of clapping, hooting and hollering here--affirmations aimed at the deejay's pulpit. And people don't seem to pair off as much as dive into the crowded dance floor: Bumping into strangers is part of the fun. These are not, however, rave kids, but rather slightly older--and definitely sexy--people.

Logic features female go-go dancers, who get just as swept up and sweaty (one recently went topless to Carl Cox's set) and so must be relieved every half-hour or so. There are also film loops of mob club scenes like those at Berlin's annual outdoor mega-rave, "Love Parade."

The only thing wrong with this club is that it falls on a Sunday night. It leaves the music to be appreciated by hard-core aficionados while the rest of the city sleeps (though you can now tune your nightstand radio in to Groove Radio, 103.1 FM, and hear Logic live from 2 to 3 a.m. Sundays). Streitel and Lewis have bigger plans, however. They hope to start a Friday or Saturday nightclub, possibly in the soon-to-open West End Redondo Beach. A logical move.

BE THERE

Logic Sundays at West End, 1301 5th St., Santa Monica. (213) 882-4181. 21 and over. Cover $10; more for special events.

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