Shore Thing @ Bondi Beach, Sydney (31/12/2011)

Image for Shore Thing @ Bondi Beach, Sydney (31/12/2011)

As the final hours of 2011 began to draw to a close, a sizeable crowd gathered near the iconic sands of Bondi Beach for Shore Thing, Sydney’s biggest New Year’s Eve party. This year’s instalment presented audiences with a mixed bill featuring Snoop Dogg, Calvin Harris and Pendulum.

After making our way through the various road blocks and obstacles that populated the beachside backstreets, we eventually arrived at the main entrance. However, with multiple sections and a generally confusing layout, the venue inside proved to be even more difficult to navigate.

After weaving our way through a maze of impeding fences and pissed punters, we finally settled on a spot as classic tracks from Ice Cube, House of Pain and Ludacris boomed from the speakers that loomed above. This was an adequate warm-up for Snoop Dogg, who strolled onstage in style, donning a full tracksuit in his trademark nonchalant manner. The West Coast icon took the crowd from Bondi Beach to Long Beach as he performed classics Gin and Juice, Nuthin’ But A G Thang and The Next Episode, with the latter getting the entire crowd singing the late Nate Dogg’s infamous outro.

Eventually, the inevitable moment came when Snoop Dogg dropped Sweat, his cringeworthy collaboration with David Guetta. Nevertheless, the crowd still fistpumped with enthusiasm. The set finished with Young, Wild and Free, a harmonious ode to Mary Jane. Despite a well-rounded choice of tracks, his overall performance lacked energy and relied heavily on recorded hooks to get the crowd going.

With Snoop Dogg’s increasing (yet questionable) involvement in electronic music, it is understandable why he was placed on the bill for Shore Thing. However, with the avalanche of urban/dance fusion songs that appeared in 2011, there are undoubtedly many other artists with similar crossover appeal that could have delivered a more engaging performance.

Calvin Harris then took the stage and launched into I’m Not Alone as large screens flashed the final seconds until midnight struck. The countdown concluded with an enormous applause as 2012 was officially welcomed. Fireworks painted the night sky with vibrant colours that fell gracefully upon the shore as the audience was treated to Avicii’s Levels, before Harris dropped his own Feel So Close and We Found Love, both of which garnered plenty of crowd participation.

Of course, there was also the mandatory brostep track for all the alpha males to get shirtless and get super aggressive for a few minutes, and Skrillex’s take on Benny Benassi’s Cinema wobbled its way onto the set-list. No surprises there. The performance concluded with a pleasant stroll down memory lane as Darude’s signature track Sandstorm blasted relentlessly through the venue. An enjoyable set from the Scottish producer, who provided a perfect soundtrack for the New Year transition.

The final act for the night was Pendulum. Prior to their appearance, the cult track Internet Friends from side-project Knife Party was dropped, which should get fans excited for their impending appearance at Future Music Festival. The mood was then set for Australia’s biggest drum and bass export to perform. However, as an act incorporating various rock/metal elements in their live show, Pendulum suffered from sound difficulties which diminished their usually vivacious live performances.

Mammoth stadium anthems such as The Island and Witchcraft were reduced to mere murmurs as their tracks eventually succumbed to staleness. The band announced that this would be their final performance before taking a lengthy break to write music and pursue their other projects. Unfortunately, this was not the ideal performance to leave Australian audiences with.

As a New Year’s Eve event, Shore Thing succeeded in providing the audience with a memorable midnight moment, and Calvin Harris’ infectious sing-a-long tunes proved to be wonderfully appropriate for the event. However, this was not sufficient to recuperate from a rather sluggish set from Snoop Dogg and the sound issues that plagued Pendulum’s performance. Furthermore, the layout made commuting around the venue exceedingly difficult and only added to such frustrations. With a beachside location and a prime New Year’s Eve timeslot at their disposal, hopefully organisers can cure such problems for Shore Thing to return in satisfactory form.