Secret Sessions 3 @ Hinterlands, Gold Coast (14/10/06)
Thu 19th Oct, 2006 Event Reviewsin
You know what it’s like when someone has a secret, they really want to tell you, however because of possible consequences, have to refrain until the time is right, but trickle out small bits of information to keep your interest!? Well that’s exactly how it was leading up to the third instalment of the Session whose location had to be kept a Secret until a couple of days before its eventuality. But for those who frequently follow the doof-tripping trail know that waiting for location release is part of the anticipation. Then vehicle packed, equipped with directions wonder if they’re true to the actuality of the site, but then half the fun involved with the doof experience, is the actually journey itself – not to mention the return trip, which is another tale altogether.
On this occasion the directions were absolutely spot on, and upon arrival to the private property that was very graciously made available for this music and cultural event, one was immediately welcomed with that comfortable feeling of being in a holistically-spiritual place. From the car-park the plank across the flowing creek provided the passage of cleansing from the outside world into that of natures stage. Before entering into the main area of the grounds, The Outdoor Café proudly equipped and staffed by the property owner, provided nourishment in the form of freshly prepared tasty delights, satisfying all who required a feed for dinner and/or breakfast. Also available were plenty of refreshments in a variety of hot and cold, as well as the not so nourishing snack type foods enjoyed on such occasions.
Entering into the open ground, the first clearing would double up as the ‘Outdoor Cinema’ and ‘Game Zone’. A make-shift outdoor lounge area complete with ground blankets and cushions with a few speakers at ground level was flanked with a massive screen upon which a variety of movies – timeslots nominated by ‘movie-goers’ – were projected during the hours of darkness. Also within this space, those with an artistic flair could partake in one of two of Wanny Fairy’s craft workshop, amongst other interesting activities.
Moving into the 5K stage zone, campers were beginning to set up their overnight posse, pitching tents on the outskirts before the light of day made way for the wonderful spectacle of the night sky that would follow. At this time, Bear was providing the ambience as I inspected the grounds to see just how his Essential crew had transformed this usual mildly-scrubby sparse area of land. Up the hill gradient to the right of the 5K dance floor space was an almost fully enclosed lounge-room complete with reclining couches, a rocking chair and cushioned floor area, with just enough light to create a most suitable illumination given its purpose. Just down a little before the gateway into the ‘main’ arena, were by far the best outdoor toilets ever experienced at such an event (not excepting bathroom caravans). Five separate outback-style dunny cubicles with dugouts deep into the ground atop toilet chairs were completely enclosed with Hessian walls supported by bamboo struts. Signed for use by females and number two’s only, this area was well stocked with luxury 2-ply toilet paper, and believe it or not, was made complete with the ‘kitchen sink’. That’s right, hand-washing water was provided, even Mother Earth provided nature’s cleansing antiseptic in the form of Camphor leaves; rubbing these between moistened hands leaves a wonderful scent, and a feeling of being somewhat hygienic under the circumstances.
From this section into the next gated land area of the 10K stage, was like entering into nature’s amphitheatre, as Sammy Gee finished his melodic set with King of the Gill stepping up. A large open clearing completely surrounded by masses of tall trees, the grade of the land away from where the DJ tent was positioned, gave it the feel of being in an auditorium. In case of rain and to minimise the harshness of the morning sun, parachute-cloth was constructed in such away suspended along rope tied high around the trees, spanning across the entire dance floor area in front of the DJ console, ready to be opened out into position when needed. Decorations including the diminutive ‘Bones’ the wire Dinosaur, and the massive Psychedelic Snail added to the spectacle of the evening when the only light was that of the Stars sparkling high above, along with the visuals projected onto the screen to the right of the thumping speakers.
Around 5 o’clock, it was time to officially open the proceedings, commencing with the blessing of the land and welcome Native Dance by Nyngar Dreaming. This was a great cultural touch to the event, highlighting the importance of respecting all of nature’s gifts in human, animal, and plant form; it reminded us of the important things in life we so easily forget to appreciate. With the five or so dozen who were there at this time, part of the blessing involved us stomping free-style to whatever beat took our fancy; a real nice opener for the hours of dirt-plodding that would follow.
Being the very proud owner of ‘2 Months on It’, the Bootrok vinyl produced by our very own Bitrok, these were the local talent I was most keen for my first time, to hear (and see) play live. The duo comprising of two very gifted lads, Ollie and Ryan aka The Score, are included in the handful of talent who have put Brisbane on the world map for producing niche dance music. Very friendly, though humble, these guys probably won’t be forthcoming in publicising that their own productions are finding their way into the record crates or CD wallets of some of the World’s biggest DJs. So how’s that for a claim to fame! I really loved the energy these guys delivered in their live set – the only one on this occasion; it certainly opened my ears to another realm (genre) of dance music I wouldn’t normally pursue. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the release of their next big production ‘Groovin’.
