Photos by Tom Wallace and Kathleen Gasperini

Afternoons, Silverlake local favorites, go off mid-afternoon at Detour Festival

In the 3rd annual LA Weekly Detour Music Festival presented by Goldenvoice, masterminds behind the legendary Coachella Music Arts Festival, thousands of West Coasters took over the streets surrounding City Hall on Saturday, October 4th turning the area in a powerful music and dance scene. Similar to Coachella, Detour tends to attract an indie, alternative, dance crowd who are attracted not only to the line-up of course, but also the installations, booths, and atmosphere that make a festival like this unique.

In its 3rd year, headliners such as Gogol Bordello, The Mars Volta, Hercules & Love Affair, Cut Copy, and DataRock transformed the 4 corners of an increasingly less gritty downtown LA into a massive dance party. What’s unique is that the city actually shuts down for this event, bringing in people who may never venture into the heart of the City of Angeles for a celebration of what’s turning out to be a very cool new scene. As part of the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles, more events, art galleries, and fashion events (such as the BoxEight LA Fashion Week) are being hosted in downtown LA, and like the DUMBO area of Brooklyn, it’s attracting a seriously hipster crowd.

Headliners Gogol Bordello put on an incredible show at Detour

Detour Festival this time had an interesting line-up that leaned towards a music set you’d see at the Sahara dance tent at Coachella. Even the silent disco in the Civic Center proper was pretty unusual as it was virtually lit up in purple (and it’s the City Hall we’re talking about here) full of people wearing Koss headsets gyrating to a score of hot new DJs such as Surkin, Adam Freelance, DJ Kid Lightning, Para One, and The Bloody Beetroots.

Even though it was one of the few, cold and drizzly days LA has experienced this year, people came out to check out the plethora of talent ranging from early shows such as Mugison from Reykjavik, electro dance-punk from Montreal’s We Are Wolves, and the highly exciting (think Arcade Fire) Afternoons -a local Spaceland/Silver Lake favorite.

For those who had never heard or seen Grand Ole Party -another 3-piece band–people were in for a surprise with lead singer Kristen Gundred playing drums front and center and sounding like a new-school version of Janis Joplin.

DataRock from Norway had it going on by 4 p.m. with beatbox, synths, funky guitars, and their now classic “Fa-Fa-Fa” song which has been copped by several commercials and video games this year. A favorite among this crowd for their decadent, camp, glitter-ball, vogue-esque disco was Hercules & Love Affair which I heard was excellent, but I missed them at the Hall of Justice stage for some reason and was at a different stage during their set. Therein laid the problem with Detour: loads of good bands had me taking detours from one corner of the block to the next and around again to make sure I hit up everyone properly. And obviously I didn’t.

Cut Copy, the Aussie trio, gave off an electro radiance and smart, future-love ballads

Cut Copy was a favorite later in the evening, attracting a larger audience than many other bands as people wanted to see what the hype was all about. This trio has an amazing live performance and had most of the crowd dancing to their indie-dance crossover music. It was a hard pull to go from here and head over to the Triforum stage for the Ukrainian, Russian, Israeli, Ethiopian, Thai-American multi-member band of Gogol Bordello. Even though I’ve probably caught their show about 12 times, they remain a must-see band because they put on such an incredibly performance -including two striking gals playing symbols and a bass drum. Leader singer and guitarist Eugene Hutz (who starred in Madonna’s directorial debut), and violinist Sergey Ryabtsev keep them exciting to watch, and over time, I’ve noticed, the performances have moved way beyond their original Gypsy Punk roots to a well-rounded Bohemian, musical orgy.

Having an outdoor music festival in the middle of a city is always a cool experience, but in the case of Los Angeles, with music and light shows bouncing off of the white walls of City Hall in an area mixed with the modernity of the Walt Disney Concert Hall and old buildings like the LA Times, the twinkling lights of the Hollywood Hills in the background, and of course police helicopters circling above, it was even more unique. Because for one day, downtown Los Angeles had forgotten about the recession and its plethora of other problems and had turned into a giant ultraloaded bloc party.

Here are some more band shots:

Afternoons%uFFFD whole band. They get compared with The Arcade Fire a lot (and The Polyphonic Spree) but they%uFFFDre a Spaceland/Silver Lake favorite for good reason (other than 2 great drummers). Shepard Fairey created a poster campaign around their “Say Yes” single earlier this year.

Blurry shot of Gogol Bordello lead singer Eugene Hurtz but you have to understand how much this guy moves around when he performs.

Sergey Ryabtsev, the violinist from Gogol Bordello. These gypsy punks are on SideOneDummy Records

The Civic Center where the Silent Disco took place with people wearing Koss headphones.

Mugison from Reykjavik, Iceland, performed with his brother and attracted a whole new audience. Likened to Beck, he has a deeper voice, and is a musician on the rise, similar to most of the acts at Detour. The Queens of the Stone Age love him and he%uFFFDs toured with them as well.

We Are Wolves had this cool, synth electro, dance punk aesthetic (and a standing drummer). These two guys traded instruments often. The other singer in this trio is missing in this shot. They’re another excellent band from Montreal (along with The Aracde Fire, Wolf Parade, The Dears, Stars).

The Mae Shi would probably do well on the Warped Tour. Energetic punk power.

I swear that Kristen Gundred from Grand Ole Party out of San Diego sounds like a younger Janis Joplin. This trio was quite a surprise to Detour attendees with their sexy blues-pop, girl front drummer and lead singer.

Downtown LA on a cold and rainy day.