by Tamara Syed
A benefit show unlike typical glitzy charity events, LA Gives Back rocked Los Angeles with surprise performances by Diplo and OG Maco on December 21.
Los Angeles-based record label and media company IHEARTCOMIX hosted the benefit, bringing together several top promoters in LA all under one roof, including Brownies & Lemonade, HAM on Everything, Late Night Laggers, Space Yacht, Emo Nite, Free Grilled Cheese, and Restless Nites.
Although the lineup was kept under wraps, the event sold out a few hours before doors opened, with 100% of the proceeds going to three local charities. The show raised more than $50K for Casa Libre, which provides support to displaced immigrants and refugees; My Friend’s Place, which supports the homeless youth population in LA with career services, pet care, healthy food and more; and Showers of Hope, which brings mobile showers to homeless communities.
Despite the pouring rain, attendees waited patiently in a line that wrapped around the entire exterior of Union Nightclub in downtown Los Angeles, which was converted into a six-room dance fest spanning a variety of genres, with each room containing its own microcosm of spectacle and talent.
Diplo surprised the crowd with a late-night set as hundreds of fans rushed the doors and security struggled to contain the determined mob of partiers. Spinning Fatman Scoop’s “Be Faithful” with Flosstradamus’ “Mosh Pit,” the skilled DJ persuaded even the most reserved wallflowers to join the rocking and swaying of the crowd.
Meanwhile, the nostalgic throwback sets of Emo Nite DJs echoed to a packed crowd who sang along to nearly every word of pop punk’s past. Upstairs past the foam machine and balloons, the next floor housed the Late Night Laggers crew. Making use of every open space, the event hosted opposing sounds and genres just a few steps away from each other.
Tucked along the wall was a merch table of promotional artwork, with all proceeds going towards Monday Night Mission, an organization dedicated to feeding LA’s homeless population on Skid Row.
The main stage paired Brownies & Lemonade with HAM on Everything and featured electronic and hip-hop acts that shook the room with their booming sounds. Swizzymack mixed Drake songs with heart-pounding electronic beats, leading into a gritty performance by OG Maco and the effortless cool of Father.
Mike Parvizi of Penthouse Penthouse skillfully set the tone with his subdued tracks, each one more surprising than the next. A native Los Angeleno, Parvizi shared his thoughts on the current state of homelessness in his hometown.
“Every night there are over 50,000 displaced citizens in Los Angeles due to misappropriated funds and neglect,” Parvizi told Music for Good. “Anytime that we could come together to create awareness and raise funds – it’s a beautiful thing! It should be [done] year round.”
Amidst the chaos and overwhelming crowds, the pride for Los Angeles was palpable, spanning across age groups and genres of music, ethnicities and personalities, all coming together for a great cause.