HEAV3N’s June Party Was Heaven Sent REVIEW+PHOTOS: HEAV3N at 1720 6/24/22 [Better Late Than Never!]
LOS ANGELES, CA- As a brief disclaimer… We just want to apologize to Lulo and HEAV3N for getting this post up so late. Covid got the best of me during the month of July, and it’s taken a lot of work to get all caught up on life and Blurred Culture coverage since getting my mind and body right after falling ill. Well… Better late than never, right?
At the end of Pride Month, on June 24th, we had the privilege of attending another one of HEAV3N’s killer parties in downtown Los Angeles at 1720. While HEAV3N parties a monthly, now bi-coastal (in New York), spectacle, I was a particularly keen on attending June 24th extravaganza because topping the line-up were none other than The Veronicas.
The last time I was able to catch a performance by the Origliasso twins was in 2019 when they performed on the main stage at L.A. Pride in West Hollywood. This year proved to be a pretty significant year for them as they left their record label, Sony Music, after a shake-up at the company’s Australian offices resulted in a significant exodus of reliable hitmakers from the label. Needless to say, getting the chance to see them back in action was enough to get me to strap up and photo-document what I could.
Like the last time I was able to attend a HEAV3N event, the artists’s on display not only included recording artists, but a slew of dancers, performers and DJs. Manning the decks for the evening were Vampy (who also seems to be the HEAV3N multi-tasker, seen running around all through the evening helping switch overs between sets and also handling social media duties) Shane Thomas, internetgirl, and blvckjesus. Some familiar faces were also in attendance like Tech Grl who DJ’d Tomasa del Real’s performance.
The line-up of dancers was amazing a featured a classy burlesque by the voluptuous Toby Taylor, representation from the House of Balenciaga with the fierce ballroom of Taryn Balenciaga and a wild performance from Jessica Messica.
But of all of the DJs and dancers who performed, the one performance that really knocked my socks off was the performance by Abhora. The self-dubbed “King of the Fifth most fun circle of Hell” took the stage in an elaborate costume on at least 6 foot tall stilts, I was rendered pretty much speechless as Abhora loomed over the crowd as he leered at the audience. Then, grabbing onto the exposed piping of the venue, hung in the air swinging his elongated appendages over the heads of the unsuspecting patrons. Beautifully creepy and fascinatingly glorious all at the same time.
The first recording artist to take the stage was MEATY. Their hard beats and ominous tone was only accentuated with Ms. Catalina Isabella and Indiana arming themselves with a baseball at and machete respectively.
Other than their Instagram posts and Soundcloud page, there wasn’t too much I could find on this group other than they released, as of August 7th, 2022, an EP about 3 years ago and most recently a singled titled “DRIPPIN” about 9 months ago, but what I got from their performance was that they are sonically very dark, filled with tons of distortion and glitches that got me feeling some Death Grips vibes. A little harder than I expected from a HEAV3N event, but I guess I should just always subvert any expectations in the future.
I was hoping to catch them backstage after their performance to learn a little more about them, but they seemed to have vanished into the ether… either that or I couldn’t tell who they were without their ski-masks on. An intriguing act indeed.
Gia Woods has been on our radar since we caught her main stage performance at L.A. Pride back in 2016. Since then, she has been steadily dropping infectious pop music while strengthening her fanbase beyond the LGBTQ+ scene that has embraced her.
Last year, Gia released a 4-song EP titled Heartbreak County, Vol. 1, which she say was intended to reflect the lonelier side of Los Angeles. Recently, she announced that she would follow that EP up with Heartbreak County, Vol. 2 later this year, dropping the collection’s first single “Lesbionic”, a track that’s guaranteed to get you shaking your tush.
With the wind machine blowing into her hair, Gia gave the crowd a tight set that included some of her most recent releases, including her 2022 single “Hello” which closed her set. I only wish that artists got a bit more time to perform on stage at HEAV3N. I definitely wouldn’t have minded a few more Gia songs.
Tomasa deal Real is regarded as a pioneer of the Neoperreo music genre. In fact, she’s been called “La Reina del Neoperreo” (translated from Spanish as “the queen of Neoperreo”). What is Neoperreo you ask? Glad you asked. I had the same questions myself.
Per Wikipedia, “Neoperreo is a subgenre of reggaeton with some degree of popularity in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Chile […] Within the United States, neoperreo is more popular in Los Angeles than in Miami, where traditional reggaeton prevails.” Based on the reaction of the crowd, I may have been the only person who didn’t know this.
I absolutely dug the way her music bounced. Danceable for sure, but there was plenty of attitude in the production that evoked a few stank faces from me. Clearly, there was a significant contingent of Spanish speaking fans in attendance as I could hear pockets of them rap/sing along with Tomasa. This was another instance where my regret of learning French instead of Spanish in high school and college arose. Notwithstanding whether I understood what the lyrics meant or not, Tomasa’s performance elicited some of the loudest crowd cheers of the evening, clearly demonstrating that she’s got L.A. under wraps.
Cowgirl Clue has been on my radar for a minute. I don’t know how I caught wind of it, but somehow her album Limelite found a way into my world. I remember when I first listened to it, I had to google the album cover to make sure it wasn’t some experimental hyper-pop from Japan. When I found out it was self-produced by teenager from Texas, I was duly impressed.
Some years later, at a warehouse party hosted by Kitten, I learned that Cowgirl Clue was the DJ for the evening, and that eventually led me to her 2019 full length album Icebreaker… another impressive collection tracks that proved to me that this young lade was no flash in the pan. The really solid production notwithstanding, but Cowgirl Clue really has a knack for writing infectious pop hooks that are organically immersed in pretty adventurous musical choices.
