This past Saturday one of the many events taking place around Los Angeles was a special 3-hour set by one of the worlds finest DJs, Carl Cox. A man who needs no introduction, Cox made Exchange LA one of his select few stops in North America before his hosting of the Carl Cox and Friends Arena at Ultra Music Festival. You can listen to a Carl Cox set online or watch a YouTube video of him in Ibiza, but there is nothing in this world comparable to watching him live and I learned that firsthand.
After a quick wait in line, I made my way inside and up the grand staircase which leads to the main dancefloor and situated myself towards the middle after grabbing some drinks. Julien Nolan was in the mix and loosening everyone up with a pert selection of tech and deep house records, setting the stage for Cox to come and work his touch.
Cox came on sometime around 12:30 and kept things going until late in the morning. It almost seemed like a blur as he melted tracks together using multiple CDJ’s and a Pioneer RMX-1000 to create an experience like none other. He moved between dark, sinister techno to funky tech house and back again. If you were in the room you were dancing, whether your liked it or not. The crowd may have ranged in age, appearance, and gender, but we were all under the master puppeteer’s spell, answering his every whim and call. If he told us to clap, we obliged; if he jumped we followed suit, and of course we cheered when he took the mic and exclaimed “Oh yes oh yes!” He was feeding off of everyone’s energy – from those pressed right up against the stage, to the shufflers at the back, to the bartenders dancing as they poured out shots, Cox was in command and loving every minute of it. The beats kept coming through Exchange’s top of the line Funktion One sound system and they did not stop to give the crowd a break even for a minute. I left thoroughly exhausted and in amazement of the dance zone I had just left. As I recollected the night over my standard post-clubbing burrito I determined his set captured the essence of what blew me away when I saw my first DJ set live years ago. I didn’t know what he was playing or what direction he would go next but all of that was an afterthought. The only thing I was concerned with at the time was dancing, and that’s how I think a DJ set should make you feel.