The Gold Line carries house music to downtown L.A.


Music fans looking for a serious dance scene have often faced a dilemma going out in Los Angeles. Either hit a pricey Hollywood club, where glittering starlets dance behind velvet ropes until the wee hours and bottle service buys a place to sit, or cram into a sketchy, industrial-district warehouse outfitted with Porta-Potties and no parking.

A new option is appearing Saturday: Get on the Gold Line.

A pair of Los Angeles DJs and their graphic artist partner have teamed to produce “The Gold Line,” a techno and house music night happening every third Saturday of the month at downtown L.A.’s Señor Fish restaurant. The Little Tokyo venue may be an unlikely locale, but organizers say that’s exactly what makes it right for a rebirth of offbeat, affordable techno clubbing.

“There’s not a lot of techno or house nights going on right now, so it’s hard to find something if that’s your favorite genre of music,” said Amanda Yoshida, one of the organizers. “And we definitely wanted to do it for an affordable price.”

A house music show at a Hollywood super-club usually has a cover charge of $20 or more, but entrance to the Gold Line will be just five bucks. “Nobody is in it for any kind of profit,” Yoshida said. “It’s just for the love of the music.”

That price gives dance music fans a chance to hear groups such as Saturday’s headliners, Raíz, a duo spinning techno, electronic and house music.

Formerly known as Acid Circus, Raíz is made up of brothers Vidal and Vangelis Vargas, who helped form Droid Behavior, an influential DJ collective that later spawned the Droid Recordings record label. The two have toured nationally and internationally and were the organizers’ first choice for kicking off the series because of their strong ties to the L.A. underground.

“Our performance style is a combination of live acts and digital DJing,” Vidal said. “Expect to hear a lot of our own music live and a lot of the music we like to hear — performed in a way that is exciting and unique.”

For Saturday’s show, Raíz will use a drum machine to create a beat on the fly while they spin their music and samples from other people. The brothers have been performing together for about nine years, and have seen the techno and house music scene gain acceptance.

“Techno and house styles have gained more popularity, since more mainstream styles are bringing people’s attention to it,” Vidal said. At the same time, Raíz is maturing.

“People think most techno and house music has no meaning. We want to change that,” Vidal said. “We’re definitely trying to incorporate more concepts, stories and messages in our music.”

The electronic dance music scene has been exploding in Southern California for several years now, and this summer brings three major festivals to the area, including next weekend’s Electric Daisy Carnival, plus Hard LA and the Love Festival later this summer. Like Raíz, the Gold Line is trying to help the genre grow up a little bit.

“As that generation listening to dance music grew up, the scene matured with them,” explained former music journalist Chas Reynolds. “House music has taken on a lot more respect that it didn’t always have as an art form or as a musical medium.”

Reynolds sees the Gold Line and events like it as opening up house music to a wider, more mature audience. “People always want to have a good time, to go out and dance, but they don’t want to do that shoulder-to-shoulder with 17-year-olds, necessarily.”

Besides irresistibly danceable music, this party at Señor Fish offers other benefits.

“There have always been options downtown, but there’s always a caveat,” said organizer Chris Nelson, who performs under the name aDJnamedCK. “This is a very intimate venue, with full bar, a taco cart running all night on a gorgeous outdoor patio and a huge parking lot right next door.”

The event, named for the Metro line that is just adjacent to Señor Fish, will have a beer bar outside, as well as two full bars inside, and Nelson and his partner Dan Milchiker (performing as “Danny Miller”) will join as resident DJs every week.

“You have a chill patio and plenty of spots to hang out and talk, and you can listen to some amazing music,” Nelson said. “You no longer have to force yourself to go out on a weeknight or put up with the crowds, the cost, and the chaos of Avalon or Vanguard or wherever you used to go on Saturday nights.”

Downtown dance music with tacos, parking and a patio for just five bucks? The Gold Line might not be able to avoid those dreaded crowds for long.

The Gold Line

Where: Señor Fish, 422 E. 1st St., L.A.

When: Third Saturday of every month, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Price: $5 admission

Info: (213) 625-0566;