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The inaugural Low End Theory Festival announces lineup, location

March 07, 2014|By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
  • Turntable crew Invisibl Skratch Piklz will co-headline the first Low End Theory Festival, to occur June 14-15 in Echo Park.
Turntable crew Invisibl Skratch Piklz will co-headline the first Low End… (Low End Theory )

These days it gets so crowded at the Low End Theory in Lincoln Heights that by 11 p.m. the door guys stop letting people in. The long-running weekly beat music club, which helped propel the careers of Flying Lotus, DJ Nobody, Nosaj Thing, Tokimonsta, Gaslamp Killer and others, draws fans from around the world who line up each Wednesday. The goal: to gain entry to the second-floor room with a capacity of a few hundred, featuring gut-vibrating bass cabinets, sweat on the walls and nonstop rhythms.

It's gotten to the point, says club founder Kevin "Daddy Kev" Moo, that some weeks it's in their best interest not to provide too many details. 

"The fact that we can't announce half the acts that perform at our weekly has forced the issue," says Moo. "We need to have a larger forum for this -- the demand clearly illustrates this." 

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Such volume is why Moo and his compadres in L.A.'s beat scene have launched the Low End Theory Festival, with the first one to occur June 14-15 at the Echo and Echoplex clubs in Echo Park. 

The lineup for the event has just been announced, and offers further proof of the depth of talent buzzing in the city -- as well as the Low End Theory's ability to surprise. 

Among others, the 26-act festival will feature the miraculous fingers and hands of turntable crew Invisbl Skratch Piklz, who have recently reformed to showcase their acrobatic scratching skills. Also: Odd Future affiliates the Internet (Syd the Kid, Matt Martians); L.A. abstract beat producer Nosaj Thing; the masterful performer Daedelus and his Monome; Dntel (a.k.a. Jimmy Tamborello of the Postal Service); bedroom electronica singer/producer Baths; instrumental hip hop producer/visual artist Teebs; and the utterly beguiling futuristic dub of Ras G. 

Moo says that for a city that's producing so much innovative electronic music, it's woefully underrepresented on the festival front.

"There does not currently exist a serious electronic music festival that happens in the city of Los Angeles on an annual basis," he says. "The most notable electronic music festival in Los Angeles is Hard. Not to take anything away from what they're doing, but that's definitely more of a mainstream approach to electronic music. We are trying to showcase the underground side of all of this, and really present the sound of Los Angeles, to a large degree, and the sound of the West Coast." 

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The goal, he added, is to make the Low End Theory Festival a destination for fans, many of whom have only experienced the club's sets via its Internet podcasts. "We have a lot of fans that we've made outside of Los Angeles -- people who have really discovered us through word of mouth, dug in deep on the Internet -- and their entire experience and understanding of what Low End Theory is has been purely an online experience. Part of what we're trying to create here also is a destination festival." 

To further distinguish the Low End Theory Festival, the two days will feature beatmaking seminars by notable producers, who will guide would-be hitmakers through the creation of beats from scratch. 

Combined, says Moo, the festival is the next logical step for a thriving weekly club night that can't last forever. Though he and the other residents -- Nobody, Gaslamp Killer, D-Styles and MC Nocando, all of whom will perform over that weekend, too -- have no plans to quit anytime soon, he says that his hope is that the Low End Theory Festival will come to define the club in the years, and decades, to come.  

Below is the entire lineup. The specific times have yet to be announced. 

Invisbl Skratch Piklz
The Internet
Nosaj Thing
Ras G
House Shoes
Cypress Junkies
Thavius Beck
Great Dane
Taurus Scott
Anderson Paak
Kamasi Washington
The Breathing Effect

Check back for more details as the Low End Theory Festival approaches. 


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