Come dusk when Bitrok finished, I found myself back and forth between the two stages catching bits of both Cortex and Hysterix’ sets, as I was more interested in socialising and seeking out friends and taking it all in, rather than confining myself to the one spot. For a short time thought sitting in the open space of the 10K stage while Hysterix played, laying back and looking up into the night sky, my attention was taken from the music for quite a while. Noticing how clear the atmosphere was up there, I commented to my friend with whom I was that it would be a perfect night to a see a shooting star. Well just as I said that, low and behold not a star, but certainly something had our attention. It wasn’t a plane, and it was going way too slow to be a comet or meteor, yet neither of us had seen anything like this before, then we saw another both travelling in what seemed to be the same slip-stream. Now sights like this aren’t uncommon at events such as this, but I don’t think a couple of Vodka UDLs were responsible for what we both were certain we were witnessing. For those reading who have got this far, and have experienced such a sight, would not be surprised in that we soon learnt those things moving high up in the sky, were actually satellites. Nevertheless, still not a something witnessed on a daily basis in amongst the city lights of the Gold Coast suburbs.
Wanting to survive through until the next day and not be tired to enjoy the well-known Psy DJ’s playing the morn into the day; it was time to have a bit of a sleepy-bye nap time. Curled up directly behind the main DJ tent, at about 9:30pm the tunes took on a whole new life and before I knew it was out in front going hard on the dance floor to none other than, Operon! Of all the places you’d expect to find this DJ extraordinaire, normally associated with everything D’n’B of the Rudebwoyz stable, this was certainly not one of them, and with me on the dance floor in ront of him, not usually a chance. But I got to tell you, *Operon was responsible for upping the anti for all the DJ’s who were to follow, especially in the second half of his set; this is where the fun started. By all accounts Operon was looking forward to playing at this event, given the opportunity to play Techno; he was really to stray from his usual style of tune selection and ‘slap it out’. Well he certainly delivered on his promise, giving us a good solid hour or so of tough, driving Techno delights that I couldn’t stop rocking to. A talent in many aspects of electronic dance music and production, Operon showcased his DJ diversity, with the talking point of his set being Dynamo City’s – One Night in Hackney. A genre almost lost to the current dance music ‘scene’ of the moment, for those thinking of throwing future events with a touch of Techno, think Operon!
I must make mention of someone who wasn’t billed to spin, but when half an hour’s playing time was needed to be filled, a relatively unknown kindly volunteered and was plucked from the crowd of punters. Murray Antil while only able to play half-dozen tunes or so, was very careful in his track selection, and his mixing was excellent, so much so that while Bear didn’t know his name, I sought out to find out who this guy was. No doubt an up-and-coming DJ talent to keep an eye out for! Well the time had arrived for the characters that put this event together, to don their Blaylock & the Bear persona, and have their fun behind the decks. Having watched the birth and journey of Bear and Chris since their first sessions of learning the aspects of disc-jockeying, and their love of Psychedelic music, watching and hearing these two together, if you haven’t already, you must experience. Early into their set on this occasion, a descriptor popped into my head ‘Grunge’, that’s it Grunge Psy. The best way of describing Blaylock & the Bear’s very unique style with their sinister choice of dark and nasty trippy psy tunes, overlayed with lashings of rather peculiar though interesting samples. At the midnight timeslot out in the open, their mind-broadening bizarrity really works.
Over at the 5K stage Tranceducer followed by J Frantik – solo on this occasion, took their turns in delivering what they do best. Tranceducer providing the always pleasurable beautiful melodic and uplifting trance followed by Frantik giving the dance to us hard and fast with his extremely tight mixing ability. By about 2am over in the 10K stage, Zito had the beats cranking at around 160BPM, delivering some good tough ‘night time’ Psy trance, which Volt continued on until about 3:30am. Unfortunately, due to a disgruntled neighbourly resident not appreciating the valley-song involved the persons in blue to act on us having to silence the sound. Not willing to risk the consequences, volume was kept way so low without the amplified bass, until the din of night had well and truly passed, until the mid-morning when it was deemed safe to crank the system again. About half of the crowd, mostly those that were camping out for the whole weekend, took advantage of having their sleep time-out during this spell of no tunes. As per the line-up, the gig continued, confined only to the 10K stage, with CY Vs Tranceducer waking up the valley really giving full-on energetic trance of the Psychedelic kind. Mesq continued on from these two back-to-backers, drawing the last bit of energy from the stayers to close what would be a very successful Secret Sessions III.
What originally started out as a gathering of a few dozen music-loving party-goer friends that included a handful or so of respected established and up-and-coming DJ talent, with the first Secret Sessions, has now morphed into the actuality of a dream realisation for Bear! Now that the secret is well and truly out there, expect Secret Sessions to now be an annual event, at this very same time of year, at that very same location, and if you can believe bigger and much better!