Robert Babicz @ Brown Alley, Melbourne (18/05/2012)

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There are only a few nights a year where Brown Alley really comes alive and is close to perfect in every facet – music, decor, crowd, sound quality and atmosphere. Electric Owl with Robert Babicz was one of these nights. The Electric Owl guys are musicians themselves and it was heartening to see that they had put so much effort into all the important details and executed all the right moves to create a great party.

Stepping into Brown Alley on this wintry night was different – an underwater world of blues and greens embraced eager punters. Nets stretched from wall to wall, streamers dangling above the crowds’ heads. Eerie lights reflecting sea-green colours projected onto the screens. The promoters had gone to a great effort to create a great looking space for the crowd.

Text Book Music, also a local record label, is the brainchild of Darrius Bassiray and Paul Beynon. Their set was a great warm up for the main man himself, and by this time the dancefloor was already packed. Smiling, happy people danced and clapped while the guys played a set of mainly their own tunes, as well as a couple of remixes of artists like Mike Callander and Sade.

When Babicz played at Rainbow Serpent Festival in 2010 (and the after party), he won many fans. Melbourne showed their true respect by backing up the Monday dust stomping dance off with an equally as epic after party gig, for all those who couldn’t let the party go. So without a doubt there was much anticipation around his return as his popularity has sky rocketed, now filling up our biggest cub with an eclectic mix of old, new, young and eager fans. It is obvious that Robert Babicz has a dedicated, strong fan base here in Melbourne.

So much so, in fact, that he wrote a song dedicated to Melbourne a few years ago (which he played tonight, of course). The man with the best scarf collection in the electronic music world (tonight’s was red) played as great a set as ever. Babicz records his experiences on film (still and moving) and matches these with his music. In the first part of his set, flowing underwater mermaid images accompanied his music. The crowd was treated to lots of juicy new stuff in the second part. The dancefloor was wild and packed, with people seemingly hanging from every nook and cranny. Wherever people could find a small square of the floor to call their own, they would.

Babicz had only just come out of hospital with an injury to fly to Australia, so his dedication to his fans was just as clear as his fans was to him. Snapping pictures of the crazy crowd as he played, his set spanned from progressive to techno, entwined with melodies, producing the Babicz signature sound that Melbourne knows and loves. He took the listener on a journey, with a down-tempo beginning, an intermission and a change to stomping techno in the second half, incorporating elements of psy, instrumental drops and quirky peaks. Simply divine.

Muska played the closing set in the Garden Bar, and as is often the case with these kind of parties, bleary eyed party goers were still dancing away as the sun was coming up, wishing that the night would never end. Until next time, Electric Owl, and thank you for bringing the party back to Melbourne.

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