Parklife @ Centennial Park, Sydney (27/11/04)

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Parklife – sunshine, mates, beer and beats. That’s it, review done; don’t need to tell you any more. But I will.

Juxtaposed next to the behemoth Aussie Stadium and Sydney Cricket Ground, where on any other given weekend Australia’s sporting gladiators do battle, is the quaint but uninviting Kippax Lake which is within the Moore park segment of Centennial Parklands

Next to that lake the Fuzzy crew created environs for the 6th staging of the Parklife event. This was my first outing to a Fuzzy event at this location, so on arrival it was necessary to join the tour bus, absorb the grassy space (thankfully plenty of it) and locate all the necessary stops for the day. These stops being the bar/loos (for obvious reasons), the tented breaks stage (for broken tasting beats), the outdoor house stage (for four to the floor tasting beats) and the lake (for times of respite when the feet and head needed to not taste any beats).

All of these Parklife elements were located within 5 minutes so we simply locked our self into a continuous hop on – hop off rotation through these stops, kind of like the circle line on the London underground, only much more pleasing environs.

The journey was eventful to say the least. Signs at the entrance noted that one of the draw cards Barry Ashworth was not going to be on the bill as he was waylaid in another country. Later in the evening we were very pleased to learn that Fuzzy secured the services of Mylo to drop his pressure on us as a replacement. More on him when we reach that stop.

Funktrust were the early breaks tent DJs as we settled in, warming a crowd up that was already quite warm enough due to the fact that the atmospheric heat was peaking outside of the tent. After them came a man I had been looking forward to listening to named Mr. Scruff. I had heard great things about him and respect any producer/DJ on Ninja Tune records. He had three hours to play with and did not disappoint.

The biggest quandary here was the fact that Mark Farina was playing his boombty boomp house on the outdoor stage at the same time. It was extremely hot out there though so the shaded tent of Scruff superseded and became our suited action stop for what would be a momentous 3 hour selection of beats.

Scruff began with some tasty dub infused beats and steadily built from that a masterful construction of funk that included the dropping of The Cure’s ‘Love Cats’ and his own ‘Spandex Man’ as highlights. He has a very distinct style. There were moments when due to the distinct swinging jazzy beats he was playing I would look up and expect to see Austin Powers behind the decks, flashing his horrible teeth, playing the theme tune to Austin Powers 4 – ‘The shagadelic DJ-spy who funked me’.

Visuals for Scruff were blatantly advertising his merchandise, but hell when you create produce as tasty as his you know the people will be keen to make purchases. Scruff also displayed his partiality for quirkiness with these visuals. Amongst the references to his releases was the cartoon bubble order for us to ‘Drink Tea!’. I do drink tea Scruff and thanks for the warm infusions.

Next stop was the introduction of Soul of Man to the breaks tent. They proceeded to pick up the pace with some chunky breaking numbers that had the people hopping on their feet. However the electro metallic magnetism of Felix Da Housecat was sweeping us from the platform of the breaks tent to the house stage.

With the sun slowly fading behind the giant Moore Park trees it was beginning to be a lot more comfortable in the open air. Mr. da Housecat played a very agreeable style of meaty house beats with swathes of electro and the inclusion of some old school classics through his journey. Notable selections were a remix of Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ and Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’.

JT Donaldson took the reigns from Felix and pleased this writer immensely with his deep driving house beats. A remix he played by a band who called their album the same name as this very event went down really well. Did you guess it? I’ll piece it for you. Blur put out an album called Parklife, but on this night JT played a remix of ‘Girls and Boys’ from that album, which was quite apt I thought. He didn’t show much emotion up there though, hiding behind his sunglasses through his set, so we continued on our circular journey back to the breaks stage to catch the end of Soul of Man.

At their completion surprise guest Mylo was introduced to an excitable crowd, albeit only spinning tunes this night and not doing the live thing we were very pleased to have him. There was no messing around, he demonstrated his ability to grab hold of a people’s dancing feet with a mix of his ‘Otto’s Journey’ track to kick it off. What followed was an hour and a half of broken electro and tech house that was at times a little lacking in volume.

Highlights within included ‘Pump up the Jam’ by Technotronic, a remix of the tune from the film Beverly Hills Cop by Harold Faltermeyer called ‘Axel F’, his own tunes ‘Muscle car’, ‘Drop the Pressure’ and an upbeat remix that used the bass line of Rick James’ ‘Super Freak’ with what sounded like Dr Dre and Snoop dog rapping over the top. He finished his set with Womack and Womack’s ‘Teardrops’ followed by Toto’s ‘Africa’ with much adoration from the crowd.

Shapeshifters took us back round the circle next on the outdoor stage with some excellent house music selections. Most notable was their own ‘Lola’s Theme’ which had DJs and punters mouthing “I’m a different person” as the recording revolved.  Mylo’s ‘Drop the Pressure’ got another spin from them too, and they also dropped Deep Dish’s Flashdance for good measure.

At the next juncture the feet were beginning to come quite weary, these long days in the sun dancing to excellent music are hard work you know! As we sidled away from the venue the raucous beats of Freddy Fresh were contrasted against the last hurrah from John Wall and Illya on deck, suitably gave us the sweet loop of Kaskade’s ‘It’s you, It’s me’.

See you on the platform at the next Fuzzy station.

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