Girl Unit @ Chinese Laundry, Sydney (28/07/2012)

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The London-bred crew, label and club Night Slugs crew don’t really leave their own scene. They don’t really want to. To our embarrassment, Australia has a reputation as a trial by fire for international DJs – play the requests or buckle up for an onslaught of crowds yelping “play some f*cking dubstep!” Girl Unit was blissfully ignorant of the crowd, even though he shook dancefloors with his 2010 anthem Wut.

In the scramble when Girl Unit announced he was coming out of hiding, Chinese Laundry snapped up the show over other favourite clubs like Goodgod and One22. And it proved itself with volume and plenty of subs. The Compound crew’s Zeus began the party with a fresh selection from house to raw techno. Spenda C continued, churning out the same kind of vibes and putting the Laundry Cave’s system to good use.

Girl Unit took over at 1. His set was raw and unforgiving, as you’d expect from any of the Night Slugs crew. When the London sound is so far ahead, you realise how far behind we are here in Sydney. The music was stripped back to its core: 808 kicks that shattered the subs and churning rhythms. It was mechanical, but physical, impossible to not dance or bob or something at least. Like a machine churning, stilted and rigid at the same time.

Like most out of London, Girl Unit doesn’t play anything you’d know. Not even tunes devotees of the underground would know. But, he did play some of his biggest, IRL and Wut. He even played Wut twice, with the (better) remix by Claude VonStroke.

To a mixed reaction, he played some of the weirder, harder cuts from his newest EP, like Club Rez and Ensemble. Complete with tire screech samples, piercing 808 cowbells and warbling synths. Like any proper UK selector, Girl Unit played out the night with R&B. Beyonce’s Video Phone, Aaliyah’s Rock The Boat and fellow producer Hudson Mohawke’s edit of Tweet’s Oops (Oh My). Even Three 6 Mafia made it into the mix, followed by then guilty crowd pleasers like Snoop’s Drop It Like It’s Hot and Big Boi’s Shutterbugg.

But the crowd at Laundry is always a bit of hit and miss. Bulky males sick of snogging drift from room to room, ending up in the cramped crowd of the Cave. There are always the barks for “some real dubstep”, the grinding, the sweat patch-to-face. But if they hear a four-to-the-floor, they dance, and that’s good.

Girl Unit said loved Australia, but also quipped it’d be hard to coax more of the Night Slugs crew to come all the way down. Please, Laundry (and every other club in Sydney) keep the crowds coming, the sound systems heavy, and the turntables primed.

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