The Club Club feat. Paolo Mojo @ Chinese Laundry, Sydney (03/05/08)
Thu 8th May, 2008 Event Reviews 2402 viewsin
I’m sorry, but Tiest-who? DJ what? Some trance guy from Holland? The “world’s best DJ”? Sorry, I have no idea who you’re talking about. Paolo Mojo on the other hand – now we’re talking! The UK DJ, who seems to be visiting us as regularly as I have to pay my car registration (not that that’s a bad thing), and made a welcome return to Sydney in May, playing in everybody’s favourite sandstone room The Cave last Saturday.
Mark Dynamix got things bumping early on with a typically eclectic, engaging selection of both up-front and classic tunes. One thing that becomes clearer every time Mark plays is that he still loves DJing. Despite being in the game longer than my age has been in the double digits, Dynamix still mixes like a gun, still works hard to find the tunes hardly anyone else is playing and still constructs a set better than a lot of internationals can. Indeed, like a fine wine, Mark seems only to get better with age (and feels at home in small dark rooms below ground level). His warm-up on Saturday then was unsurprisingly top-notch: dark, brooding grooves such as a new release on Boxer Recordings as well his Mark’s new production, a collaboration with Namito, penetrated the souls of every gyrating body in the room, while floatier, progressive-edged cuts kept the lovers of light and fluffy happy.
As the clock struck one, Paolo Mojo stepped up to a round of applause and a sudden rush of fan boys (and girls) to the front of the room. What followed was three hours of indescribable music. It’d take a nearly dissertation-length review to cover Paolo’s set in depth, as every little twist and turn would require its own unique interpretation and placement within a wider context of Mojo being a freaking legend. So what follows instead is a first-hand account of my thought processes during parts of the set, interpreted by your’s truly so as to create a coherent summary of Paolo’s performance.
“This guy’s got the funk. I gotta ask him for some track IDs, this shit is fresh.” The first thirty minutes or so was groovy, deep, funky and characteristically Mojo. An edit of Luciano’s Search was an early highlight, its deep bassline shaking the walls and the vocal resonating with every chinstroking nerd in the room (me included). “Wait…it’s already 2:30? Fuck. Talk about hypnotic grooves”. On Saturday Mojo really demonstrated his ability to construct a coherent DJ set which although covered a lot of ground musically, flowed brilliantly. And what’s more, he subverted the traditional linear progression of a DJ set, instead making his performance feel more like riding a tame rollercoaster (that’s a good thing in case you’re wondering), with gradual builds and drops in intensity in the music taking the crowd on a thoroughly enjoyable journey.
“God damn this shit is dark. This is a side to Mojo I’ve never seen, I’ve only ever witnessed Paolo’s Housey McHouser persona.” Mojo played a fair chunk of surprisingly dark, slamming, percussive techno. It was definitely surprising given each time I’ve seen him play he’s tended to err more on the housier side of progressive, but it was also definitely awesome. “Oh man. What a fucking legend.” This statement was repeated several times actually (and usually out loud to whoever would listen), particularly when he played Ego Express’ monstrous Knartz IV, as well as his own re-edits of Jackson’s remix of Run Into Flowers by M83 and the massively underrated James Holden remix of Andre Kraml’s Safari.
“All this room needs now is a big laser to reach for.” Oh yeah, there was some epic stuff in there too. At times it felt like Eric Prydz had taken over the decks, only it was obvious it wasn’t him because the mixing was better and it wasn’t three hours straight of Pryda tracks. “I need to get me one of those samplers.” Mojo’s looping and sampling of classic house vocals was as cheeky as it was inspiring, and his long, smooth mixes were definitely aided by his magic silver box of looping goodness. “Man, I gotta raid this guy’s CD wallet.” Yes, the tunes were really that upfront that even a self-professed chinstroker couldn’t more than about five of them.
“God that was awesome.” Okay, a clichéd thought, but it really did run through my mind, and it really was awesome. So there you have it, a three hour set summed up in a few simple statements. And here’s another simple statement, just for the road: if you didn’t come to this, don’t be daft enough to miss out next time Paolo comes to town.