The Likes of You feat. Hernan Cattaneo & Loco Dice @ The Metro, Sydney (16/05/09)
Wed 20th May, 2009 Event Reviewsin
Future Entertainment’s party series The Likes of You – a minimal, progressive and techno-driven concept – came to Sydney for the first time on Saturday night. Managing to generate massive amounts of hype among the NSW scene in the weeks leading up to it, we’d heard about what the events had delivered in their hometown of Melbourne. Already drawing international acts like Richie Hawtin, Sven Väth and Carl Craig, the lineup for Saturday was just as strong. Legendary Argentinean Hernan Cattaneo had been brought back to our shores after a two-year hiatus, and Germany’s Loco Dice was visiting for the first time ever. Add UK tech/fidget master Jesse Rose, his current fave protégé Oliver $ along with King Roc to the mix, and you have all the ingredients for a wondrous experience.
Arriving at The Metro just after 10.30pm, I witnessed what was less a queue and more of a smattering of loiterers waiting for mates, having a smoke or chatting on the phone. The main entrance was solely for ticket collection, so security directed anyone looking to enter to the side street. Again, no hassles, the tiniest queue I’ve ever seen – stamped up and indoors within minutes. Having said that, I was glad to have made the decision to brave the cold and go jacket-free. Queues for the cloak room were long even at that early part of the evening. The atmosphere was already buzzing – relaxed, but at the same time so ready for the good times ahead. A few chinstrokers stood around the left side of the stage, the tiered stands were filling up nicely and up the back where people queued for drinks at the bar. Like the cloak room, it was a long, near torturous wait. There probably really should have been more than two bar staff taking orders at that point, but by 11.30pm it was a lot easier and faster to acquire drinks.
It’s wouldn’t be right to go any further before mentioning the amazing atmosphere in the room, which was largely due to the work of one Ben Morris. Our local boy did a cracking job, so much so that I wish I’d had the foresight to get my skates on quicker than I did, so I’d seen more of his set. He’d looked as chilled out up there onstage as the melodic tracks that he was dropping, and just as happy as too. I don’t know whether there was any conferring with the headliner who was to follow, but Morris’ tunes were perfectly suited to the beginning of the Argentinean’s set – something Hernan would replicate in his last 30 minutes later on to create such a smooth transition for Loco Dice.
With one minute to spare, Hernan walked onto the stage and waved at a whooping, welcoming crowd, while Morris dropped one last final track – a major personal favourite at the moment, Pan Pot’s Faces (Vincenzo Remix). Such a beautiful tune, I wouldn’t have wanted to hear anything else in that moment. Within minutes, Hernan took his place and the dancefloor began to fill up very quickly. The crowd – as tends to happen whenever Hernan is in town – was immediately responsive, already hanging on his every move, to every sound and every beat. I’ve never before witnessed someone turn the room into putty like that, but it was awesome to experience. When the crowd has so much respect for the person on stage, it’ll always make for a memorable night. For me and for most people I spoke to on the night, Hernan’s set was a favourite, and one of the best sets I’ve ever been lucky enough to witness. The patience he has in order to take a set from chilled-out beginnings to the levels of energetic explosions that he musters before taking it back down again, has to be seen to be believed. For the first hour or so, Hernan kept to a slow and steady pace, keeping to a theme that involved melodic, tribal and samba sounds, at one point early on even letting in a tiny, subtle injection of trance into the mix.
From there, he built in a story based on techno, building up into a high-energy crescendo that for me, peaked just before 2am when he introduced Gui Boratto’s Take My Breath Away into the room. Thankfully, any sound issues at the beginning of the night seemed to have disappeared by then. People next to me shook their heads, repeating “Awesome set, awesome,” and I couldn’t have agreed more. Though the last hour of his set brought something most of his fans are not used to, and may have left some slightly confused, even disappointed, as he brought the tempo and energy down. Arguably though this was to offer a seamless passover to Loco, and it’s a decision that made sense, showing Hernan not only to be a legend, but also nice enough to consider the performance of the act to follow.
For some reason the side room didn’t open until about 12:30am, which meant the local acts lost out on the chance to play. But it was a favourite place to be for a lot of people once it opened. Wandering in there for a while about 1am, the room was packed out and Oliver $ was lost in the moment, full of energy and playing to an extremely responsive crowd. Sound levels in here were low enough to hear a good buzz from the crowd but despite this things were alive and kicking in there. He gave a great warm up for Jesse Rose, who seemed to be having a whale of a time during his set. By that time, the side room was having its own little party and hanging onto every beat. Anyone who’s enjoyed Jesse’s Essential Mix would have been pleased with this set, and those who haven’t would still have enjoyed it just as much.
Back in the main room, Loco arrived on stage with five minutes to spare, and the crowd gave a welcoming roar. The speakers faded out Hernan’s ‘never ending’ finish to his set as Loco setup on the other side of the stage. At that moment I was wishing his set would indeed never end, but also excited by the fact that the night still had so much to offer. Loco started slow and steady, dropping deep basslines from the outset. He appeared relaxed and ready to go but, like Hernan before him, sound issues appeared to be holding him back from really getting into the groove.
If you’ve been lucky enough to see Loco perform overseas, or have even caught glimpses of his talents from online video clips, it’s easy to appreciate what he can achieve. This guy is known for his driving minimal basslines and tribal undertones – and I melt for that stuff. At the same time, in order to be able to properly appreciate a Loco set, the sound system and sound levels need to be ready to support his style. Unfortunately, by 3.30am the sound levels in the main room dropped. Dramatically. A disappointment for the crowd and understandably, a disappointment for Loco himself. He was dropping some marvellous stuff – including Mirko Loko’s Serena. In order for a set to be success, every last element on the night has to compliment the next. For that reason, I don’t think the crowd, the DJ himself, or anything else can be held responsible for Loco cutting his set short by 40 minutes. This shouldn’t detract form the fact that he was giving it his all and he did a smashing job, neither should it deter from the fact that the night was as a whole a great success.
I was initially disappointed when Loco disappeared, but every cloud has a silver lining. King Roc was giving it large in the side room, and the party continued on a high note for those who chose to stay on for it. The Likes of You at The Metro was, in my opinion, nothing short of an incredible night. In fact, one of the best I’ve ever had. And I cannot wait for the next instalment. Bring it on.