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NIGHT LIFE

French house DJ David Guetta likely to feel at home in the U.S.

November 15, 2007|Charlie Amter

Casual clubbers are forgiven in advance if they think they have been magically transported to Paris' Bastille district this weekend. EU passport holders will be out en masse Saturday as Hollywood's two largest nightclubs host French DJs -- Laurent Garnier headlines the Avalon while just a few blocks away, David Guetta holds forth at Vanguard.

It's not just this weekend that French DJs are descending upon Los Angeles, either. In the second half of this year, more than a dozen DJs from Paris have played dates in town, including Justice, DJ Falcon, Bob Sinclar, Dimitri From Paris, Ivan Smagghe, Loo & Placido and the crew from Ed Banger Records -- Kavinsky, DJ Mehdi, Busy P, Mr. Oizo, So Me and Headbangirl. And that's not to mention the 14,000-plus who checked out the iconic duo Daft Punk at the Sports Arena in July.

How to explain L.A.'s growing case of Francophilia? According to French megastar Guetta (voted the top house DJ in the world recently by readers of DJ magazine), it has a lot to do with Southland audiences being open to a semi-unified sound now emerging out of Paris.

"Labels like Kitsune and Ed Banger are constantly pushing new styles," he says via e-mail from a tour stop in Stuttgart, Germany. "There is some great music being born from Paris right now."

Guetta himself looms larger on an international stage than any of the emerging DJs on the Parisian indie label Ed Banger. The 40-year-old, who has been DJing since he was 16, stands apart from the underground scene in Paris that gave birth to artists like Justice, the duo who are all the rage in L.A. (where they have sold nearly 6,000 records).

A bona fide pop star at home, Guetta measures records sold in the hundreds of thousands, not thousands. With songs such as his hit "Love Don't Let Me Go" and albums such as "Pop Life" (released in the U.S. last week), Guetta has found gold mining the poppier side of dance music -- his best-known tracks all feature vocal hooks and infectious house grooves. In Europe, he opens for Madonna and plays the hottest clubs in places like Ibiza and Monaco. His legendary "[Love] Me I'm Famous" parties, which celebrate, mock and even embrace the shallowness associated with clubbing in places like Ibiza's Pacha, have made him a marquee name from Moscow to Tokyo.

Yet even with the Daft Punk's revival and Justice's ascension, Guetta remains largely unknown in the U.S. outside of the club circuit.

"This is just the beginning," he promises. "It's only the last year I have been really able to concentrate on America. It's exciting to come to a new country and have to prove yourself all over again."

-- Charlie.Amter@latimes.com

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DAVID GUETTA

WHERE: Giant at Vanguard

WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

PRICE: $20

INFO: (323) 463-3331; www.vanguardla.com.

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