Some of us can’t afford a tumultuous trip to Miami for the week dedicated to EDM club parties, or it’s massive Ultra Music Festival. Luckily, we Angelenos have our awesome clubs to suffice.
While almost every established Electronic artist stayed in Miami this past week, Italian DJ and legend in the making Crookers came back to Los Angeles venue Exchange this past Friday (3/27) from playing the bottom of the pan handle the day before to grace us with one of his goofy DJ sets.
The night began with a throbbing Deep House from La Muerte, his mix was a hermetic collection of tunes perfectly mixed without flaw, including concise tempo cuts and just the right amount of buildup before each song’s kick drum resumes.
This guy is a dance machine for playing a non-stop set for two hour, I would be drained after an hour, but that’s why I’m not a DJ.
Throughout his set the dance-floor slowly filled with ravers, debutantes and all the party lovers in between, some were texting their besties to come meet them on the floor or some just started raging the night away immediately in an inebriated trance.
When 12:30 came it was time for the Electronic champion to take stage.
I’ve seen Crookers as their original duo and as remaining member Francesco Barbaglia, otherwise known as “Phra”, carrying on the name since they split in 2012.
Both times were incredible but it’s Phra who is keeping the funky Fidget house sound alive since it first came to prominence in 2008, which is a long time in the scope of Electronic Music, a genre that evolves almost daily with new sounds and tempos hitting speakers.
The Crookers brand started to garner a lot of attention stateside with their house rework of “Day N’ Nite” by then burgeoning Hip Hop star Kid Cudi in 2009, and have been a staple in the EDM canon since.
With an exciting new album “SixteenChapel” and a slew of fun singles leading up to it’s release, Phra has absorbed all the contemporary sub-genres in vogue and gave it a Crookers spin, which has proven to be an excellent move on his part.
His DJ set reflects his time in the EDM scene, it was an amalgam of Deep House, Trap and the hits of his catalog, including his “wow”-inspiring remix of the Chemical Brothers’ “The Salmon Dance” and an ephemeral drop of my personal favorite “Knobbers”.
The mix started with a hilariously soulful rework of “CoCo” and descended into an action packed mix that was part nostalgia, part forward thinking fare.
Hearing Major Lazer’s “Jump Up” thrown into the set was a real treat amongst all of the bangers of yesteryear. The dancefloor was a sweaty morass of pumped party people who screamed anytime a snippet of an old Crookers tune popped in, Phra smiled at the sound and gave the crowd just what they wanted, fun bangers new and old regardless of genre, all mixed with second nature ease.
A funny move was his mostly female crowd behind him, like a president’s retinue, throwing out cut-out masks of his notorious “Phra Photobomb” likeness into the crowd for people to wear, I took one for myself but ended up giving it to a very altered crowd member who wanted it more than world peace.
The set ended with a giant sing along to Outkast’s “Hey Ya” as Phra jumped over the booth to greet his dedicated front row fans, signing the aforementioned masks and partaking in a hodgepodge of selfies, which went on for a solid ten minutes before he left the stage.
The night ended with a fun set from Mr. Blaqk, but it was Crookers who proved that we don’t need Miami for an excellent night of Dance music, anytime Phra comes to town he tears down the roof with his exciting mix and remarkable ability to hype a crowd. You can catch him on his North American tour now and be sure to grab his awesome new album here.
Kieran J. MacIntyre is a voracious music nerd of all genres, bass player and managing editor of M&C Music. You can find him on Twitter