Chinese Laundry 11th Birthday feat. Anthony Pappa @ Chinese Laundry, Sydney (21/06/08)
Wed 25th Jun, 2008 Event Reviewsin
What is just like New Year’s Eve at Chinese Laundry, but isn’t New Year’s Eve at Chinese Laundry? But is actually even better than New Year’s Eve at Chinese Laundry? The 11th Birthday Party for Chinese Laundry! Great music, massive fun crowd, less vomit and better yet, I remember it all a whole lot better too. This was absolutely one of those nights that will be remembered for a very long time, and was a jolting show of props to the fact that our fave little ‘Best Club Ever’ has been serving happy Sydney clubbers for longer than most of us can remember. A timespan I officially dub ‘Epic Eons’ in the fickle world of dance music. Laundry has recently got into the Top100 list of best clubs in the known universe according to DJ Mag, and it’s well deserved too. Think of all the freaking unreal talent that has graced the decks here, from way back when the wheels were still made of steel! Stop, my mind can’t hold it all in!
The night started early. Very early and very chilled with a warmup BBQ and some free bevvies for industry crew and ticket winners in the Courtyard and the Sand Bar. The dude over on the decks seemed almost incidental, playing some sweet melodic tech house. 20 minutes in he finished his beer and sausage-on-a-bun, wiped his hands, and got serious. It was totally Anthony Pappa, the UK based Melbourne lad, one of our greatest DJ exports. He played just one short sweet hour (relax guys, he’ll be on again later) that floated away in a blissful fadeout, to suddenly massive applause as he handed over to Wax Motif.
The lineup for Laundry’s 11th Birthday was more like a small festival than a club night… a 3-hour ‘warm-up’ across the 3 rooms was what followed with Jeff Drake, Mattt, The Vandals and Matt Rowan all throwing down the tunes as Laundry slowly filled to absolute capacity. A squiz out the door just before midnight showed a corralled line-up that disappeared up the stairs and around the corner. Hope everyone got in eventually, it sure felt like they did. Nice!
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Cave so packed. At the mystical stroke of midnight, Anthony Pappa stepped up to the decks again to launch into several hours of seriously driving tech house, dishing out seamless layers and layers of constantly evolving sound. If he was having some fun earlier, then now he was working it, and working it hard. I don’t think eight whole beats went by at any time in the entire set without some progression going on, some new element being added. The intensity of Pappa’s concentration was reflected in the ninja-organisation of his CD bag…every disc clearly labelled and dated, with accompanying colour-coded track-list for each. Elite. He was intimate with every loop, every sample, every phrase, every sound… And melting them together into one continuous unbelievable stream of sonic goodness.
Of course I might have missed a beat or two, because being a mini-festival such as it was, I had to drag myself away to check out what was happening elsewhere! At 1am Bag Raiders had the Laundry room absolutely heaving with the party madness. So much fun and love in the room… If promoter Paul Azzopardi had pulled his famous surf-board stunt tonight he could have floated around for hours on the densely packed sea of hands in the air! Of course he would have been thrown into orbit when Hook n Sling unleashed The Presets’ party anthem de jour My People, and the whole room went understandably mental. Wipeout! The euphoria wasn’t letting up any time soon and half an hour later, as a singalong started to the Phones Disco Edit of Bloc Party’s Banquet, I was lured back to the Cave overwhelmed with the “what is Pappa up to” paranoia!
And what was he doing? Getting seriously harder and even more driving, that’s what. He says he brought the absolutely finest, newest tracks to Australia with him, and I don’t doubt it for a second. In years to come we’ll probably be able to see track-info scanning across the backs of our eyelids, the metadata delivered by low level qhadrepha-rays directly to our cerebral cortex. Maybe. But for now you will have to rely on my modest uber-trackspotting skills. And I’m sorry to say they are uber-lame. I got absolutely nuthin’! However, it was all very, very good stuff. And Anthony Pappa, can he build it? Yes he can! He was adding more and more, layer upon layer. Showing his drumming background by playing his own breakdowns on a drumpad sample trigger, and adding that whining ‘jet helicopter starting up’ effect, looped in a crazy way that seemed to continue up and up forever without ever actually reaching the ‘top’. Kinda like the MC Eischer of SFX. The onslaught was relentless, and he did not stop to even wipe his brow, until he got the tap on the shoulder some time after 3am.
Club Junque quietly took the reins, fishing CDs out of his hoodie pockets and setting the scene for float-away time with Nathan Fake’s Outhouse, kicking off one last hour of perfection to wrap up a perfect night. While Jono Fernandez was going out hard in the main room, the Cave was treated to a brilliant melodic set, massively appreciated by the crowd, and by Anthony ‘on with the party’ Pappa who was the loudest voice shouting “one more track” when the lights came on at 4!
11 Years on… That’s about 45 in club years… and Chinese Laundry has still got it, and is not stopping for anything! Personally I am planning now for the 21st Party. Have just uploaded the dates to my cerebrally implanted nano-organiser, along with my drink/chemical orders and request for tracklistings. Go Laundry! And roll on 2018.