The German producer was in LA to perform an intimate debut set as ELAX
I had no idea what to expect walking into Sound Nightclub in Hollywood for Alex Ridha’s (Boys Noize) first show as ELAX. Having just moved to LA from DC, I am brand-new to not only the club scene but to understanding how people in LA vibe to house music. I’d heard it was truly on another level and seeing ELAX perform in an intimate club with a capacity of just around 500 couldn’t have been more fitting for a first experience.
While certainly not an up-and-comer, I couldn’t imagine Ridha in any other US city drawing the kind of multi-demographic, age-spanning crowd that poured into Sound earlier this month — some bearded guys in Vans and oversized Tommy Bahama shirts, hip kids in Nikes and years-old Boys Noize t-shirts, and women in thigh-high boots stashing their coats in the back for as free of a dancing experience as possible. All of them came expecting a good time, and ELAX delivered it.
After releasing “Reaktor” on the 12th edition of Diynamic Music’s Four To The Floor EP in August, Alex Ridha wasted no time before giving us another taste of the ELAX project, with the release of his two-track Sueño EP. Each song is its own fresh interpretation of what house music can be: delicately balancing the levity of the perfect soundtrack for a night of dancing with the soul-clearing rush of bass that pulls you right back in. Each drop is so purposely and artfully placed that, even with the strong buildup so clearly leading the listener directly to that point, the tension release is so powerful that it almost feels like a refreshing surprise.
Alex Ridha/Boys Noize/and now ELAX is a master of transitions. House DJs are by and large expected to be able to seamlessly lead a crowd through their melodic story with little to no break in the beat, rhythm, or jamming (unless through the aforementioned artfully placed drop) but rarely have I seen a DJ with such a strong connection to the crowd, in such an up close and personal environment like Sound, where the crowd was held breathless in anticipation of whether a song would continue or change-up, or whether ELAX would reinvent the track right in front of their eyes and ears.
Everyone also flowed throughout the two-hour-plus set from the front to the back and to the front again – an almost egalitarian distribution of conscientious show-goers intent on all experiencing just what it was like to be within close enough distance to feel the energy ELAX was giving off. It was remarkable.
Rare is there an opportunity to see a talent like ELAX, after performing for decades as well-known Boys Noize, to showcase his new venture in such an intimate space full of people ready to embrace him. But the symbiotic environment created at Sound, and LA’s supportive environment for house/trance was the absolute ideal spot for ELAX to launch into what will certainly be a fruitful project for him. We can’t wait to hear, and see, and feel, what’s next. Boys Noize only has a few dates currently confirmed in January, but we hope more are on the way. Keep your eyes on dates here.
Thr 1.10 – Austin TX – The Parish
Sat 1.12 – Chicago, IL – Sound-Bar
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