A great evening was had by all who attended Launch 2011 at the Greens Hotel. Dozens of artists, vendors, musicians, architects, designers, photographers and fashionistas contributed to this grand event.
Launch 2011 began at 5 o’clock on Saturday, July 23 and continued well into the early morning.
As guests entered the hotel, the pool area was used as the main entrance. DJs Mike Diamond, My Cousin Vinny and Jon Droll provided some great sounds for pool party guests.
Architectural and furniture designers showcased their products and many of the hotel rooms exhibited their work. Other rooms were occupied by fashion, photography, art, music and Launch guests.
Other DJs played on stage in between acts, with Sam I Jam, Adam J and Taylor Cho taking turns.
The first live act of the evening was Evrika. I had not heard them play before, but audio and visual images quickly made people take notice. Evrika is made up of Carlos Ramirez and Ariana Vanderburg. The duo played a set, featuring songs such as, “Wake the Nurse.”
I was intrigued by the band and went to ask them a couple of questions after their set. They have been together for about a year.
“We’ve known each other for a very long time and we decided a few years ago to start producing her music and about a year ago we began collaborating together,” said Ramirez. Both he and Vanderburg are from the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles.
I asked if they had been touring and they indicated Launch was their first show.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Vandenburg. The artist sang in high school, plays keyboard and has learned much from Ramirez when it comes to mixing and engineering music.
Ramirez called their music, “Electronic Funk.”
“We’re very influenced by bands like Radiohead and people tell us we sound like Massive Attack,” said Ramirez, “We’re hoping this opportunity kind of opens up other windows of opportunity.”
When asked how they became involved in Launch, Ramirez explained the connection.
“I’ve been friends with Michael Hargis for a long time and he’s one of the people I’ve been sharing our music with for the past year or so. He liked what we had and invited us to be part of the line-up.”
Ramirez mentioned they would be going back on stage to play a song for Reject Clothing later in the evening.
The Dreaded Diamond, another two member band, took the stage as Evrika ended. Siblings Juli and Tyler Lydell formed Dreaded Diamond in early 2008. Their music is a mixture of jazz, experimental, soul, rock and folk elements. They started their set with, “High Horse.”
Acts from the Main Stage could be heard throughout the hotel and as such, you could enjoy both the musical acts and view what artists and vendors had to offer. The collective artists showcased some of the best talent in Sacramento all under one roof.
I took turns going from one room to the next while I listened to Dreaded Diamond and came back to watch them play. The Sacramento based band played for about half an hour. The Lydells performed in full sun yet kept an upbeat tempo throughout.
I caught up to Kamtin Mohager from The Chain Gang of 1974 and asked him a couple of questions.
“The band has been going on for a little over four years now,” said Mohager when asked how long they’ve been together.
I also asked him how he came up with the band name.
“It came up from a mix of two ideas. There’s a musician named Ryan Adams that I’m a big fan of and his birth year is 1974. He did a song named ‘1974.’ Then there’s a band called The Raveonettes and they had a record called ‘Chain Gang of Love.’ I just put them together and came up with The Chain Gang of 1974.”
Mohager moved to Los Angeles about eight months ago when he moved out of Denver. When asked what brought him to L.A. he quickly replied, “The weather,” and smiled as he said it.
“We’ve been touring a lot. My official debut record just came out exactly a month ago. We’ve been basically on the road supporting that. We have a lot of touring coming up – we have Lollapalooza in Chicago and then we’ll tour with Big Audio Dynamite.”
It seems like The Chain Gang of 1974 will be busy for most of the year. Mohager was quite enthusiastic about upcoming events and performing at Launch.
The Chain Gang of 1974 also played at Harlow’s about a month ago. August will take the group touring in and around California. Listen to some samples and learn more about upcoming tours on their website.
Favors, whom I had recently watched at the Concerts in the Park series on July 1, also took the stage. As soon as one band ended a set, the next band quickly set up their equipment. Favors began their set with, “Animals,” a crowd favorite with whimsical lyrics.
Their performances are enjoyable and their electronica/dance rhythms are very catchy. You really can’t stand still when you hear them play. The same could be said of the Ganglians, ReSA and Exquisite Corps, who followed. Their raw energy carried each set and more people inched closer and closer to the stage.
At around 9:30 p.m., the first fashion exhibit featured Miss Chief of California showcasing their newest trends. The models moved down the runway a little too fast, but by this time, live entertainment had fallen behind on the schedule.
Sister Crayon gathered more steam and fans began to increase in number around the stage and runway. Sister Crayon, as always, delighted the audience and dancers moved to their beats.
Reject Clothing by Adrienne Cheng followed and by this time, the acts on the Main Stage moved faster. As one band moved their equipment away from the stage, the next band continued to set up.
Little Foxes played as many songs as time allowed and the Van der Neer fashion collection followed with their spectacular outfits. As it got closer to midnight, the Chain Gang of 1974 came on stage and dancers began to take over the runway.
The whole evening was quite a spectacular event and those that were lucky enough to attend and participate appeared to have a great time.
An After Party continued with Free the Robots, DJ Whores, Shaun Slaughter and Super Human Youth.
Kudos to Michael Hargis and his amazing group of volunteers, artists and performers for a full night of fun. Launch 2011 was a wonderful multidisciplinary cultural experience. Next year, a bigger show is expected and fans of art, music and design are sure to enjoy the sights and sounds of this historic Launch movement.