Krafty Kuts @ The Ivy, Sydney (28/04/2012)

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The funky technician, the one and only Krafty Kuts hit the Ivy courtyard on behalf of Chinese Laundry on a pleasant autumn afternoon. It was a safe bet that this gig was going to be massive, given Krafty’s reputation for getting a party cranked sure isn’t undeserved. On the Australian leg of his Let’s Ride tour, Martin Reeves has been vocal (or social media-al) about his love of the country and his excitement was obviously epidemic. Calling Sydney his “favourite city in the world” on his Facebook, he came “armed with a bag of funky treats” for everyone to go mental over.

Being my first time at the Ivy, I was a wee bit concerned that I might have a shit-fight of pretentious wankers to contend with. But, to my delight, it was a pleasant surprise to find a lovely open venue filled with light, space, water features and a huge crowd of friendly dancing faces.

The appeal of the garden party is a no-brainer. It’s got the attitude of a festival – fast and loose – but doesn’t have the huge distances to cover, there’s no worrying about line-up clashes, the drinks aren’t a squillion bucks and the line doesn’t take four hundred years to move anywhere, the sound system is better, installed with precision, and there’s no dicks with shirts off, southern cross tatts and rats-tails.

From the outset, everyone was hyped. The bass was booming all up George Street as Peo De Pitte smashed out a solid set full of sublime build-ups and buoyant drops. So when Krafty came out, it could only up the ante. He got the local crowd on side early with a mix of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know, which everyone zealously sang along to.

When promo girls for Budweiser strutted on stage, the crowd dropped back and bonded over how inappropriate a display it was. The crass capitalism/objectification worked against the feel of the afternoon, and left a sour taste in a lot of mouths. But the girls flounced off after a short while, and the punters were more than willing to let bygones be bygones.

Krafty let loose a barrage of tracks across the set. It was hard to tell where one ended and another began, so seamlessly was the set built. Among a list too big to name, some highlights were Azaelia Banks, The Beatles, The Beastie Boys and Busta Rhymes. There was some A-Skillz (of course!) Chemical Brothers, Dead Prez, and Fatboy Slim. There was a little Kurtis Blow, Chili Peppers, The Prodigy, Stanton Warriors and the track that never fails to get a mosh, House of Pain’s Jump Around.

For a three hour set, time flew. It was an alluring amalgamation of massive new hits, classic dance anthems, quirky and funky tunes, all nestled over some bad-ass beats that you can’t help but dance to. The set had Krafty’s signature manipulation all over it. He cuts like a demon, scratches like an inspired mad man. He is technically superb. To watch, he’s a joy. It’s a mixture of CDs and vinyl across three decks, with not Serato or Traktor in sight. Once a track is mixed, he’ll remove his headphones and engage with the audience. He knows his stuff inside and out, and can lip-sync better than Brittany. He’s a big advocate on DJing being kept real, and doesn’t need fancy AV set-ups to bring the house down. And he brought the house down. Pure and simple.

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