Performing to backing tracks, Cowgirl Clue went at it on the HEAV3N stage, letting her music guide body all across the stage. Like her music, her performance was uninhibited, and I loved seeing how her performance matched the feels of the music. Not bad for my first time catching her live.
Another artist that was unfamiliar to me before this evening was That Kid. Apparently, That Kid, self-proclaimed America’s Favorite Twink, has collaborated with rising pop-star Slayyyter, and racked up millions of streams on various DSPs.
With a new project set for release later this year, That Kid used his time on the HEAV3N stage to get the room familiar with his hyper-pop jams. His set was a little shorter than other artists who performed this evening, but he still got them going crazy with his frenetic beats and super hyped energy. He got room going sooooper crazy when he invited the next performer, Chase Icon, on stage to perform what I understand was a previously unreleased collaboration between the two. I’m going to have to dig a little deeper into That Kid’s repertoire, but if the performance was any indication, I’m sure it’ll be tons of fun.
After Chase Icon joined That Kid on stage for his set, she stayed on to perform her solo set. Since the pandemic, Chase Icon has been in the lab creating and dropping a steady stream of hyper-pop bangers, and with Spotify acknowledging her over 90K monthly listeners, it seems clear that Chase has been able to parlay her pre-music social media popularity to her current endeavors.
Though I didn’t follow Chase Icon prior to this performance, I understood that it was her humor and personality that really resonated with her social media followers. Some of that humor revealed itself on stage when she smiled and acknowledged her boob popping out of her top during the performance.
There was a Twitter post I noticed last month following the drop of her single “Nancy” that I saved because I found it interesting. Her fan Tweeted: “she was so unexpected for this. Like she rlly said: PIVOT. I feel like the only thing chase will never pivot away from… is pivoting. always evolving always going to switch it UP. Thats why she’s the ONE TO WATCH !!” I found this interesting, because I think it’s really a reflection of a rooted “give no f*cks” attitude. Do your own research, but Chase’s personal history is one really gives her the freedom to say whatever she wants, however she wants. I for one am interested to see how she pivots going forward.
Next to take the stage was the America-French recording artist Uffie. It took me a minute to recall why the name sounded familiar to me, but there was a time when I was deep into electronic music, ordering vinyl record on a virtually religious basis from Ed Banger Records (I’m still a big fan of Breakbot). As it turns out, Uffie was on the Ed Banger Records record for a spell, releasing an album her album Sex Dreams and Denim Jean which actually charted to #16 on the US Dance Charts.
She has appeared as a featured on various recording over the years, also self-releasing her Tokyo Love Hotel EP in 2019, which earned critical acclaim, particularly her single “Papercuts” which was included in Paper Magazine’s best songs of 2018. Earlier this year, she released her long awaited sophomore album Sunshine Factory.
With Gia Woods and friends manning the decks for her, she catered to her fans performing some of her most popular songs including the her breakout track “Pop The Glock”. That tracks lot of folks rapping along with her. With U.S. tour dates lined up with Alice Glass starting in September (through October), I’m sure she used this performance to get back into the swing of things.
When it comes to “OGs” in the drag queen space, I think you’d be hard pressed not to include Tammie Brown on that list. One of the original cast members of RuPaul’s Drag Race, although her appearance was short lived (she was the second contestant eliminated from the first season of the show), she made a lasting impression.
Tammie Brown’s time on stage was shorter than the other recording artists for the evening, but like her time on Drag Race, she made the most of it and had the crowd hooting and hollering for her as she performed some of her more recent material, including her 2020 single “Gingerbread House”.
Of all of the performances (besides The Veronicas) from this evening, La Goony Chonga’s was the one that really got me hyped. Another “neoperreo” artist, La Goony Chonga’s music is a meld of latin trap, hip hop and reggaeton. Not only did her music slap, but her having two dancers hitting choreographed moves really gave the performance that extra energy that really got the room buzzing with excitement.
La Goony Chonga also hit marks in the choreography with her dancers. This alone gave the performance a real sense of professionalism that I fully appreciated. While it was a relatively short performance (each performance, whether from dancers or singers, performances averaged between 5-15 minutes), you could tell that her act was a well-oiled machine, and that she didn’t just phone it in. Perhaps this performance had been choreographed from a prior show, but that doesn’t take away from the fact each song was thoughtfully planned out for the evening.
And the energy that the dancers and La Goony Chonga poured out on stage really flowed into the audience. You could feel the temperature of the room rising as body heat from the crowds movement escalated. A terrific performance.
Pop music today owes a lot to The Veronicas. The electronic-pop/punk that catapulted them into the mainstream is being emulated today by a new wave of pop artists. The funny thing is… a lot of today’s new music can’t really hold a candle to the music that was released over 15 years ago. There’s a reason why songs by The Veronicas like “4ever” (2004), “Untouched” (2007) and “Take Me On The Floor” (2008) are still bangers in clubs and have people singing along to them, word for word, whenever they are performed live. Though their time on stage was only 15-20 minutes, they gave the packed room all the hits, including the ones I just listed.
Dressed in the shiny vinyl outfits that is basically their trademark stage couture, the duo ripped through their set with all of the fire, angst and playfulness that you’d expect from savvy stage performers. They fed off the crowd’s energy, even spending a good portion of their set at the crowd railing, reaching out to hands longing for their touch.
When the music resonates, and the performance is that good, those 15-20 minutes alone was worth the price of admission.