The 5 year community of Danger Collective Records
By: Mica Kendall; Photographed by: Kayla Fernandez & MicaKendall
Photo by: Kayla Fernandez
For five years, independent record label Danger Collective Records, has curated a plethora of artists that represent some of the most talented songwriters and musicians in the DIY LA punk scene. Promoting bands such as Surf Curse and Slow Hollows, Danger Collective Records, has from the ground up built a platform for promoting up and coming acts within the California scene but also more importantly created a music community represented at their 5 Year Anniversary Show at the Bootleg Theatre on June 28th.
Founded by Reed Kanter alongside Jai Chebaia in 2014, Danger Collective’s goal was to emphasize DIY music while simultaneously promoting an all ages music atmosphere. The culmination of this objective of Danger Collective was evident at the all ages, sold out, 5 Year Anniversary Show. Showcasing Danger Collective music videos on a projector upon entrance to the venue and managing a set up of 2 stages for the jam packed 11 band lineup, the $13 ticket fee was more than worth it. Further adding to the ticket value was that all proceeds went directly to the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center.
As a personal fan of Danger Collective Records since high school, the 11 band lineup was both overwhelming and exciting with the guarantee of a favorite artist each hour. The first set I caught was Brutus VIII, the solo act of Jackson Katz (drummer of Slow Hollows and Current Joys). Attracting a full crowd at the Theater Stage, Katz opened his set with his new song “The New You” featuring vocals from Maddy Boyd (Your Angel and keyboardist for Current Joys). Reminiscent in sound to Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, the music of Brutus VIII emits a grotesque underbelly sound where underneath an upbeat experimental sound resides. Best emphasized in songs like “Pines” and “Watch Me Dive,” Katz was able to stir the crowd into a mosh frenzy as he paraded across the stage and screamed into the crowd.
Mid-way into Brutus VIII set, I ran to catch Jacob Rubeck’s (guitarist/vocalist of Surf Curse) solo project, Gap Girls, at the Bar Stage where he played a large chunk of his debut album, Street Desires. Street Desires sounds like it came straight out of an 80’s movie. Rubeck’s set consisted of just him and his laptop and was one of the most passionate sets of the night. Consisting of Rubeck pacing up and down the stage and lying on the ground and pounding the stage during “Runnin Through My Mind,” Rubeck’s set was reminiscent of performance art. Playing songs such as “Alone Tonight,” “Mirror,” and “Cindy,” Rubeck not only sounded as good as the studio audio, but his live set demonstrated his devotion for music craftsmanship.
Photos by: Kayla Fernandez
The rest of the night I resided at the Theater Stage where I got to see Los Angeles based band, French Vanilla. Going into the French Vanilla set with zero knowledge of their music, the set led me to become a new fan of French Vanilla. Consisting of lead singer Sally Spitz flamboyantly owning the stage alongside saxophonist Daniel Trautfield killing it with funky and insane saxophone riffs, it was nearly impossible not to dance to French Vanilla’s lively set. Playing songs such as “Evolution” and “Suddenly,” French Vanilla’s set felt like a time warp into a 70’s disco club or a rebirth in sound similar to Le Tigre’s hit, “Deceptacon.” Needless to say, French Vanilla’s energy did not go unnoticed and left an impact on the crowd, best emphasized by the guy next to me saying “holy shit” after each song.
Following suit to French Vanilla, Robert Tilden, aka Boyo, hit the stage with a full crowd that screamed the lyrics to “Attics” and “Hit or Miss”. Since Alt Philanthropy last saw Boyo at 2017 SXSW when he only had his Control album out, Boyo has released an abundance of new music, including four more albums that have earned him 2 million stream songs on Spotify. Boyo’s well deserving upsurge of success within 2 years was more than prominent during his set with the clear excitement in the air as the sellout crowd danced to Boyo’s guitar riffs for the entire set.
Photos by: Mica Kendall
Similar to my experience with French Vanilla, the act after Boyo, Model/Actriz, was another set I watched with zero awareness of what I was about to experience. To me Model/Actriz was not only the spotlight set but was the most exhilarating and captivating set of the night. Lead singer, Cole Haden, dominated the stage in his high heels that he never fell down in except for his occasional death drops. Filled with loud synth swells, frantic drumming, chaotic guitar solos, and an incredible screaming vocal range, Model/Actriz’s energy had the entire crowd enticed with their dark energy that reminded me of bands such as Black Midi or Daughters. However, it is doubtful that both bands would be able to compare to Haden’s fervent live performance energy. Playing songs such as “Matador,” “Liar,” “CJ,” and “⅔,” Model/Actriz catalyzed the liveliest circle pit in which Haden occasionally stepped off stage to join during songs. Regardless if one was familiar or not with Model/Actriz prior to their set, it is safe to stay Model/Actriz’s set not only earned them an abundance of newfound fans, but their live performance set a new level of unprecedented insane energy at the Bootleg Theatre.
