What happens when you open up a new club and you don’t even show up for the opening? That question was probably on the minds of more than a few who attended the premiere night of Décor, Insomniac’s latest foray into Saturday night Hollywood entertainment. After all, the local nightlife media had been hyping up the fact that this new club would be going head-to-head with its former business partner Giant, which had bolted from Vanguard and re-settled in its old Avalon digs. So where was Pasquale Rotella, the founder and driving force behind Insomniac? Well, that was no secret; he was a good hour away in San Bernardino, throwing the much-touted Nocturnal Festival at the Orange Show the same night….a handy way to duck the petty ridiculousness of L.A. clubbing politics, to be sure. Of course, when you have an old hand like Philip Blaine on-hand to run the show when you’re gone, you don’t have very much to worry about, so Pasquale probably wasn’t sweating any bullets over the matter.
Surprisingly, though, the night started out rather slowly: this writer showed up at 11:30 to find the place only about two-thirds full. Granted, as one clubber pointed out, with the Nocturnal Festival, Giant and SXSW in Austin all taking place simultaneously, there was good reason for Hollywood night-mavens to be elsewhere, but still…the early absenteeism for a big opening night was odd. Well, too bad for those who took their time getting in, because it meant that they missed out on the chance to listen to more of Trent Cantrelle, the L.A. DJ who’s been blowing up all over the place for the last year. Cantrelle’s been on a major roll as of late, and he injected no small amount of life into the crowd on the checkerboard dance floor with thumping, up-tempo house that those who catch him at his frequent Monday Social gigs would instantly recognize. As the house gradually filled, he took his mixing to higher levels to match the energy of the extremely scantily-clad go-go dancers, who shook and writhed much to the delight of at least half the patrons…not hard to guess which half that was.
Finally at around 1:00, a flowering of happiness opened up through the house as the man most came to see stepped behind the decks: the one and only Sander Kleinenberg. It took little time for Kleinenberg to ably demonstrate that the Dutch invasion of American dance floors is still well in swing, trading smiles with the audience and unleashing thrilling beats upon them at the same time. Even those in the balconies were stirred to action from their lackadaisical slumping, proving that even jaded-than-thou L.A. hipsters can still be prodded to action given the proper stimulation. If Insomniac can deliver talent on the level of Kleinenberg and his ilk on a regular basis, Décor may be providing plenty of such stimulation for a while to come. We shall see.