Guy J & Sasha Le Monnier @ Chinese Laundry, Sydney (11/06/2011)

Image for Guy J & Sasha Le Monnier @ Chinese Laundry, Sydney (11/06/2011)

Over the last five years I have “retired” from the club scene more times than England has failed to win a World Cup. But as Renton pointed out in Trainspotting, there are final hits and then there are final hits. The trick is in knowing which kind of final hit it is you’re experiencing.

My own retirement was only ever going to last as long as it took Sasha Le Monnier to arrive in Australia. Since August 2009, when her sets started appearing in the Progressive forums on inthemix, I have been well and truly smitten with the beautifully melodic music that she plays. So when her tour was announced with not one, but two gigs in Sydney, my only decision was which one to choose. In the end, family commitments made the decision for me, and an additional upside was that I would also get the opportunity to see the amazing Guy J. What could be better?

Well, some nice weather wouldn’t have gone astray. As it turned out, the weather in Sydney was miserable, which had some effect on the size of the crowd, which stayed at pleasantly full, rather than rammed-to-the-rafters. I guess the clouds had silver linings after all!

Upon arrival, we hit the Sand Bar to mill around, enjoy a drink and soak up the atmosphere. While we were doing that and my jeans were soaking up the puddles on the ground, I had the good fortune to chat to the DJ herself, Sasha, albeit briefly. Like many people, I’ve always found it difficult to talk to those I admire greatly, because I tend to get nervous and make a complete idiot of myself. Fortunately, Sasha is such a down-to-earth and genuinely lovely person that I managed to make a complete idiot of myself without getting nervous first. Well a change is as good as a holiday!

My friends had headed into the Laundry so I made my red-faced excuse and wandered in to join them. *Athso*n was behind the decks and they were certainly banging it out for such an early timeslot, to a rather enthusiastic crowd. The mood was infectious and the music was making me want to get up and dance, but I wanted to conserve my energy for Sasha’s set, so I left the friendly madness of the Laundry behind and wandered into The Cave. This part of the club was really filling up, so we took up our positions against the side wall.

Rodskeez was in control and was building-up the crowd very nicely indeed. I can’t remember experiencing one of his live sets before, and I was impressed with his track selection. A warm-up set for a warm-up artist is incredibly difficult to compile. As was the case here, if the floor is rather full, you need to maintain interest levels; but there are also two main artists yet to come, so you can’t merely play what you want – careful selection is a must – and Rodskeez selections were top shelf. The music bubbled and built and faded at just the right levels. It even got my old bones dancing a full thirty minutes before Sasha was due to make an appearance!

After two years (and a couple of hours) of waiting, Sasha arrived with a whisper rather than a bang. Thankfully though, it was the whisper of seduction, as she spent thirty minutes or so teasing the crowd and feeling her way into the set. In situations with this much anticipation, you want to throttle the daylights out of the smug, sanctimonious git who first uttered the the phrase “patience is a virtue”. But when that waiting is over and the best bits start showing up en masse, you develop a strange appreciation for those words.

Once Sasha had finished toying with us, she then eased in the gorgeous melodies for which she is renowned, and suddenly the world – or rather The Cave – was a wonderful place indeed. First my feet shuffled, then my arms moved, then my grin spread and I was away – lost in my own special space where bass rifts and drum beats move the body and magical harmonies feed your soul.

The final thirty minutes of her all-too-short set were so good that words can’t do them justice. Suffice it to say, that the smiles on the faces around me were a testament to just how much everyone seemed to be enjoying the music as much as I was. It was melodious as always, but with the tempo rising in expectation of Guy J’s arrival, I didn’t think anything else could be as good as this. But then Guy J appeared…. and what an entrance!

If Sasha had been melting my heart and warming my soul, then Guy J wanted to melt my brain and destroy my soul – he was as immense and intense and amazing as any DJ I have ever heard playing in a Progressive style. For the first 20 or 30 minutes he didn’t just bring the intensity, he got a bucket load of it and force-fed it down the throats of everyone in the audience. We weren’t being played music, we were being aurally assaulted; every one of us pleading for more!

After the initial assault faded, Guy deployed a relentless series of small build-ups that culminated in more intense music. Guy was on form in the best possible way and the crowd was responding in spades. My best mate, who was dancing next to me, had this look on his face that said “thank you” from ear to ear. And he wasn’t the only person who looked like this. Walking around the audience it seemed everyone was completely and utterly mesmerised by the music Guy was slamming down. His mixing was sublime and his track selection was beyond amazing. I cannot tell you any of the names of any of the tunes as, well, I’m not a tune spotter; but if you weren’t there you should be kicking yourself (literally)!

Fortunately for those who weren’t there – the road to redemption is just over the horizon – because on the 25th of June Sasha Le Monnier will be giving another performance at Shrug and this time it will be a three hour set well worthy of your attention. I suggest you get yourself a ticket, and spend your time dancing to amazing, gorgeous, melodic, harmonious Progressive House. Who knows – she may even slam down a couple of Guy J tunes towards the end of her set for those that weren’t at the Laundry on my night of nights.

Thank you to Sasha Le Monnier, Guy J, the Chinese Laundry and all those who made the night such a special event. I salute you all.