The Club Club NYE @ The Chinese Laundry, Sydney (31/12/07)
Fri 4th Jan, 2008 Event Reviews 7780 viewsin
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… BREAKS!
For many years I’ve avoided having a huge NYE to save my energies for the traditional NYD heels-up of Field Day. It was time for a change this year and we decided to throw our hat in the ring and celebrate the end of 2007 with millions of other well lubricated Sydneysiders. And what a bloody grand decision that turned out to be. Who needs fireworks when you have the tantalising prospect of over 7 hours of quality music, dancing under a starlit sky, and a performance from one of the breaks scene’s favourite duos.
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the Laundry as a venue due to it often feeling incredibly overcrowded. Too many nights of impersonating a sardine had taken its toll on my patience and I did not think I would ever be back. However, great reports from last year’s NYE event, combined with a solid and diverse line-up were enough to tempt me back to Sydney’s favourite dungeon to see in 2008 with a bunch of like-minded music aficionados.
On arrival, a nice crowd had already built up in the Garden, with a fairly pop mash-up of music being dished out by Steve Lind . The sounds of George Harrison were mixed with Michael Jackson and the Gorrilaz, all obviously designed to get the crowd moving. It wasn’t really until he dropped the Chicken Lips classic, He Not In, that people started to jump – probably because many of them had come for breaks! With most of the Slip Inn being used for the event, there were acres of space and it was easy and painless to find a drink, a seat, or some banging tunes. There were a couple of massive screens set up in the garden with some cool visuals on rotation for the night. For a reason I could never quite pinpoint, all the door and bar staff were dressed up as commandos, replete with camouflage and face paint. Slightly incongruous but cool nonetheless.
The main challenge on the night was finding time to catch all the headline DJs. Due to some very intentional set time clashes, there was no way we were ever going to be able to take it all in. A quick peek downstairs saw Matt Nugent laying down some solid tech beats to an up-for-it laundry crew. I briefly stuck my head into the Cave to see Matttt sticking to a fairly minimal sound to a rather minimal crowd. Perhaps the Cave was truly attempting to exemplify the minimal genre, by having minimal people enjoy the minimal tunes. I can imagine that come midnight, whoever was in there probably started their New Years’ countdown at the number 10, got bored by the time they reached 8, didn’t bother saying happy new year and got back to the pursuit of the purist minimal experience.
The Garden was the place to be; Jeff Drake received the entirely appropriate honour of bringing in 2008 behind the decks and what a fine job he did. While certainly not known for playing breaks, the Drake varied his style throughout, dropping the odd broken beat into a mainly 4/4 set. There were teases of big tunes, like a whiff of Daft Punk’s Technologic, and a dash of Booka Shade before he varied things up by playing the current biggie from The Presets, People. However, his timing was off as he clearly missed the midnight countdown by a full 5 minutes. By this stage, no one really cared as the party was in full swing and the Stanton’s were only minutes away.
The Stanton Warriors stepped up to the plate on cue at 12.30am and the night really kicked off. For 2 hours, they weaved their way through as many sub-genres of breaks you’d care to name, slamming out some tough ballsy tunes and dropping in a little of the old school funk. While I never got a good look, it was clear that the Stanton’s live set-up was adding a huge amount of excitement to their mix. With a couple of midi-controllers on stage hooked up to their laptop, there was plenty going on other than straight mixing. Some Stanton classics, like Pop Ya Virus made an appearance along with a suite of new tunes. By 1.30am, the beats were nothing short of filthy. For me, this was breaks at its finest.
The Warrior boys clearly did not want to stop spinning. Playing well beyond their scheduled 1.5 hours, they finally wrapped things up just after 2.30 am with a screaming drum & bass remix of another one of their tunes, Still Here. All in all, a classic party breaks set that was perfect for the festive mood of the night.
With the Garden now closed as a stage, it was time to finally head underground to the laundry, where we discovered Malente tearing up the dancefloor with his signature electro sound. There was a great mix of the tougher end of the electro spectrum with an undeniable sense of fun to his set. His antics behind the decks were infectious. Having not quite had our fill of breaks, it was a quick upstairs to the sandbar to catch Aquasky throwing down a tougher breaks set to the delight of a decidedly smaller posse.
The Aston Shuffle boys slid behind the controls after Malente and picked up exactly where he left off, throwing down some grinding electro-tech nastiness. Some crazy pop riffs, like the synth line from Thriller, and even the melodic hook from Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, were thrown amongst a swirling, thrilling mess of bouncy, funk-fuelled beats. Splittr’s All Alone made an appearance and got the full singalong treatment. With great energy they hyped up the dedicated laundry crowd and made me a virtual prisoner on the dancefloor.
We left, utterly exhausted, yet completely satisfied, sometime after 5 for the slow trip home. All in all, the Laundry put on a cracker of a NYE celebration – great tunes; clear, crisp sound in all the rooms; hassle free surroundings and plenty of room to boogie. Combined with a friendly crowd, it was the perfect way to herald in the New Year. Let’s home it is a sign of all the good things to come in 2008.