Parklife @ Kippax Lake, Sydney (01/10/06)
Fri 6th Oct, 2006 Event Reviews 2910 viewsin
I wasn’t planning on going to Parklife, but as the days ticked closer and my friends grew more and more excited I got hit with that strange, compelling urge that always assaults me in the final weeks before an event. When I got the opportunity to write this review I could no longer resist and it’s now up to me to defrag my brain and sort through a collection of photos and cryptic text messages to figure out why I went, what exactly happened, and try to explain to you what essentially it was all about.
My first tour of the venue landed me in the welcoming shade of the north tent (or Earth Stage), where a spooky looking Tommie Sunshine was peering out at a modest crew of daytime ravers from behind a mask of hair and dark sunnies. A nice pounding techy start to the day was just what I needed and it was good to have some cool air and room to move before the inevitable crush set in. After giving all those toffy house DJs a good tech style schooling in the use of the loop controls Tommie built to an insane button mashing climax before letting the ever present, ever cheerful John Wall get up on the mic to thank the man who “brought us the good weather”; badum ching!
Meanwhile Jay J and Latrice had taken to the stage. I liked it at first, the elderly looking Jay was spreading smooth soulful grooves over the crowd while Latrice clad in an elegant flowing gown crooned through such classics as ‘Give A Little’ and ‘Love Is’. After about 40 minutes though it still felt like I was listening to the same song and so off I went in pursuit of sunscreen, Smirnoffs and ‘rug at main stg 2 right at top of hil river’, or one of the other cryptic locations that were beginning to flood my phone.
The crowds were definitely thickening by this stage, making navigation a hazard and I suspect that it was the busiest Parklife on record. The sun was burning hot and I was starting to worry about my skin until a man assaulted me with a 2 litre pump action sunscreen dispenser and I’m still not sure whether he was:
a)part of the medical team
b)working for Banana Boat
So I continued on my way, wandering past the Air Stage, when my ears pricked up to the familiar lines: “As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I take a look at my life and realise there’s nothing left”. I started singing along with everyone else and then to my delight; POW! It turned into killer breakbeat. I looked at my watch – 3pm – could Kid Kenobi be trying something this bold? No, it was still James Taylor, and the boy was doing a fine job rounding off one of the best breaks sets of the day. Seeing as I was already there I figured I’d stick around for the Kid and Shureshock. They got off to a decent start and were actually playing breaks… but not for long, soon enough it was electro time in Kenobi land and so I was off again in search of ‘watr stage back left nr pole’.
I made it back in time for the Stanton Warriors, and Dom B did a damn fine job, although I admit I might be a bit biased. Ever since seeing Rennie Pilgrim at my first Field Day 3 years ago I’ve kind of had a soft spot for the ol’ FFSBS (Fuzzy Festival Sunset Breaks Set) and sure enough the sound of Eska’s hauntingly beautiful lyrics on ‘Still Here’ meshed perfectly with the frail golden rays of a dying springtime sun to make for one of my ‘moments’ of the day. Unfortunately Dom seems to have copped the electro bug too and I could feel the murderous rage rising inside me as I was asked for the tenth time that day to “put my hands up for Detroit”.
Cut Chemist was terrific and although his mixes were a bit out, to be fair, he was attempting some pretty complex stuff and the set was littered with magic moments, J5 remixes and a very cool “It Began In Africa” sample/scratch/juggle. The sun died and the wind rose during his set, and I watched in amusement as the legions of mini-skirted babes and bare-chested hunks started to look a little shivery. Cold Cut next, and they were easily the pick of the day. They played live, they played well and the integration of audio and visual was second to none (although DJ Shadow does come to mind). This is the kind of act I come to these events for, brimming with variety, precision and creativity. With a range of tempos and styles this was definitely one for the music lovers.
I rounded off my Air Stage extravaganza with the Mixmaster and it was everything you’d expect with MJ, System of a Down, Steve Irwin and Public Enemy all diced, sliced and mashed together into a tasty musical omelette. I missed a much praised Tim Deluxe but I did make it back to the Earth stage in time to hear a deafening ‘Oh my god I know this song!’ roar fill the tent as I witnessed the bassline kick in to ‘No More Conversation’ in all it’s original live glory. It sounded better than the other 10 ten times I’d heard it during the day, and they followed up with another Freeform classic ‘Muscle Cars’. I finished off the night with Krafty Kuts, but it was getting cold and the noise restrictions had finally kicked in. He still played a few good tracks, a ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ remix being the one that immediately springs to mind, but on the whole what I saw was a little boring.
So the day was over/ I met, lost and formed a dozen different groups, the weather was kind, but not spectacular, and the music ended up a bit of a mixed bag. I started to wonder, everybody was going to be feeling the pain come Tuesday and the complaints are bound to start rolling in; “the lines were too long”, “Krafty Kuts played too much electro”, “too many bogans this year”, but it’s the same tired story year in, year out. The facts remain; they paid, they came, they danced and they’ll do it all again next time. I realise it’s not really all about the music, the drink/drugs, the set up, or even the weather. What makes these events worthwhile is that it’s an excuse to get together with 20,000 other likeminded members of generation X,Y, Z. It’s a chance to see old mates, make new ones, and basically tell the rest of the world to fuck off for a day. When we step through those gates we can forget about life’s little problems for 8 blissful hours and remind ourselves that we’re all in this together. That, my brothers and sisters, is what it’s all about…