​Digitalism & Beni @ The HiFi, Sydney (11/05/2012)

Image for ​Digitalism & Beni @ The HiFi, Sydney (11/05/2012)

It was a case of veni, vidi, vici for Digitalism at the HiFi on Friday night. They came, saw the eager faces of the kids from Sydney, and maybe conquered isn’t strong enough of a word to describe what happened; but we’ll go with it anyway. However, as good as Digitalism were, it wasn’t just a one-act show. Local DJ Beni played an important role in the night too.

Beni had the warm up duties. From where he was standing – off to one side of the stage – he would have seen a sea of heads, five hundred to a thousand strong, packed in tight upstairs and on the floor. It was about nine o’clock and many looked like they were still getting to know the place; making their acquaintances with the HiFi by mostly standing and drinking. I’m not sure how those hanging off the balcony that surrounded the square dance floors fared, as my eyes were fixed firmly on Beni.

Although there was a lack of serious movement, he managed to capture the attention of almost everybody at the establishment. He did this through an eclectic mix of tracks that went from progressive-house types through to hip-hop and 2-step. The transition of tracks was skillfully maneuvered to the point where it felt completely normal to be nodding the head to Dre’s The Next Episode, after being somewhere completely musically different only a couple of minutes prior.

As the time for Digitalism came closer, anticipation moved through the roof and the tempo hit rock bottom, almost to a standstill. And it wasn’t just the beat that had stopped dead. Any space for moving, breathing or pretty much anything else had been taken up by the droves of people who had flooded in and were hungry to get the best vantage point for the main act at ten o’clock.

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Shoulder to shoulder, there was a collective scream from the capacity club as the strobe light turned night into day. Jens Moelle and Ismail Tufekci – or Jence and Isi, as they’re known – took their places front and centre behind the giant, white, heart shaped screen that is the symbol for their latest album. Standing behind their individual lecterns that supported their equipment, Digitalism gave the crowd what they wanted straight up, teasing in the iconic sound from Zdarlight on more than one occasion in the first ten minutes. Every time the tune hit, there was a collective roar and the atmosphere crescendoed.

Digitalism used this energy to showcase a collection of bass-banging tracks that included sections of their own music and the dirty stuff that they’ve picked up from almost half a decade of touring. When Zdarlight did drop, the crowd knew it was on and it was the start of a string of cheers and cries that didn’t end till the lights came on some hours later.
All the huge songs from their early days as well as their latest projects got a playing, and where possible, Jence took to the mic to perform the vocal sections of their tracks while Isi busied himself by manipulating the array of synths and pads before him.

There was no room for anybody to do anything except dance on the spot. A look up towards the balcony showed arms and heads dangling over the rails. For the people down in the pit, phones were raised and girls balanced precariously on shoulders. When it seemed like a low point was coming (if you could say there was one at all), people spilled outside to chain-smoke a cigarette before rushing back to catch up with friends to find out what they missed; because it was that type of show, you didn’t want to miss a thing.

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