Heineken Thirst @ Randwick Racecourse, Sydney (24/04/05)

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After successfully launching the Heineken Thirst concept in Australia early in 2004, the event returned to Randwick Racecourse this weekend with superstar international house DJs Roger Sanchez and Erick Morillo. The Thirst event is a global competition and promotional event which aims to find the most talented upcoming DJ in the country and the winners earn the privilege of playing at the event as it tours the country. Both Morillo and Sanchez were billed to play 3hr sets at the event and were also involved in judging the event. The 3000 available tickets to the event sold out the well before the event, with many being scalped at incredible prices on Ebay much to the disappointment of many Sanchez and Morillo fans that missed out. Also playing on the night were local house legends Yogi & John Devecchis, Danny Bass and the samba sound system as well as the Australian and New Zealand competition finalists.

The afternoon started off fantastically with excellent variety in tunes and free Heineken’s being dealt out at the bar to the rather small crowd. However as the afternoon kicked on as the venue started to fill up to capacity the night just kept on getting better. First up was the competition, which resulted in a final showdown between NSW finalist Mo Funk (who finished in second place) and the eventual winner of the competition – 22 year old Jimmy B from Perth. He commented on his set: “I’m over the moon. This is the longest set I’ve ever played, and most definitely the biggest crowd!”. Meanwhile outside in the courtyard area the vibe was one of chilled house tunes and funky beats courtesy of Yogi & John Devecchis, and funky tunes from Danny Bass and the samba sound system much later on in the evening which quite a few people were enjoying.

After a slight technical glitch Roger Sanchez kicked off his set much to the delight of the many punters enjoying the atmosphere in the main room. The set was extremely enjoyable and simply jam packed with pure funky house and a good number of quality vocal tunes which seemed to fit the atmosphere and crowd at this event very well. Some of the tunes Roger Sanchez played were a remix of Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam, Milk and Sugar – Let the Sunshine In, and Michael Gray – The Weekend. The last half an hour of his set was performed live with his band; Lisa Pure, GTO and Freak. The music was a lot funkier than I prefer but it was great to have something different and interesting going on whilst Sanchez kept slamming out the house beats. Some of Roger’s tracks they played were Turn on the music, Hot 4 U and his remix of Love you bring Me. Overall it was a great set and his energy behind the decks and quality track selection was a pleasure to dance to.

Next up Eric Morillo stepped up to play till close at the event much to the delight of the crowd who released an enormous cheer upon his appearance on stage. This was by far my favourite set of the night and despite Morillo playing much more accessible house tunes than he normally would he mixed it up nicely with some solid house, the odd tribal number and some great classic tunes. Morillo started off possible my favourite song of the set Gadjo – So many times which resulted in the crowd singing along during the breakdown. The rest of his set can be described as well mixed and full of huge build-ups and amazing drops that kept the crowd smiling till closing time. Some of the tracks he played were his mix of Coldplay – God put a Smile on your Face, Audio Bullys feat Nancy Sinatra – Shot You Down, and Kid creme – Austin’s Groove, and Despina Vandi – Gia.

The venue was an excellent choice in my opinion and despite some sound echoing around the outsides of the arena as expected the volume, look and vibe of the main room was amazing. The room was also filled to a good level and there was plenty of space to dance and move around the arena. Another great thing about the setup at this venue were the abundance of free water cooler stands all around the outside of the main arena and the seeming lack of long queues for both toilets and drinks. Overall, the event was a fantastic afternoon and evening of quality music, well priced drinks and an amazing atmosphere in what is in my opinion an under-utilised venue. Look out for more information on the Heineken Music website to see how Australia’s winner Jimmy B fares as he takes on the winners from around the world. Well done Thirst on a well organised and extremely memorable event! See you at the next one.


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