Photos by: Kayla Fernandez
Closing off the night, headliners Slow Hollows and Current Joys were the last acts, and both attracted a completely packed audience. Releasing various singles throughout the year such as “Lessons For Later,” “Selling Flowers,” “Hell,” and “Get Along,” Slow Hollows’ set perfectly encapsulated the level of growth as a band that they have attained since their last 2016 album, Romantic. In terms of songwriting, frontman, Austin Feinstein, has not only increased his lyrical depth in storytelling, but has also impressively honed in the sound of Slow Hollows to a newfound state of maturity. Besides playing some of their classic hits such as “The Art School Kids” and “Nerves” which summoned a mosh pit flurry, Slow Hollows played their latest single “Get Along” for the first time and a new single called “Come Back In.” One of the most distinctive qualities of a Slow Hollows’ set is the functional sense of chemistry the band has with guitarist Aaron Jassenoff, keyboardist/trumpist Daniel Fox, and drummer Jackson Katz. Not only has the band instrumentally grown alongside Austin’s growth in songwriting, but Slow Hollows proves how well a group of friends can grow as a band within a matter of 6 years of hard work.
Photos by: Kayla Fernandez
Last but not least, the heavily anticipated Nick Rattigan of Current Joys closed off the night with a rare setlist consisting of songs from the album 2013 in honor of Danger Collective founder, Reed Kanter’s, favorite Current Joys’ album. Thus not only did the crowd of passionate Current Joy fans pop off to songs such as “My Blueberry Life,” “My Spotless Mind,” and “Under the Influence” seen in the immense amount of crowd surfing and crushed rib cages that front row fans were enduring, but Current Joys’ set was the perfect reminder of how euphoric live music can be. The crowd was not only exhibiting an energy even stronger than Rattigan’s liveliness seen in his guitar smashing, but the crowd seemed to consist of passionate OG Current Joy fans.
Photos by: Mica Kendall
Towards the end of Current Joys’ set, the rest of the band left Nick alone on the stage in which Nick shared a few words on the importance of Danger Collective. Not only did Danger Collective change the life of Nick as he expressed his appreciation to Kanter for buying his plane ticket to New York for Surf Curse to play their first ever festival, but more importantly Danger Collective represents a sense of family to Nick where every artist within the label is friends with one another. Numerous claps of support during Nick’s speech filled the air as well as shouted comments like “We love you Nick!” and “You Inspire me Nick!” wafted through the air and then morphed into screams when Nick surprised the crowd with Jacob to end the night with a surprise encore performance from Surf Curse.
Though it was close to 1 AM during this part of the show, as soon as Surf Curse started playing the guitar chords to their newest single “Disco,” the crowd’s energy erupted into 9,000 notches of chaos. Playing the song for the first time since its release, nearly everyone was screeching the lyrics back at Nick. Ending the night with the staple Surf Curse hit, “Heathers,” the night ended with a perfect harmony of the entire crowd shouting out “WOOOAAAHHH” into the night air of the Bootleg Theatre.
Above photos by: Kayla Fernandez; Bottom photo by: Mica Kendall
In conclusion, the main takeaway of the Danger Collective 5 Year Anniversary was the sense of family Danger Collective has fostered within their roster that resembles a group of interconnected friends. As an independently run record label, Danger Collective represents a network of creatively fueled individuals whose musical impact transcends what can be seen on the top charts. Whether its songwriting or balancing multiple projects seen in the many artists of Danger Collective who transfer their talents into solo endeavors as well, Danger Collective taps into a level of talent that is quickly rising within the public eye. Additionally, creativity is limitless within the label seen in the videography production for recent Surf Curse music videos that proves there are no boundaries in creativity within Danger Collective’s promotion for their artists.
Danger Collective has not only inspired me as a fan of music, but has inspired numerous upcoming DIY artists, videographers, and more. Thus, the appreciation of Danger Collective’s existence for 5 years proves the sky's the limit for Danger Collective’s growth, and corporate music labels need to watch out for the amazing amount of talent that Danger Collective harbors.
View the full photo gallery here.