Mad Racket feat. Brennan Green & Jamie Lloyd @ Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney (04/03/06)

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On a night when much of Sydney found itself perched on milk crates along Oxford Street for Mardi Gras, not far away in sleepy suburbia one very popular local party was preparing itself for a night of musical mayhem in a space more atune to the gentler rhythm of lawn bowls than hard thumping basslines.

For tonight was another installment of Sydney’s infamous Mad Racket parties, at the Marrickville Bowling Club. Toronto-based DJ and producer Brennan Green was the drawcard with local wunderkid Jamie Lloyd in support, along  with the usual Racket crew. Being one of the biggest nights on Sydney’s clubbing calendar, Mardi Gras night always draws a mixed crowd of punters from virgins to the odd veteran (fresh) out of retirement. In this case though, you could almost be guaranteed a night of regular types and old faces, giving the place a special vibe.

We walked in to witness the ever debonair Jimmi James on the decks, laying down a smooth blend of beats heavy on the bass and light on the vocals – after all, the night was billed as a “Kylie-free lineup”, which would have come as a relief to most in there. We grabbed a drink and settled in to see Simon Caldwell step up to the plate. A true crate digger, his set evoked memories of past parties drawng on deep house, electro and the found sounds he’s well known for. The parquet dancefloor filled up and feet started seriously shuffling. Things were  pumping!

Brennan stepped up later than we expected – at about 2am – and started with a Detroit-tinged number that cut sharply into Simon’s stormer. He took it down a notch, playing Stereolab and rare cuts not usually seen at a Racket, toning things down. It wasn’t so much what we were after, nor much of the floor, so we made a beeline to the seedy Locker Room for a peek into its heart.

And what a sight we saw… this tiny room, no more than 10 metres square, was packed to the hilt with people dancing wildly to Jamie Lloyd. Sweat condensed on the overhead rafters, while the speakers pumped out Jacoozi’s ‘Fish’, before swinging into Swag and exploring techier territory. The atmosphere was electric and the most lively this reporter had seen in there in some time. It was so good, in fact, we ended the night there.

Brennan was taking the main floor into minimal territory by this stage, so much of it was empty but the sidelines were pumping. I joined some friends in the pokie room to catch them winning the jackpot. A glass of bubbly later though and we were back on the dancefloor as local Zootie lay down a busting set of beats, waking many from their slumps and provoking cheeky looks on the floor.

One thing you can always count on at Mad Racket are the star quality of its residents. Tonight was no exception. Indeed, they outshone the travelling Canadian for much of the night, a fact punters displayed by voting with their feet.

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