The Noise Train ventured out to see Wolfgang Gartner on his Weekend in America Tour, and the Fonda Music Box couldn’t have been a better venue for his scintillating set-up. Insomniac events, who throw little shindigs like Electric Daisey Carnival and Nocturnal Wonderland every now and again, put on back-to-back Wolfgang Gartner shows and knew exactly what they were doing when they chose this venue.
We caught up with Wolfgang Gartner (Joey Youngman as he’s known offstage) while he was doing a last minute check up before his set. The producer/DJ said he was pretty excited to be playing in his hometown as he guzzled an energy drink and darted around the stage to check his equipment. Gartner’s skeletal-looking platform was situated in front of curtains made from small metallic-colored strips woven together, as well as a massive wall of LED lights, creating a dramatic backdrop. His equipment was flanked by two giant octopus-like creatures, which Gartner joked were used to ward off those who got too close. Overall, the stage from which Gartner was about to perform had a complex and layered design, building our anticipation for his performance all the more.
Gartner’s customized set-up wasn’t the only source of ambiance; the Music Box’s unique design and decor helped to set a somewhat sinister mood. For those of you who haven’t been to the Music Box, let me take a moment to describe the setting for Gartner’s show. The lavishly designed building has three distinct levels. The first is the main floor, where die-hard fans ebb and flow with the movement of the crowd and VIP guests look on from their table-serviced booths. The second level is situated outdoors. It provides concert goers with a break from chaos and some Los Angeles fresh air. The upper level is a bit more VIP, requiring a separate wristband upon entry. Here you can sit in plush, stadium-style seating on a balcony that overlooks the crowd and stage. Each of the three floors provides guests with a completely different experience, however, one aspect of the decor remains the same. The walls of the Music Box are covered in the dark (and somewhat horrifying) scenes from 15th century artist, Hieronymus Bosch’s painting titled The Garden of Earthly Delights. Made up of three, related but distinct, panels, Bosch’s work of art displays scenes from the creation and from hell. The particular images currently under discussion come from the furthest right panel of Bosch’s triptych and depict the torments of damnation faced by those who succumbed to earthly delights. So next time you’re at the Music Box, keep an eye out for impaled corpses, bird-headed monsters feeding on humans, and people being subjected to punishments as a result of engaging in the 7 Deadly Sins.
When the curtain finally drew back at around 12:30 AM, the man of the hour was poised atop his LED tower. To the excitement of his fans, and in true Insomniac fashion, Wolgang Garnter went in hard and the energy didn’t cease until the lights came on! The set was an all-encompassing display of Garnter’s masterful production of tracks from his new album, Weekend in America, as well as his biggest hits, including Illmerica, Wolfgang’s 5th Symphony, and Animal Rights. Amidst the light show, scantily clad dancers performed in enclaves above the crowd. Amazed by the visually stimulating setting and Gartner’s complex electronic production, the Noise Train staff boogied the night away and documented it all for your viewing pleasure. One thing is for certain, after this performance, we Los Angelenos are eagerly awaiting a follow-up show in the near future.
Check out our exclusive photos of Wolfgang Gartner live at the Music Box and you can see how ridiculous the party was for yourself.
The Fonda Music Box is easily one of our favorite clubs in Los Angeles and we want to give a special thanks to the good people at the Mitch Schneider Organization for helping us see a side of the venue that we haven’t had the privilege of experiencing before.
Photos and words by Casey and Casey