inthemix with... Paul van Dyk @ Metro Palace, Melbourne (13/10/07)
Tue 16th Oct, 2007 Event Reviewsin
It goes without saying that Paul van Dyk has been one of the premiere acts in the global clubbing industry over the past decade and a half. His name is not necessarily mentioned in the presence of Tiesto and Armin van Buuren – it’s more that they’re mentioned next to him. This was reflected in the anticipation of the sellout crowd that lined up early on a chilly spring evening on the weekend.
This was heightened by the fact that PVD had released his new album In Between only a fortnight, ago to mixed reviews. Personally I thought it had more of a commercial flavor, with lots of lyrics and some great tracks, but the real test for Melbourne’s clubbers was going to be how it performed on the dance floor.
From the outset, this crowd was nothing like the recent Parklife or even the Gods Kitchen attendees. It was a seasoned group of people who know what they like; PVD, trance, epic sets and quality music. For me, it’s the best of the Melbourne clubbing fraternity. Good spirits, good looking, lots of smiles and more than a trace of PLUR.
Steve Strangis was still on when we rocked in just past midnight… There was some confusion as to why Agent 86 was absent. Whilst we cloaked, dunnied, purchased drinks and a few lined up to go outside for a cigarette (yes… you’d never imagine…) he pumped it out pretty hard and fairly dry. We wandered onto the main floor just before 1am and the music was OK. Around us were groups of seasoned clubbers, out of retirement for a Marque performer at a classic venue, sharing excitement levels akin the younguns bouncing around.
In the first surprise for the eve, the set mellowed, became more melodic and few anthems appeared, and before you knew it Steve, now into his third hour, had the crowd working as one. The track selection and flawless mixing was a great example of an excellent dance music set; melodic, high enough energy without going nuts and really warming us up. In its own right, this was well worthy. Strangis continues to cement himself as a premiere Australian DJ: stay tuned.
Predictably the floor became pretty crowded just before PVD came on. We were front and centre, lasers washing over us, very loud and pretty good quality sound made for the experience and built the excitement as PVD smoothly slotted in – no announcement, no fanfare, no acknowledgement but in with some airy sounds, cheers and crescendo rising.
It felt awesome and we knew we were in for something special. When the house lights lit briefly, it was amazing to look back at the punters lining the levels, looking down, focusing their intent and energy down onto the floor.
Then PVD surprised…. rather than dropping back the tempo and resetting the crowd for a long journey, it was a continuation of the energy and tempo from Strangis. The first 40 minutes of the set were hard, intense and absolutely no let up. PVD had taken it up a notch. Peaked too early?
By now, the floor was chockas and we decided to have a look around and soak it up – we’d been dancing for over an hour already. On the upper levels, the Metro looked amazing as always. The lasers and lighting were absolutely second to none. As far as picture perfect clubbing goes, the event organizers just nailed it – looked amazing. The floor was alive, writhing with a mass of hot bodies.
I was seriously expecting a more commercial set, more melodic, more lyrics, more floaty. But with skillful mixing and track selection, PVD just kept rolling out back to back, high energy dance mixes of some quality trance. At some stages, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was harder trance than anything.
We wandered around, had a look from up high and the crowd were going mad, just mad. We only had a short break as the music was still pumping, unrelenting, as we found some space further back and settled in for a solid boogie. It wasn’t until half way through the set – long for anyone’s standards, that the first respite was delivered out of the blue, with a non dance mix of Oasis Wonderwall getting the crowd singing along, hugging, and loving being out. Surely the set was about to take a turn.
But within 2 tracks, it was on again – back to high energy. It was great to dance to, wonderfully mixed and a great example of how a DJ can keep a crowd interested. However, I couldn’t help but feel it limited the range of tunes on offer. There were few vocal tracks; distinctly different from his recent album, from which minimal new material seemed to make the set list for the night.
By about 4:30, we were absolutely knackered. I’d danced too much to Strangis, and over 2.5 hours of PVD on the floor and I was really feeling the pinch. Wandering around we caught our crew – all feeling the same. Elated, knackered, picking out their fave tracks ready for one last boogie to see PVD bring it home. So whilst not the music selection I expected, it was awesome to dance to. The set was in marked contrast to the more popular electro sounds we hear so much of these days. Quality trance. That’s what we come to see artists like PVD for.
And for those who want a bit more, PVD is playing sunrise set at Underworld at Kryal Castle on December 8th. With support acts like John ‘00’ Fleming, Hallucinogen and Sphongle, it promises to be lineup of the year and destined to sell out sooner rather than later – get your tickets now.
Because if PVD’s set is anything to go by, he will rock the Castle in the same way he rocked Melbourne’s Metro in what will be a night to remember.