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Wed11132019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the twice-per-summer Splash House festival for at least five years. While the venues have changed over the years, it’s almost always hot as hell—and a great time for all.

The June festivities kicked off at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Thousands attended the almost-sold-out preparty, allowing visitors to get acclimated to the heat and learn a better understanding of the necessary hydration levels. Sometimes I wonder: Does music drive the party, or is the party a reason for the music? The music was somewhat mellow on Friday night, but the audience is always entertaining. I overheard a couple of large, athletic guys trying to start a chant in the VIP section, yelling, “Twist the knob!” over and over again. Perhaps it was a cynical observation on their part regarding the the EDM genre?

The highlight of Saturday was definitely Englishman Pete Tong, one of the elder statesmen of EDM music. “Hey, Splash House. How are you doing out there?” he said in his greeting, followed up by a guy directly behind me yelling: “I love you, Pete!” Tong fans were all ears as he melded different decades of music together effortlessly—even impressing old-timers like me.

Justice was up next on Saturday, and the French duo played dance classics, starting with a “Welcome to the Jungle” sample. “Do the Hustle” blended with “YMCA,” which was perfect.

The afterhours festivities returned to the Palm Springs Air Museum. Lee Wells went into the wayback machine and plucked out “Heart of Glass” by Blondie. Wells got plenty of love from the audience members, who gobbled up every beat.

For those of you unfamiliar with Splash House: The promoter has a shuttle system with The Renaissance as the hub; attendees can pick up a shuttle from there to The Saguaro or The Riviera, and vice versa. On Sunday, a typical 105-degree June day, the driver announced as I got on that the air conditioning was out. Eek.

Five minutes and 59 seconds later, I arrived at the Saguaro, to check out the balconies and the party scene (since most of the top-tier acts were playing at the Renaissance). I have a tradition where I try to capture a dive into the pool—which is quite a challenge, since the pool is usually filled with too many people. However, I got lucky and saw a woman diving in—with a perfect 10 for effort, and quite a bit less than that for form. She introduced herself on the shuttle back to The Renaissance. The shuttle is always an interesting place to talk to fans and get tips on who to see. I was told to catch Pluko’s set at Riviera—and he really pleased the fans on Sunday. He is signed to Odesza’s label, and he played on the same stage the group did a few years ago.

Last up on Sunday at The Renaissance was DJ Armand van Helden and Canadian DJ A-Trak. They had their own sets scheduled, but attendees went crazy when they played as Duck Sauce, their collaboration, best known for the hit—which, of course, they performed—“Barbra Streisand.” This led to probably the only sing-along of the weekend.

Splash House keeps getting bigger and better. The August edition can’t come soon enough.

Published in Reviews

The first Splash House, in 2013, proved that Tyler and Kelly McLean’s theory was correct: Summer events can be quite successful in Palm Springs.

The second Splash House, held in June of this year, was also a rousing success—so much so that Splash House No. 3 is taking place just two months later, Friday through Sunday, Aug. 8-10.

The pool party/EDM festival will return to the Hard Rock Palm Springs, The Saguaro and the Hacienda Cantina and Beach Club with a lineup including A-Trak, Chromeo, Cut/Copy, Viceroy and many others.

“The first one was a lot of learning lessons,” said Tyler McLean, who dreamed up the concept with his sister, Kelly. “It was our first foray into this concept of a pool festival. The details that go into hosting an event through three different venues and transporting people to each venue—it was an interesting project, for sure. I think we learned a lot; above all, our goal going into the first one was to bring people out during the summertime to Palm Springs, and to have people leave saying that they had a good time and that they want to come back to Palm Springs.”

So what if it’s hot—very hot—’round these parts in the summer?

“Not one single person complained about the heat,” Tyler McLean said.

The first Splash House gained 1,500 attendees to The Saguaro, Caliente Tropics and The Curve Palm Springs. The reviews were generally positive and paved the way for the Hard Rock and the Hacienda, both of which have opened since the inaugural Splash House, to sign on in 2014 and accommodate larger crowds.

Splash House has been able to expand quickly for another reason: Promoters Goldenvoice and LED joined forces with the McLeans.

“Having Goldenvoice and LED come on board really gave us the opportunity to grow in a way we haven’t been able to on our own,” Tyler McLean said. “It’s a big venture to take on your own company. There’s a lot of risk and a lot invested. Having Goldenvoice on board gave us the opportunity and the tools we needed.”

Although event promoters don’t get much bigger than Goldenvoice—the AEG subsidiary puts on Coachella and Stagecoach, after all—Tyler McLean insisted that Splash House remains close to the original vision he and his sister had.

“There was definitely the thought of expanding our marketing and taking the lineup up a notch. All of those things put us into a different realm, but we still provide the same atmosphere and experience,” Tyler McLean said. “We had 2,000 people attend the event each day in June, and … people loved the experience. Even with all of those things that go into planning a big event, you still accomplish what made your event special to begin with, and I think that’s what happened. The experience itself is unique, and it is something that people enjoyed and will come back for again and again.”

LED, known for its club-based events, has also proven to be beneficial to the Splash House festival.

“For a first time promoter, some of the artists (we’ve had), like Moby and Cut/Copy, you kind of have to work your way into getting their trust,” Tyler McLean said. “Goldenvoice and LED have certainly given us the resources to go for the big fish and book the artists who are going to bring a lot of people here to Palm Springs.”

The McLeans make a point to include local artists in each Splash House lineup. Local DJs Aaron C, Colour Vision, Alf Alpha and All Night Shoes all played at the June festival.

