Strobe: Bag Raiders, Ajax & Beni @ Prince Bandroom, Melbourne (16/07/2010)

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In the five years that I’ve been of age, I have not once been to the Prince Of Wales Hotel. But tonight would change all that. Once I got in the door and up the stairs, I turned the corner and was faced with the giant space that is The Main Room. Sleeves was warming up the vast space and there were already quite a few party people on the floor, around the bar and outside on the balcony. I didn’t expect the tunes to be so banging so early – I guess these kids don’t do things in halves. By the time 1928 started, the place was pretty full – judging by the line to the bathroom. That area was a debauchery themed fashion shoot.

I’ve never experienced such a strong strobe light. I get it, the night was called Strobe – but this was going overboard! Trying to navigate through the crowd, up and down the steps to and from the bathroom, I actually felt like I was intoxicated from the flashing light (even though I wasn’t drinking). It was far from a pleasant experience. The floor of The Prince was littered with broken glass – as if all the drinks were served in cups made from safety glass. I’ve never seen a better candidate for plastic glasses. The sound levels were redlining pretty badly and I would have escaped to the balcony for some ear rest (albeit surrounded by smokers) had I wanted to risk losing my place in line for a Red Bull. I didn’t make it through to the back room, which was surprisingly accessed from the front of the floor behind the DJ booth, because I wasn’t taking my chances with the crowd and the strobe, but I did accidentally stumble into a separate, curtained off lounge area with a Kirin and champagne bar. I’m pretty sure I could have stayed there all night.

Ajax was well impressive, throwing out a bit of dubstep – the flavour of the week, as well as the current hit of the moment We Speak No Americano ; amongst a whole bunch of commercial house hits from Sexy Bitch to MSTRKRFT’s Bounce. Whilst it was a fairly eclectic set, it kept the crowd going and the floor full. I actually loved it. The boys from Bagraiders definitely had their audience pegged, and whipped out the commercial and retro house including a bit of Cassius, Little Secrets by Passion Pit, a really Funky remix of Phoenix’s Lisztomania. The dance floor even erupted into a group sing-along to the Bag Raiders’ Shooting Stars. I’ve never seen or heard anything like it. A whole room of people singing along to a track in a club? It blew my mind and I won’t be forgetting it in a hurry! Beni played some more great house as well, although a little bit harder than the others. I thought the combination of the three acts were put together really well. The retro-tinged flavour ribbon evident through the night brought something more three-dimensional to the event, than if it had just been your standard commercial house night.

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