Origin NYE 2009 @ Steel Blue Oval, Perth (31/12/09)

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The Origin New Years Eve festival has grown steadily over the last few years, expanding beyond its original home at Belvoir Amphitheatre to Steel Blue Oval in Bassendean. This expansion has been comparatively reflected in the quality of the artists performing and the diversity on offer at the festival. Without a doubt the latest edition of Origin reigns as not just one of the best Origin festivals so far but one of, if not the best, festivals for 2009.

The festival focused predominantly upon showcasing artists within the three genres of hip-hop, dubstep and drum n bass, with rap legends Method Man and Redman as the main stage headliners. Yet for many patrons the late afternoon and early evening slots on the smaller more scene localised stages held some of the true gems of the evening.

The early evening spots showcased some of Perth’s most exciting DJ’s and live acts; with Muller and Rekab some highlights; Naik (live) as well providing an eclectic performance, more than living up to the hype surrounding him throughout this year. Distance was the first of the international DJ’s to hit the decks on the Origin stage, banging out some heavy dubstep tunes. The sound rig was thankfully more than up to the task of reproducing the bass frequencies of the dubstep sound, and hearing Distance drop some of his own tracks like Skeleton Grin and Headstrung was very enjoyable with such a set up. Distance’s mixing skills were very tight, and track selection well thought out. Following on from Distance was drum n bass pioneer LTJ Bukem accompanied by long time MC partner MC Conrad. LTJ’s mixing was unreal, and his track selection was very interesting, pulling out some very nice sounding dubplates and tunes that you just know that no other DJ has. As a DJ/MC partnership there’s probably no better in drum n bass or indeed electronica at what they do; a fitting sunset slot. As Bukem was mixing, fellow drum n bass scene legend Klute was playing at the Organic Stage. Klute’s style of mixing and production has changed a fair amount over the years, and I personally am loving the heavier deep style of drum n bass that he showcased while mixing at Origin; very tasty.

Roots Manuva and entourage (MC’s, DJ, synths and a drummer) kept the hip hop heads happy playing over on the main Knowledge stage. Definitely a crowd favourite, and providing a very entertaining show, info from friends indicated that he was playing a nice mix of older and newer tracks. Skream & Benga then took to the decks on the main stage, indicating from the get go that they were on a mission to really get the crowd pumping. You wouldn’t think by the crowd numbers at dubstep nights throughout the year that they could get such a large crowd to get into it so much but without a doubt their set was tailored not for a discerning dubstep fan but a festival crowd. Some epic mixing for the first half hour seemed promising, but after a while the rewinds got a bit tiring, and for what seemed a good while there seemed to not be any song mixing at all, just tracks getting played in succession. However the crowd were still very engaged; no less when they dropped Skream’s remix of In for the Kill. Despite their set very often bordering on being too cheesy, it was still good to here tunes like Benga’s 26 basslines, Buzzin and Skream’s remix of Zomby’s Float. As Skream & Benga were finishing, up-and-coming Dubstep producer and DJ, Joker, was starting on the Origin stage. Joker has been one of the most exciting producers in the last few years, really pushing the boundaries of dubstep and combining it with electro, 80’s synth vibes and grime like beats. His set was one of the highlights of the night for myself, his mixing was very tight, and it was great hearing some of his own tracks like Digidesign and Purple City on a big sound rig. Unfortunately stage scheduling meant Joker’s set would clash with that of rising drum n bass duo Spectrasoul; however I more than happily settled myself at the Organic stage to hear all of Spectrasoul’s set; definitely my favourite for the night. Taking it in turn mixing, the duo dropped some of the big tunes of the minimal and deep style of drum n bass that they have had a major part of in the last two years. Highlight’s included D-Bridge’s True Romance and Spectrasoul’s Guardian, with tunes from the likes of Alix Perez and Icicle proving popular with the crowd.

DJ Marky & Stamina M_ provided the countdown entertainment for the Knowledge main stage, and The Dilated Peoples over on the Origin stage. Overall I didn’t rate DJ Marky’s set as much as I perhaps would of in any other situation. Primarily due to his countdown slot and being on the main stage meaning the tracks he chose to mix where slightly too commercial, with too much wobbly filler style tunes. Coupled with this was at times dampened, flat sounding acoustics. Yet certainly the man can mix, and Stamina MC can rhyme; as such providing a nice set. Midnight was garnered in a little too late when someone backstage informed Stamina that the countdown had finished; this hiccup aside the firework display was more than adequate, and a great addition to the festival; indeed it could have been one of Perth’s only fireworks displays for the night. I didn’t get to catch much of the Dilated Peoples set, but what I managed to see astounded me; specifically DJ Babu’s scratching abilities; a style of turntabilism hard to master and very hard to perform to perfection as Babu did.

Next up was what most of the crowd had been waiting for; the hip-hop headliners and rap legends Method Man and Redman. Backstage chants from Method Man got the crowd really excited and the two walked on to much fanfare. Rumors had been rather persistent that Meth would be a no show and was in jail in the US, yet such ridiculous rumors were well and truly quashed when they dropped their first tracks from their recent collaboration album Blackout 2. The two kept the crowd well and truly engaged for the rest of the show, with some energetic stage movements and good crowd banter. Some epic moments erupted at times, especially when M.E.T.H.O.D Man from 1994’s Enter The Wu Tang was played and sung along with by most of the crowd. Other highlights included cuts from Method Man’s Tical, some classic stoner sing alongs and some strange but funny shout out’s (“If your pussies clean, let me hear you scream!”). All in all a very good performance that lived up to the hype that generally surrounds anything Wu-Tang Clan related.

Closing out the night on the Origin stage were neuro-funk drum n bass pioneers Ed Rush & Optical. Their set was, although a little uninspired, still very energetic and dark and evil as one would expect from these two. Mixing back to back and dropping some big tunes, like G-Force Jesus and Chubrub from this years Travel the Galaxy album, as well as some old favoutires like Pacman. A truly appropriate way to end both origin and 2009; flailing about to dark grimy beats.

Without a doubt in many respects the night was hugely successful; all the performances were spot on, there were minimal crowd issues like aggression and no major issues involving drugs. And therein lies the most successful part of the night in that it lived up to the hype of a New Year’s event. Knowledge music, the promotions team responsible for everything Origin related are truly on top of their game at the moment, with 2009 probably their best year in regards to the amount and quality of music related events they have organised. Big Ups!


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