Ship Faced Cruise @ Sydney Harbour, Sydney (06/04/2012)

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This was the first time the Ship Faced Cruise had sailed into the night, and the atmosphere of the event was a delightful twist on the day-cruise people have come to consider up there among Sydney waterborne events. The vibe of previous parties and the dawn of a long-weekend drew the crowds just after dusk down to the wharf for another round of debauchery on the water.

Come seven-ish, a perfect Sydney day gave way to an even better night. The lingering heat left enough warmth to justify the amount exposed skin from the guys and girls in attendance, who unconsciously hugged themselves while waiting to board the boat.

I got in early and headed upstairs to do the rounds of the boat. On previous cruises the party had been spilt pretty equally between the two levels but for this event, after boarding, most of the people stayed downstairs, only coming up for a breather, to change up the music or to chat to friends while enjoying the uninterrupted Sydney skyline. This led to the upper deck being quite chilled to begin with, and it may have gotten heavier as the ship sailed on, but I headed down and didn’t come back up for the rest of the trip.

Upon setting sail, one half of Wollongong DJ/producer duo, Go Freek smashed out a technically flawless set consisting of electro house that tipped its hat to techno elements. The set brought a raised glass boat-wide, ensuring the bars got off on the right foot and stayed that way for the remainder of the cruise.

Given that you can do more on a boat (smoke) you want to be able to hear the tunes while you’re outside, the acoustics were nicely balanced between being loud enough to go off your nut while inside, but when outside, conversation wasn’t forced and you could still follow what was happening on the decks.

Sometime later local hero DCUP, a.k.a. Duncan Maclennan, made his way onto the stage to take the reins. Riding a prolonged high from an album release last year, he translated this energy into a performance that kept the kids dancing and laughing.

For me, the Swede, Peo De Pitte – DJ, Remixer and producer packed the biggest punch of the night with a set that can only be described as massive. When he dropped remixes from his, Who Do You Love EP, the level of adoration from the crowd was the kind of thing you see passing between Bieber and his pre-pubescent female fans: crazy, to say the least. It would have been nice to say the same about the fish, who were probably pissed right off at Peo’s attempts to destroy an oceans worth of marine life through bass. His attitude and energy while performing was refreshing, smiling to the cameras, high fiving the front row and wearing a smile from ear to ear. At the end of his last track, he hoisted himself onto the speakers and busted a power DJ victory stance, arms in the air and smiling harder than ever. A thousand or so people adopted a similar position and farewelled Peo, who jumped down and bailed behind the velvet rope.

French duo Betacue closed the final hour and a half of the cruise out and upheld their reputations as leaders in the French electro-house scene, giving the crowd a well-constructed set with definite points where the energy in the room shifted up and down. Their performance was defined by a playful start that moved into solid four on the floor kicks and siren sounds as it progressed through the tracks. I’m pretty sure Pool Chicks by Maelstrom was that one that marked one of the said ‘energy shifts’, but without resorting to an onomatopoeic fail, I can’t be sure.

What I do know is that the lights guy had been holding back on the strobes and pretty colours until the closing moments of the party. And the ‘snakey’, blue laser thing that looked like the offspring of a light-saber and a piece of twine was blowing people’s minds. Seeing the full light show from up close with Beatacue’s set was a sight and sound to behold, but looking in from afar would have been utter madness.

When the boat came back into dock, the artists and producers continued on their way to Chinese Laundry for the after-party. I didn’t attend but the communal mass of people moving up the road towards the club in a large group was in the spirit of the night. People come as strangers but leave as friends, to return and get Ship Faced again some other time.

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