Pendulum @ The Arena (07/04/06)

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With a great line-up of support acts including locals Shredlock, Vinyl Slingers and My Ninja Lover and a top Headliner in Pendulum, followed by a battle between Rudebwoyz vs. Bottom Heavy, Brisbane’s Ten Pound Crew played host to a sell-out crowd keen to get a heavy dose of Drum n Bass on a Friday night at the Arena.

When I arrived around 10pm there was someone out the front so keen to get in he was offering $100 for a ticket.  Like many, not tempted by the cash, I walked past security and headed straight for the bar for my Vodka and Red Bull. At this point despite being early in the night, the bass line was pumping so hard that others at the bar were in fact buying earplugs.

I love the Vinyl Slingers, this was the third time I had caught them play.  With a full drum kit and bongos, didgeridoo and two DJs, these guys were as groovy as I had remembered.   The lighting display supplied by Showtime, along with the artistic visuals that covered two big on-stage screens by various freelancers really added a great vibe to their set and the overall event.  Funky tribal sounds soon followed by My Ninja Lover. These were complemented well with their vocalist Manta Ray’s amazing voice and her tasteful ability to hold a note, truly a pleasure to listen to.  At the end of their set they thanked the crowd for the opportunity to play in their home town with Pendulum.  By this time the crowd were fully psyched and eager for the headliners to start.

Just before Pendulum came on, I headed up to my favourite spot overlooking the stage; the ‘Statler and Waldorf  balcony’ as I like to call it, where it was cool and I had plenty of room to dance – just as well as I didn’t stop dancing all night.  From here I looked out over a now fully packed crowd full of big smiling faces as old friends greeted each other with hugs and enthusiasm.  I could tell it was going to be a good night.  It’s been a long time since I saw the Arena so packed and needless to say, the first time in such a way for a Drum n Bass headliner.  The no-smoking rule in the Arena meant that the outside part of the chill-out room was converted into the smoking room and left the main room nicely smoke-free for a change.

Then it was time for Pendulum.  Only one of the guys was able to appear, but still managed to get the crowd cranked right up to the maximum, playing a great mix of tracks from their new album Hold Your Colour along with some amazing remixes of tracks from almost every genre.  This included a Drum n Bass remix of one of my favourite trance tracks ‘Loneliness’ by Tomcraft which had me singing along enthusiastically.  I was surprised to hear their rendition of ’Gold Digger’ by Kanye West. It was however Pendulum’s token track ‘Fasten your Seatbelts’ that made the crowd literally go insane, add to that, the fact we got treated to the track, not once, but twice and it resulted in a room full of very happy Pendulum fans.  

I looked out over a sea of jumping, swaying fans going absolutely insane.  The beats were gradually increased until the track that everyone had been waiting for; ‘Tarantula’ finally graced the speakers of the giant sound system.  At this point the music stopped and the solo DJ remarked on the atmosphere in the venue stopping the decks so the crowd could sing along to the words of the track.  The decks soon began to rotate again, before going into the title track of the new album and by this time the crowd were a seething, sweating mess and grateful for the water that the stage crew threw over them to cool them down for a crazy mix of Prodigy vs. Rage Against the Machine and the crowd chanted enthusiastically ‘F&^%k you I won’t do what you tell me!’ against the ‘Voodoo People’ beat.

Things were slowed down just enough for a breather with a remix of Jakarta’s ‘American Dream’ and then it was off again with a heavy mish mash of remixes I was having trouble picking before the mellow ‘Still Grey’ provided a real hands-up-in-the-air opportunity.  The lights dimmed over the room and the decks were lit up with all the colours of the rainbow for the remainder of the set.

When it was all over it was time to retire to the chill room and the bar for a long-awaited drink and a breather before heading back in to catch an awesome set by Rudebwoyz vs. Bottom heavy.  This gave those with a bit more endurance than I had left in me, the chance to literally dance the rest of the night away.  Everyone I spoke to outside afterwards said they had a great night, including a few who had never been to a gig like it, but had just heard the latest CD at a ‘mate’s place’ and came along to check it out.  The general concensus was that the Brisbane DnB scene had really taken off and that it was good to see so many people turning up to get a taste.  Hats off to the Ten Pound Crew for an excellent night, I for one, haven’t danced that much for ages!

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