Sumo Sonic feat. Richard F @ The World, Sydney (12/03/05)

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Richard F, one of the driving forces behind the success of Subliminal, founder of Spread Music and the man behind ‘Let the Sunshine Through’. None too shabby in the international DJ stakes, a dead on international headline act and booked to play his only Sydney gig at the The World? Yeah, I hear you, I’ve given it a real good slating myself in the past. And that’s where the slating belongs, in the past – because if you’ve yet to venture into the new world, your missing one of the best overhauls I’ve ever seen in a club.  After 6 months of hard graft, Sumo Sonic has all but exterminated the back packers, cleaned the look of the club up and bought in a consistently strong music policy.

I arrived at World (stopping briefly for a chat with the nicest door staff in Sydney) in the aim of heading straight out the back to hear Ben Kelly play the opening set.  All I can say is DOUBLE D a seriously funky act comprising of 3 guys on decks, CDJ’s, guitar, percussion and keyboards. I’m not a massive fan of live music combined with House, except for these 3 guys who quite honestly show the rest of Sydney how it should be done.

After a delayed arrival, I finally made my way into the quickly filling backroom just after 11pm to catch resident Ben Kelly tempting the ever up for it World crowd onto the dancefloor with “Bang Bang” the Audio Bootys white label.   Ben Kelly is fast proving to be arguably the best new DJ’s on the circuit, which is in part due to his technical ability, which far surpasses his level of experience. Keeping the tunes coming but not letting the set become too commercial Ben kept a great balance of big tunes and new music, including a new electro tune from Ignition “Love is War” before handing the decks over to resident, promoter and Daddy of Sumo Sonic, Bob Frisky. 

Immediately taking the tempo up a notch Mr Frisky threw on a new track from Plan B, Tom Neville remix of “I see girls”, and in the words of Ben Kelly “made DJ’ing look really easy”. Leaving Bob Frisky to build up the room ready for Richard F I kicked my way through the packed front bar to check out Tony Montana the second international of the night playing the front room.  Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed, Tony’s been over here a couple of weeks and really ripped it up at his gigs the last week. However although Tony’s set was technically excellent with a real driving sound that I really like, I personally thought that the tunes were a bit too heavy for the front room and not different enough from the sounds being expertly mixed in the back room by Bob. 

As time ticked closer to Richard F’s set the world filled with a clubbier crowd tempted by the promise of the ex-Subliminal DJ. I made my way out the back again to catch the end of Bob’s set and check out the increased production bought in for Richard.  Adding to the already good sound at World, Sumo Sonic had an extra Technic’s 1210 deck, two CDJ1000’s  and a Pioneer EFX 500 unit.  As I checked out the new toys, Bob finished up yet another fantastic set at World and handed over to Richard F with One eye shut” by Robbie Rivera (Steve Angello & Sebastian Ingrosso remix) and it was time for RichardF to take the decks..

At this point I’d like to name you the tracks Richard played during the first 45 minutes of his set, I can’t. In part this is due to me being transfixed by the technically outstanding use of the CDJ’s, the fact the Richard edits down many of the current big tunes to 2 minute tracks he likes, mixing in and out of them, and that the driving sound that he was creating simply blew me away. I’m a fairly harsh critic, but truly the first 45 minutes of Richard F’s set was sensational, it was dark but not too heavy, driving but not too hard, it held the dancefloor and impressed the hell out of me.  Then “professional widow” changed the flow of the set (sending the dancefloor mad) following the first big vocal tune of the set “somebody to love” it seemed an odd choice to me, still the crowd loved it.  The set stayed old skool for a while and it was certainly very good, not as impressive as the start but very good.  Then Richard pulled it back and I was impressed all over again as the later set took a harder edge and Richard showed just what he can do with the CDJ’s.

Following Richard F and closing the night was Mike McGrath, longtime resident of World. No one knows the World dancefloor like Mike, who ripped it up and chucked it back at the crowd with a chunky, jackin set that when joined by Bob Frisky to play Back2Back for the last few hours kept the dancefloor pumping till dawn.

As I said at the start, World has had it’s fair share of flack. Given what I saw on Saturday night, I think its an unfair call on a club that offers without doubt the best music policy in Kings Cross, has top class resident DJs: Bob Frisky, Mike McGrath and Ben Kelly.  Brings International acts of the standard of Richard F (and only charges $10 on the door), is not afraid to take some risks and try something new, has a crowd week in and week out that gets on the dancefloor and stays on the dancefloor and above all doesn’t take itself too seriously.

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