Written by Michael John (Jack) Kierecki
Photos by RUKES
AMFAMFAMF, also called AMF or All My Friends, is Destructo’s record label. Besides just having a record label, Destructo (Gary Richards) also has the AMF Festival in LA and Friendship, the festival on a cruise that sails out of Miami in February. AMF, or All My Friends Fest, is Gary Richards “anti rave rave.” For those around a couple years back, you’ll remember the EDM scene in LA was sort of spilt in-between Pasquales PLUR community and Destructo’s “you can’t sit with us” attitude. All My Friends has set that in stone. As for leaving your ego at the door; well everyone is apparently too cool to dance but that’s okay we all knew that coming in. That being said, you can’t help but enjoy reliving the HARD nostalgia that is a Gary Richards event. You have to appreciate the focus on House/Techno and the resurgence of large scale EDM events in DTLA.
Layout / Stages
The venue itself made things really get intimate. The BBF stage had to be inspired by wanting to bring everyone together. Forget any traditional stage set up you are used to of just an artist by themselves up on a platform. BBF blurred the barrier lines between backstage and the front of house, more a mosh pit with an electricity dance producer in the middle. All of it with light towers out stretched over it all. A palm for everyone to stand in. In contrast, the FriendZone was a stage within a stage on stage.
At some point you’ll have to go to the bathroom and will be faced with dreaded smells, long lines, and bouncers. Wait what? Why is there a bouncer here? Since we are in LA our affinity to wait in line with out knowing what for will just automatically kick in. On the other side of the line; an un-announced Garden Stage awaits with surprise sets from Sita Abellan, Diplo and more. So for once it has you finding a pleasant surprise past those porta potty doors.
Not having to drive an hour or more outside LA to an event is pretty great. The multiple after spots at Sound, Exchange, or Avalon just 20 minutes away meant that even though AMF ended at 12:00am the night doesn’t have to be over. Plus the high volume of Ubers already in LA means that you are not gonna get gouged and left almost stranded waiting for one to arrive. The griminess of the Industrial District in DTLA and shadows of Skylight Row cast a rare venue that promises to give you vivid memories of a short but fun time in the city.
Being a 21+ plus event meant you for sure had OG’s in the crowd. For many of the attendees there, Justice drew first blood and got them into the beeps and the boops of EDM. You felt the respect in the air for the French duo so much that it would be disrespectful to even speak during their set. MK B2B Diplo’s higher ground set was what we didn’t know we wanted but got. Idris Elba held it down, the man can get a crowd hyped for sure, leaving no doubts wether he can do more that just act. Black Coffee’s two hour set closed AMF making everyone’s souls bounce through the rest of the night.
You could tell this wasn’t a rave the moment you walked in. The 50+ prohibited items made sure of that. It was still cool how everyone was dressed ready to hit the club after doors closed. Having been scaled down from last year meant that you’ll run into every one you know more than once witch could be positive or negative depending on the person you keep running into. Everyday was less than six hours, creating a fleetingness in the night, knowing that it would be over soon. It was best to just make the best of it and have a good time.
Arriving at 8pm means that unless you know someone in the container you’ll wait at least an hour to get in cause seriously one window for will call? With three other windows open-ishs!? On the bright side you could almost see Destructo/Matroda over the perimeter fence with the other couple hundred people standing in line with you. Doors open at 5:30 pm fam. No water stations to be found but at least bottles were only 3 bucks. Lastly I looked like hell for a venue map and could not find one anywhere. I assumed it was in order to keep the third stage a surprise.
AMF can grow in every way but does it want to? Gary Richards has done massive events and this could be too but maybe this might just stay an intimate party with all my friends.