Clean & Serene @ Burdekin, Sydney (15/10/04)

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Now I don’t know if it’s just me, but the first time I heard the words Clean and Serene, I immediately pictured some sort of dodgy blue light disco most likely held in a school hall where the boys were on one side, the girls on the other and a large gap in between. The music would be, well, err… crap and the drinks strictly non-alcoholic.

Fast forward some three months later when I now have a number of C&S sessions under my belt and I can confidently reassure any Clean and Serene virgins that the monthly Friday nighter could not possibly be anymore different to the abovementioned scene. Mind you, when I heard about October’s C&S, it briefly occurred to me to contact the ACCC and lodge some sort of false advertising claim, but I then thought it would be far easier just to head along as per usual and hopefully have yet another top night.

Rolling up to the Burdekin just after ten o’clock we made our way to the first floor where we were warmly received by an ever smiling Sam who did the customary stamping of wrists. After a brief mix up that saw a heap of us temporarily crash the twenty-first birthday taking place on level two (including shaking the hand of the proud father who thanked us for attending), we worked out just what the deal was and headed back downstairs to catch the second half of Jackster’s set.

As we ordered our drinks and caught up with the usual suspects, the big man of C&S dished up some good old-fashioned four-on-the-floor house that had people tapping their feet, shaking their asses and eventually edging their way onto the dance floor. Dropping a tres choice mix of tracks such as Mark Farina – Dreammachine, Toby Neal – Join the Dots and if I’m not mistaken a remix of Burn by Usher, Andy played the role of first cab off the rank perfectly and by the time that Tazman stepped up and plugged in his headphones, the dance floor was the place to be.

In much the same way the bar and lounge had also filled steadily and as Tazman settled in for the next hour and a half the Burdekin was well and truly jumping. One of the great things about Clean and Serene (and noticeable differences from a lot of other Sydney nights) is that everyone is genuinely friendly and smiling. The best way I can find to describe it is that the night is like a house party at a mate’s place – you may not know everyone there but rest assured that there are only a couple of degrees of separation. On numerous occasions I found myself waiting to be served at the bar only to strike up a conversation with the person next to me. Other times I’d be sitting with my friends next to someone on their own and before I knew it, the person that until then had been a stranger was now a part of the inane banter that seems to come hand in hand with all C&S parties.

Tazman took over from Jackster in a seamless fashion and then proceeded to bump things up a notch. Providing the crowd with just what they’d come for – house, house and a bit more house, Tazman delivered a wicked set, pulling some tasty mixes from his bag of tricks courtesy of his recent jaunt to the UK. Dropping tracks such as Soul Avengerz – Love You Feel, Danny Howells – Dusk Til Dawn and Poker Pets – Loving You, the man had the punters dancing the night away with reckless abandon complete with the obligatory hands in the air moments. As so as Friday turned into Saturday, Tazman kept the house beats flowing thick and fast, doing a fantastic job of warming the crowd up for the main act of the night – The Potbelleez.

Comprised of Jonny and Dave, The Potbelleez have built a formidable reputation in Sydney as the back-to-back duo that are guaranteed to rock any crowd they play in front of. Whether it’s Moulin Rouge, Home or in the case of last Friday, The Burdekin, The Potbelleez always provide an energy packed set that keeps the kids dancing the whole time – none of this ducking off for a quick breather.

Continuing on the house tip that the other guys had done such a mad job of building, the lads found their groove behind the decks and off they went. Mixing it up with a wide range of tracks including Raul Rincon – Test Tube Baby and Creeps – The Freeks, the guys pushed things up yet another level from where Tazman had left off. The crowd was treated to a unique surprise – an original (and unreleased) Potbelleez track known simply as ‘Untitled’ that was in ways reminiscent of ‘Lola’s Theme’ and went down an absolute treat with everyone present.

Just as we thought that they couldn’t possible have anymore tricks hidden up their sleeves, the guys took things onto more of a breaks tip – something not usually associated with the four-on-the-floor policy of Clean and Serene, however The Potbelleez showed just why they are so successful, reading the crowd perfectly and giving them exactly what they needed – a steady serving of breaky house goodness. Playing crowd favorites like DJ Touche – The Paddle and Jan Driver – Ladeez Want It, the duo rocked the Burdekin until after three o’clock when cheers and applause marked the end of their set.

Last but not least behind the decks was Mr Mike McGrath. Bringing things back to a slightly less frenetic pace, house was again the flavor of the hour. It was at around this point that the working week caught up with both my better half and I, so we did the rounds, said our goodbyes and headed for home. I do however have it on very good authority from three reliable (albeit trashy) friends that Mike McGrath bought things home in a big way that had people only contemplating leaving once the house lights had been turned on.

So all in all (misleading name aside) Clean and Serene has delivered yet another quality installment that goes to show just why they have been successfully running for well over two years. With their third birthday celebration set for late November, I have a feeling that this is one night that is just set to get bigger and bigger.

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