“Having locals is a win/win. They get a chance to play in a lineup that has Moby and Cut/Copy,” Tyler McLean said. “These local DJs are the ones playing every weekend in front of the crowds and are really entrenched in what the local music scene is. For us, it gives us some trust of the locals, because we’re not just some outside promoter coming in and throwing a party for outsiders. We really wanted to be engrained and allow locals to come. That’s why we book local DJs and offer local discounts.”

Splash House has obviously moved beyond being just an annual event. Tyler McLean explained why Splash House is holding its second festival this summer.

“We can’t really grow the event into a major music event like Coachella or Lollapalooza,” McLean said. “… I think the vision for us is growing as a series versus an annual event. Every summer, there will be this party that happens once every month or every other month at these venues with a different lineup each time.”

Splash House will take place Friday, Aug. 8, through Sunday, Aug. 10. Pre-sale tickets cost $60 to $99. For tickets or more information, visit www.splashhouse.com.

Published in Previews

While most of the music world is focused on happenings in the east valley over the next two weekends, the Hard Rock Palm Springs is making sure the west valley is getting in on the action—with a series of eight pool parties featuring world renowned DJs.

On Friday, April 11, the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs, in partnership with LED Day Club, hosted A-Trak in the second of eight parties during the Coachella weekends. A-Trak is known for collaborating with Armand Van Helden (under the name Duck Sauce) on the track “Barbara Streisand,” and was once the touring DJ for Kanye West.

A-Trak—in a black T-shirt, twin shades and a backwards cap—took the elevated DJ stage in front of the pool around 11:45 a.m.. He started off with a remix of Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me,” mouthing along to the chorus of “Hey, must be the money!” In between main tracks, he would play deep house as well as nu-disco and hip hop. One transition featured a house cut with beatboxing samples from the ’80s hip-hop group the Fat Boys.

With Friday marking first day of Coachella, the pool-party crowd was not large, but attendance started to increase a bit around 1 p.m. People lounged or hung out in the pool, with the black-and-white LED-logo beach balls bouncing around here and there. Some hotel guests watched from the balconies of their hotel rooms.

One of the more interesting remixes featured Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It.” This was not the traditional ’90s version of the song; A-Trak's version featured a more modern dance sound. This track would no doubt get an entire dance club grooving.

A-Trak’s talents as a DJ really showed when he took the Temptations’ 1969 track “Cloud Nine” and turned it into a song that sounded just like a modern dance hit; you would never think the song was from 1969.

Other tracks from A-Trak’s set included Snbrn’s “I Remember,” Vanilla Ace’s “Musicology,” Luminodisco’s “Ragazzini,” Musiq Soul Child’s “Just Friends” and Detroit Swindle’s “Woman.” A-Trak invited a friend to share the mixing board with him during the later part of his set; A-Trak lit up a joint which they shared, along with a glass of champagne.

The Hard Rock’s LED Day Club parties offer a great opportunity for locals to enjoy world-renowned DJs—some of which, like Skrillex, are also playing at Coachella—in a more intimate setting. Oh, and the Hard Rock folks definitely know how to throw a pool party, too.

For tickets or more information, visit leddayclub.com.

Published in Reviews

Some of the biggest names in electronic dance music are coming to the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs during Coachella.

The hotel, in conjunction with Coachella promoter Goldenvoice, is hosting a series of pool parties during both Coachella weekends. The big names include Skrillex, Tiesto and David Guetta.

The Hard Rock Hotel recently celebrated its official grand opening, and this will be its first Coachella season. Vice president and general manager Hector Moreno said these LED Day Club parties are only the beginning of the great stuff to come.

“We have a great partnership with Goldenvoice and LED,” said Moreno via email. “I believe this will be the first of many epic events at the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs.”

Their events surrounding Coachella are already generating a lot of buzz.

“The response has been overwhelming (from) music-lovers all over the world who know our lineup. Our locals have shown amazing support to us, and we look forward to an amazing month.”

The doors open at 11 a.m. for each party.

On Thursday, April 10, Dirty South will play. The DJ from Australia is one of the world’s top DJs and should kick off this series of pool parties in style. Tickets are $40.

On Friday, April 11, A-Trak will be bringing his hip-hop style grooves. The Canadian turntablist has worked with Travis Barker, and he was the tour DJ for Kanye West in 2004. While he’s more known for his hip-hop collaborations, he has also done some nu-disco. Tickets are $40.

On Saturday, April 12, Disclosure will be returning with a DJ set after playing Coachella last year. The English duo has been on fire ever since releasing its debut album, Settle, last year. They two were also nominated for a Grammy. Tickets are $100.

On Sunday, April 13, David Guetta will be bringing his nightclub style of DJ’ing to the Hard Rock. He has turned in hit collaborations with people such as Sia, Nicki Manaj, Snoop Dogg and many others. If you have the time and/or funds to attend just one LED Day Club party, this is it, in our humble opinion. Tickets are $100.

Brace yourself on Thursday, April 17: Skrillex will be bringing his infamous hardcore dub-step sound to the Hard Rock. What will the neighbors think? Tickets are $60.

On Friday, April 18, Dutch DJ and Tiësto protégé Martin Garrix will be performing. His electro-house style should provide a nice vibe for the pool. If you haven’t heard his track “Animals,” be sure to check it out. Tickets are $100.

On Saturday, April 19, superstar DJ Tiësto will be performing. He’s known for his performance at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, as well as his spectacular live show. This should be one hell of a performance. Tickets are $125.

On Sunday, April 20, Showtek will close things out. The techno and electro-house duo will put on an insane show that should whip people into a dancing frenzy. Tickets are $40.

For tickets or more information, visit leddayclub.com.

Published in Previews