Superpitcher & Alexkid Halloween Boat Cruise @ Sydney Harbour (30/10/10)

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When Sydney kicks it up a notch, it kicks it up a notch. Without a pause for breath after the spectacular Surgeon gig, it was Subsonic and Chemistry’s turn to steal back the limelight with the next in its cavalcade of big summer parties, and its first trip on the high seas in 2010.

The bar, of course, is already set pretty high, with the established, class-leading Pirates of the Underground series. But as the now-familiar sight of crazy costumes gathered by the harbour, you got that same old feeling. This was going to be special.

It wasn’t the same kind of special, obviously. The boat was a much bigger and more modern upgrade from the creaky wooden crate that ships the pirates around. In exchange for better toilets, ceilings you could stand underneath, and an extra stage on a rooftop level, you lost old-world technology like windows that actually open and the charisma of that unique, rickety boat. Oh well – there’s always December!

Unperturbed, we all piled onto the boat. Costumes were plentiful, creative and bloody – which kind of set the tone for the rest of the night. Since when did Sydney get so into Halloween, anyway? Pinko moaning aside, the crowd was a real feast for the eyes. Somehow the costumes just add to the hedonistic looseness that Subsonic’s parties always deliver.

Superpitcher was an early starter at second drop, but it was Matt Aubusson who threatened to steal the show. Face resplendent in Ziggy Stardust lightning bolt, it was the thunder coming out of the speakers that really impressed. Aubusson has not been afraid to let rip with some ass-shaking grooves in recent appearances for Subsonic and he is killing it. Superb.

Of course, the German headliner was always going to move into more artistic territory. The “voodoo house” Superpitcher has been peddling was obviously the perfect mix of electronica and spooky trippy shit for a Halloween party, and a bunch of enthusiastic devotees swayed on the dancefloor as he dished it out.

Elsewhere were a million other performances to take in, as the crowd ran riot across the boat, facepaint fittingly disintegrating, conversation increasingly abstract. There were two constants, though – the amazing, amazing backdrop of a gorgeous summer’s day on the harbour, and a consistently brilliant contribution by the local DJs.

But these were moving targets too. The sky reddened then deepened, and day finally turned into a crisp, clear night, the skyline puncturing the black with its beauty. And then the music. Jordan Deck has been in some kind of form since getting more involved with the Subsonic guys. Chris Honnery slammed it but in typical Diatribe style was happy to sub Sasha Mijic in. Robbie Lowe, well I’m not sure if he’s ever actually played a set people didn’t shoot their load over. MSG was thumping and delicious.

Upstairs on the rooftop was everything from HaHa house to dub’n’bass and plenty of freaky people just in case you hadn’t surrendered all your sanity to the mayhem happening below.

And what mayhem it was. Now, I’ve said plenty about Alexkid after his two previous Subsonic (Pirates) boat party appearances. Last year he was absent in favour of the life-changing Matias Aguayo. This year he was back and he was breathtaking. The man is a professional, a joy to watch. There’s a lot of techno DJs that use white noise and other clichés to get crowds jumping. This man locks you into a sexy French tech-house groove and keeps you there, transfixed, as he swaps out loop after loop.

Yes, it was a bit special. One of those nights where you’re spoilt for choice, but still feel robbed when the ugly lights come on way before you thought they would.

Fortunately, the best is still to come from Subsonic. The festival and then ‘that’ Pirates party are back to back in December, and themselves surrounded by yet more of the glut of techno we’re blessed with this summer.

Somehow, though, you just know that, after the season’s over, it’s the magic moments that Subsonic consistently delivers that are going to be the things you remember. In a kind of really hazy way.