Liberate @ Planet Nightclub and surrounds, Brisbane (24/04/10)

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Liberate arrived on the weekend to ‘liberate’ Brisbane from several things: generic cash cow events, arbitrary dress codes and simply the daily grind as a whole. For those familiar with the venue that used to be home to day club Boom, the night’s festivities orbited the Church. Planet flanked the right and a hidden carpark on the left housed another stage.

Walking into the Church was surreal in itself, with crimson damasque print wallpaper, old wooden stairs and a main room built for worship. Aside from the obvious, there were plenty of ironies within the Church – starting with the collection of artworks lining the top floor mezzanine which depicted current flavour of the week commercial pop sensations like the Black Eyed Peas.

Despite the obvious changes to the venue, there were still some relics left over from the old days when it was actually a church, like the wooden beams that support the roof and the cages suspended on the wall either side of the DJ platform.

The Planet section of Liberate had a similar set-up on a smaller scale, although was a considerably more sterile environment. If you’re into chrome railings and faux-luxury trimmings, then the Planet stage was for you. The other major stage was around the back of the Church, consisting of a tent set up in a well-walled carpark, complete with drink stands and toilets.

Eddie Halliwell delivered a standout set of technical skill, and watching the mini-dramas that surrounded his time in the DJ booth (including a blonde girl foaming at the mouth over Eddie’s ‘status’ and a man trying to steal Eddie’s vodka) only made it all the more enjoyable.

Meanwhile, Pandamonium had quite a following on the dancefloor of the Planet room. Even though his style wasn’t to my personal taste, I absolutley loved this guy’s passion and how much fun he was clearly having. I was right there with him in his excitement and this connection between DJ and crowd really made his set a standout.

Signum played his signature style of trance with banging precision. Opening with that driving sound, he definitely caught my attention early in his set.

Unfortunately the Church seemed far too bright for a dance party, unless it’s one that requires severe supervision. I was really looking forward to Sean Tyas and despite providing the energy to follow Halliwell, his set lacked variety and direction. When you get right down to it, each track was almost indistinguishable from the next. For all the trancey wonder of Liberate, to me the best set of the event was easily Baby Gee, a local playing minimal… at a trance party. Another irony duely noted.

Overall, Liberate had a really good turnout, allowing the main room of the Church to absolutely ignite. The Planet room invited a sizable crowd that constantly maintained a strong vibe, while the car-park stage provided an alternative, darker energy that was an excellent accompaniment to the two indoor rooms. I loved how the Church reminded me of what the Arena used to feel like on a good night: the sense that the floor belonged to true lovers of the music. I felt right at home out back in the car park.

If less lighting is used at the next installment of Liberate, I am sure that the party will only benefit in terms of atmosphere. I felt as though I was waiting for the lights to go down so things could really get going and the lasers could reach their true potential. However Liberate would, in my opinion, compare to the recent Kana event in terms of having that certain undefinable ‘something’.

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