Monster Massive - Review - DJs Spin with Claws Out

For the uninitiated, Monster Massive is a gigantic electronic dance music party at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles. Go Venture has been throwing it every Halloween since 1998, and it has grown into a real movement.

This year was host to the largest turnout the event has ever had. At its peak, the Sports Arena's floor was filled wall-to-wall, as well as all the seats and estimates ranged from 20-30 thousand people in attendance. There were rumors that the fire department was trying to shut the party down for being over the fire code limit. Thankfully, they never did.

The lineup this year featured world-class DJ's including Paul van Dyk and Armin van Buuren, who were voted the #1 and #2 DJ's in the world by DJ Mag for 2006. If their names aren't familiar, ask anyone who is into the electronic music scene, and watch their faces light up with excitement. These guys and many others kept the beats thumping continuously on three different stages from 8:30pm until 4:30am - and keep in mind that everyone gained an extra hour at 2:00am with the time change.

There was enough great music to satisfy nearly everyone, though when the lights came on at 4:30, chants of 'one more song' went on for five minutes before the crowd finally gave up and started to dissipate.

The Sports Arena itself had been converted into a concert venue for the occasion with a haunted house theme. Two side stages had been constructed, and featured bright neon colors, illuminated with black lights. But the main stage (dubbed 'The Tomb of Doom') was truly a piece of art. Giant rings of flashing colored lights flanked either side of the stage, swirling and swaying with the music. From time to time large spotlights would sweep the crowd, reminding everyone just how massive Monster Massive really was.

Large circular screens projected wild computer-generated visuals with shots of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi mixed in. The lighting and sound were stunning, drawing people into the experience, and because of the large open space above the dance floor, they never got overbearing. Still, my ears were ringing well into Sunday afternoon.

The cost of the event was a bit steep. Although most avid fans of the music didn't mind the ticket prices, many others were grumbling. General admission tickets ranged from $40 - $60, depending on when they were purchased. VIP tickets ranged from $75 - $100, and included a separate entry line, a VIP area near the stage, and an open vodka & beer bar. The VIP area lasted for a few hours, but by the middle of the night security had given up trying to keep the two areas separate, and everyone mingled freely. To be fair, the waters they sold were only $3, and with concert prices what they are, $60 for nine hours of music is a bargain.

Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren

All the freeways leading to the venue and the parking lots inside were a mess. Exposition Park is set up for large gatherings. USC manages to pack 92,000 into the LA Coliseum for every home game, but they have their system down to a science. The parking system for Monster Massive was slow and disorganized.

I have been to my share of USC games, and was able to avoid much of the congestion by staying off the freeways, parking near campus and walking. I talked to some people at the party who said they spent as many as three hours stuck in traffic and waiting to park. As it too often is with large concerts and events, planning ahead and arriving early made all the difference in the world.

Paul Van Dyk co-headlined

About half of the diverse crowd wore Halloween costumes, from the sexy to the absurd. Some seemed to be having the time of their lives, while others looked tired and pissed off. Just about everyone was friendly however, and there were surprisingly few 'sketchy' people. For the most part I felt safe and connected with the crowd, who were completely absorbed in the music. Monster Massive is an all-ages event, and although I couldn't shake the feeling that I was partying with a bunch of kids, I didn't witness many blatant displays of immaturity.

Monster Massive 2006

Overall, Monster Massive was an epic event, and one that I will continue to attend in years to come. Though not for the claustrophobic or faint of heart, Monster Massive is an event that needs to be experienced, not just witnessed. If you have the stamina to stay until the lights go up, you will probably leave somewhat dazed, with a tired but satisfied smile on your face.

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