DJ T & Rex The Dog @ Empire Hotel (21/04/2006)

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Having taken a break from the clubbing scene over the past months to focus on other commitments, the double header of DJ T and Rex The Dog at the Empire was the perfect combination to lure me back. Initial plans to turn up early didn’t exactly follow through, as occurs all too often, so I didn’t make it to the door until 11pm. A queue was only just starting to form so I quickly made my way up to the Middle Bar.

As is normally the case at Empire this early on, the dance floor was empty and the crowd was only just starting to grow. Most people were enjoying the fresh air on the balcony and the atmosphere was nice and relaxed as it always is. As groups of friends started to arrive the balcony got a little more crowded so I thought the locals warming up deserved some of my attention for the night.

Jesse vs Mr Morley were doing all good things as I headed inside and had a bit of a boogie. It seems others agreed with me as the dance floor was finally starting to see some bodies on it and was no longer looking quite so bare. The setup of the extra equipment for Rex The Dog was also finishing beside the DJ booth and the visuals already had my attention. I was happy to see something being done to make this not just another night at the Empire, but something special.

After much meeting and greeting as more people rocked up, and a few visits up to the deserted Moonbar, it was time to make a stake on the dance floor before DJ T got started. Jesse & Mr Morley had definitely jumped it up a notch since I first arrived and their second last track, the Switch remix of ‘Front 2 Back’ by Playgroup, was taken as a definite sign that things could only get better from here on in.

DJ T soon took to the decks and the vibe on the dance floor had definitely lifted and was buzzing with anticipation. Not being extremely knowledgeable on DJ T I was unsure as to what to expect and it seemed that a fair number of the crowd were in the same boat. He pulled the tempo back a bit from Jesse and Morley and started off with some nice minimal sounds that sounded perfect through the Empire sound system. Having no preconceived ideas of a DJ T set, as I only knew his production work, it was a little like being on a mystery train holiday. I knew the destination was electro goodness but was unsure as to how we were going to get there or how long it would take. The ride there was nonetheless enjoyable and chugged along the minimal route for a good while. The second half of his set saw the tempo lift and the sounds become a little more intricate.

I’m sure I heard a M.A.N.D.Y remix around the half way point but couldn’t pick what it was unfortunately. This was shortly followed by Serge Santiago’s ‘Atto D’amore’ which sent the crowd wild and definitely marked the point where things started to get a little tougher. While some may have called it clichéd, ‘Windowlicker’ was also dropped a little later on and again the crowd went wild. By this point everyone who hadn’t heard of DJ T was now listing him among their all time favourites and those who attended can understand why.

Rex the Dog then took up his position under the LCD much to the delight of the already hyped up crowd. This was the point I had been waiting for and he did not disappoint, dropping straight into some nice thumping tracks. As expected, he dropped his remixes of crowd favourites: The Knife – ‘Heartbeats’, Prodigy – ‘Girls’, Client – ‘Radio’ and many others along with plenty of other tracks I hadn’t heard before, but were just as good if not better. When the first bars of JX’s ‘Son of a Gun’ first faded in, the crowd lost it and embraced this perfect piece of mid 90s brilliance even if it did leave a cheesy aftertaste in some mouths. All too soon though it had reached the end of the night. Rex finished up with another crowd favourite, but unfortunately the name escapes me now.

Thanks must go to Empire for booking this double header, which many of us did not expect to hear play in Brisbane. The bar, door and security staff were courteous as always and many of the punters there Friday night would do well to follow their lead and show a little more respect to others on the dance floor. Ignoring some of the overly grabby clientele the night was definitely one to remember and one of the best times I’ve had at the Empire. Kudos also to Pi_rate for his visuals and bringing something new to the Middle Bar. It was great to watch something with structure, style, live action video and animation rather than the standard colour patterns that constitute ‘visuals’ at most other events.

Based on their recent and upcoming bookings, the Empire seems to be on to a good thing at the moment and it can only get better from here. Again, thanks must go to all those who played a part in making this night such a memorable one.

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