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Dancers Get Real at Synthetic

September 12, 2002|HEIDI SIEGMUND CUDA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

They're calling it "electroclash," "techno-punk," "nu wave" and "synth-core," a fresh blend of electronic musical mash-up that gives everyone at Club Synthetic dance fever. Synthetic's promoter/DJ Jason Lavitt is like the Wizard of Oz, the guy behind the curtain instigating this boogie-down production.

Ever since the new music hit L.A., propelled by dance club hits out of London and New York, it's sparked a frenetic frenzy that clubs such as Cherry, Echo and the Parlour have quickly added it to their aural menus. Lavitt, one of the musical gurus behind such hot clubs as Tiger Heat, Bang!, Make-Up and Beat It!, has adopted the electronic old-meets-new sound with a vengeance at Synthetic. The month-old Friday-night dance club takes place at the newly reopened 7969 club on Santa Monica Boulevard.

In part, Club Synthetic jumps off because teenage energy helps fuel the floor. Synthetic is an 18-and-older club and it's all about easy access--just like the first spot that became your own when you started clubbing. Pay the $7 cover charge and kick it in the spacious old burlesque club, formerly known as Peanuts. The first thing to grab your attention is a big-screen video montage of eye-popping European newspaper clippings, then you'll notice how friendly the people are. From the mod set to the nerd-core kids, everyone's drawn together to check out this new nu wave.

The youthful crowd may also take you back to your younger days, when the music that's laying the foundation for the new art form was all the rage. Much of electroclash borrows from the early '80s archives of bands such as Soft Cell, the Cure and New Order. You can almost hear the ghost of Human League--or wait, that's a remix! Sho' nuf, it's Human League's "All I Ever Wanted's" alter-ego remix. The club's weekly DJs are really the stars, as they bring the music to the masses. The DJs include Lavitt, his partner, DJ Liz, and such guest stars as Dragstrip 66's Paul V.

"Electroclash is exciting because it's the new 'punk' on a lot of levels," says Paul V, who spins at Dragstrip 66 and Spit. "And it's an awesome antidote to waaaay too much faux rage-rap-rock and the banal pop shtick out there."

And it doesn't stop there. Many of the songs played at Synthetic also have a hard industrial edge, making it also feel very contemporary--like they're turning it out for the "Y2-AK47" generation.

All we know is they can call it whatever they want, but ultimately it's a fresh new sound reminiscent of the first bloom of rap. And regardless of where your musical roots lie, Club Synthetic offers an interesting trip back in time with a cool postmodern whip. It might just be the dance-floor "Wham"-my you've been waiting for.

*

Club Synthetic, 7969 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 654-0280; www.clubsynthetic.net. Fridays, 18 and older, $7 cover.

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