Event Review: The Black Madonna at Dig Deeper
The promo team and DJ duo of Alison Swing and Masha Mar bring The Black Madonna back to LA
If you told a crowd of seasoned LA promoters that two twenty-something LA chicks had crafted a formula for late night events that was simply both of them opening for a single headliner for the entirety of the night, and that within 9 months that formula would have people literally climbing up the walls as though they were possessed by the Holy Ghost, you’d probably get a healthy dose of skepticism. It takes years of experience and toiling away in anonymity to break through, right?
It seems Alison Swing and Masha Mar have little respect for tradition. Even they are in awe of what their party thrown under the moniker “Dig Deeper” has become in such a short period of time. When the duo aren’t opening up for for the likes of Max Graef, Jay Daniel, and Iron Curtis in the comforting shadows of the LA subterranean scene, they are throwing events at The Standard Rooftop in Downtown LA or at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. Their names can also be seen on a vast array of lineups around town as they perfect their craft and expand their outreach. Don’t think that their impressive early returns have come without hustle; these ladies work hard.
But when they are behind the decks, they are flashing Cheshire smiles in the darkness, serving up forward-thinking house music and hugging awe-struck revellers from across the DJ-booth divide. They have stumbled into a certain kind of magic that is all their own and unlike most other LA parties happening right now.
Some of that is at least due in part to the younger crowd that has embraced vinyl as a medium all over again, and who freak out when Swing—who exclusively plays vinyl—drops a well-timed cut of LCD Soundsystem’s “Get Innocuous” as an ice cube into a stiff 4/4 cocktail.
Credit their artistry as well, such as Masha’s prophetic suggestion that they adorn their DJ booth with madonna figurines and other religious paraphernalia as an homage to the legendary Chicago-based DJ, vinyl cult purveyor and personal hero of theirs. Marea (Black’s real name) would later tag the two on Instagram for the ornate altar placed in the middle of the dancefloor—Boiler Room style—from which she graciously administered her sermon.
Masha opened up the night with some divine selections of her own blend of soulful deep house, which draws heavy influence from Detroit and the likes of Omar S, that would serve as communion to the first devotees who arrived.
“I believe in the art of the opening DJ,” said Masha when speaking to XLR8R afterwards. “I set the tone by starting off with Avalon Emmerson’s ‘Church of Soma’ (HNNY remix) and then moved into the shamanic Red Axes ‘Me and Abra In Ruanda’ (Hivern Discs).” Repping your talents as an opening DJ is a bold move, but it legitimately was the perfect scene-setter. By the time she played her last track, the crowd in front of the booth was already thicker than the King James Version of The Bible, with little-to no-chance of mercy anticipated from The Black Madonna.
Once Alison went on, dancers had overtaken the back of the DJ booth as well. Not missing a beat, she transitioned into Axel Boman’s new track, “Something Bad on my Mind” from Junk Yard Connection’s ‘Back Yard Impressions Vol. II.’ By then, the party was locked into a groove with their hands waving and, judging by their faces and yelps, clearly feeling like the music was the perfect soundtrack for their life at that very moment.
Before delivering her sermon, The Black Madonna arrived early with her record bag in-tow to take in the party, mingling with her friends and hanging around the pulpit to hear the majority of Swing’s set.
“Marea is someone I really look up to, not only as a DJ, but as another woman in the music industry. Her viewpoints have been a huge source of inspiration for me,” said Swing with obvious reverence.
And lo and behold, The Black Madonna came down from heaven, playing a set straight out of the Book of Revelations that featured Chicago house, rare disco edits, Berghain-style techno, and everything in between. Adding one more bullet point to their resume for the night, Masha and Alison had to take on the role of security enforcement to keep the heaving crowd from bumping into The Black Madonna as she preached. For lack of a better metaphor, seeing her navigate so many genres so fluidly was a religious experience and the party was primed for the Rapture that, appropriately, finished late on a Sunday morning.
Dig Deeper maintains a brand that, at its core, is asking the dance community to try new ideas when it comes to partying. House music was built on the fundamental belief that no matter who you are, where you come from, or where you’re going, at the very least, you deserve a place where you will be accepted. Dig Deeper is a place to confess your sins, and a place to wash away the shames of atonement.
Masha & Alison have work lined up all over town for the next couple of months. Catch them at one of their dates in Los Angeles, and check out Dig Deeper for more information on their next event. You can also check out The Black Madonna in New York during Pride Weekend for The Bunker & Wrecked Pride present: Honey Soundsystem, The Black Madonna, Carlos Souffront, Mike Servito, and Honcho.
7.11 Sunblock w/ Detroit Swindle, Alison Swing, Masha more TBA @ Standard Rooftop