A patron dances to the music at Friday's Departure grand opening at… (Wendy Le )
It could have been a recipe for clubland disaster. Last week, DJ Adam Auburn (Balance, Afternoon Delight) and promoter Sam Gaglani (Wet Pool Parties, Roosevelt NYE and Halloween) launched their new Vanguard club night, Departure, and everything was stacked against them. They needed to fill one of L.A.'s biggest club venues on a Friday night — without a flashy superstar DJ — on a weekend when many of the city's electronic music aficionados were either recovering from Miami's Winter Music Conference or headed there for the Ultra Music Festival.
But they shouldn't have worried; Departure's maiden voyage brought in more than 1,000 people to the 20,000-square-foot club to wallow in a main room of deep house by DJs Chuck Love, Mr. V and Fred Everything, plus side areas of tech house and dubstep.
The reason? Interest in house music has surged again, and Departure is riding the wave.
"House music has just exploded," says Auburn, "and from what I can tell, Los Angeles is really leading the scene." This latest dance music renaissance is keeping Auburn, a 10-year veteran of the DJ biz, on his feet. The night after Departure's successful debut, things were just as lively at another of his house events, the twice-monthly Saturday-night series Balance at King King.
"That's why people come to Adam's parties: He really knows good music, not just what's commercially popular," said Amanda Joy, 31, from Westwood, who had just returned from the Winter Music Conference but also made it out to Balance. "For house heads, it's a big difference. You can't fool us."
The King King dance floor raged until 4 a.m. The next day, Auburn was up and on the road to Anaheim, where he's been spinning for the Mouse at Disney California Adventure's wildly popular ElecTRONica dance club. All indications are that Angelenos are hungry right now for house music's thick base lines, sensual drum beats and lush melodies.
"You see these bags under my eyes?" Auburn says with a laugh, "Yeah, I've earned 'em."
Here's hoping he rested up for the second night of Departure on Friday. Another widely respected name in the house scene, Oscar G., will be manning the decks, along with DJ Reza, Paul Ahi and DMS12.
Other upcoming Departure nights include house legend Miguel Migs and Ian Carey, the man behind the current club hit "Last Night" featuring Snoop Dogg. Although the club's mainstay is house music and its many variants (deep house, progressive house, tech house), the weekly will explore other terrain, bringing in super-producer and remixer Diplo, who has championed world genres such as Brazilian baile funk and Jamaica dancehall. Friday nights just got more interesting.
Where: Vanguard, 6021 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.
When: Fridays, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Price: See website
Info: (323) 463-3331; auburneventsla.com