Fresh FM Logo Launch Party @ Cinema Nova / Sugar, Adelaide (29/11/2005)

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Tuesdays in Adelaide rarely offer as much excitement and entertainment as last night. Bringing people together to celebrate the launch of their new logo, visual identity and website, Fresh FM showed Adelaide they know how to host a party just as well as they know community radio.

Boasting a volunteer staff of around 200, and a listenership of 110 000, Fresh FM have been doing great things for dance music in Adelaide since their inception in 1998. Back then they shared the broadcast license with an Italian community station, finally winning the coveted 24/7 broadcast privileges in 2002. It’s been onward and upwards since, seeing a diversification of programming, and the distribution of station-fostered talent around Australia, with many Fresh ex-pats forging careers in commercial radio.

The night’s boozing, schmoozing and nibbling was in full swing when I arrived in the Cinema Nova foyer, with tunes courtesy of popular female DJ, Rolex. Known more for her work with drum and bass, this social occasion called for a more laid back mix, and it wasn’t long before the surprise act of the night, hip hop’s rising stars General Knowledge stepped up (without ceremony) for a punchy three track set. Things ran a lot smoother for these lads than they did at Off the Couch fortunately- their set running without a hitch.

The crowd gathered at Nova consisted of many familiar faces from station staff and volunteers to local promoters and artists. The vibe was warm and friendly with an abundance of smiles (even more so after an hour of complimentary nibbles and drinks) and around 6.30 the crowd filtered into Cinema 1 for some words, the unveiling, and a screening of David LaChapelle’s new feature film ‘Rize’. The film has been a long time coming, and follows two previous 25 minute documentaries about the same LA dance and street culture phenomenae: ‘Clowns in the Hood’ (2003) and ‘Krumped’ (2004). The film looks at the legacy of Tommy the Hip Hop Clown, and the legions of young black LA citizens who chose positive expression through dance as an alternative to adopting the prevalent (and deadly) gang culture in their troubled neighbourhood. Socially motivated, inspiring and entertaining it was a great choice by the Fresh promoters, and the film’s closing credits were met with applause. I’ve not experienced that since Michael Moore’s films, and the Star Wars re-releases! With Fresh sporting the new slogan ‘dedicated to the youth of Adelaide’ the film was a sound thematic match for the evening, and resonated with the viewers.

The brief, informal ceremony was provided by three familiar faces (or at least voices) in Adelaide. First up was comedian Big Al, a Fresh radio personality and comedian with a bellyful of ‘fat guy’ jokes. After Al had warmed the crowd with laughter,  Judy Potter, CEO of SA Great, followed on. Making the call ‘I don’t want to live in a nursing home state,’ her support of Fresh’s evolution and continuing focus on the youth of Adelaide’s interests was well met. The logo itself was unveiled (or rather projected) after a few words from Station Manager Troy Sincock, who explained that the design resulted from a competition they ran earlier this year. Cool and minimal, the logo surprised the audience, who were probably expecting the lavishly rendered digital artwork typical of dance music promotion.

Stage two of he party took the remaining guests upstairs to Sugar, for a night of ‘off duty’ Fresh DJs. Street Level Sound System provided a nice background to a drink and a chat with their reggae, dancehall and global grooves, and got a few girls onto the floor. The dancing was much more reserved than what we’d seen in ‘Rize,’ though I can’t confirm that there wasn’t furious ‘krumping’ when the likes of House masters Mal Chia, Bill Fragos, HMC and drum ‘n’ bass champ Patch took the decks! The crowd kept on coming as the night progressed, with a hundred people even spilling through between 1 and 2am. Between Nova and Sugar, the crowd was provided with a satisfying smorgasbord of DJs, viewing and even a token live act. Once again, the institution that is Fresh FM showed its full-blooded commitment to celebrating Adelaide’s vibrant and youthful spirit… with incredible results for a Tuesday night.

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