Subsonic Halloween Harbour Cruise @ Sydney Harbour, Sydney (27/10/2012)

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We weren’t on time. “What time does the boat leave?” “Sooner than we can get there, but don’t worry. It’s always late.”

And so it began. The boat was indeed late, but people weren’t complaining. Far from it; we were reconnecting with familiar faces, and marvelling at the costumes of newcomers. There we were, yet again, scaring the diners at Doyle’s, ready for another Subsonic adventure.

The Subsonic cruises are unique in Sydney, not least for the family vibe they have. But this time round, it must be said, there were some people missing. Various theories were bandied about – there are certainly some big parties coming up. Regardless, there were plenty of elaborately-costumed freaks on the dock who boarded the boat and got down to the serious business of dancing – or using the extra space for some quality shit-talking.

Ezequiel warmed up downstairs in style, easing the main floor into the day with some solid and sunny tech-house. And after the pick-ups at Rose Bay were completed, after the costumed warriors had scrambled down the wharf in hilarious contrast to The Island’s primped and preened prima donnas, it was time to lose ourselves in a stunning afternoon.

It’s no secret I’m a fan of YokoO’s late (late) night sets, but in the sun he stretched out and played a varied set that really hit its stride with some anthemic, summery stuff. It was perfect for a simply beautiful jaunt on the harbour; sun overhead, all manner of watercraft flying past, and one of the world’s best views out the window.

Unlike previous Subsonic cruises, YokoO’s variation meant the music on the main floor had a real progression through the day, as light and dark as the beaming sunshine and the night’s skyline. After a choppy and mixed set from Turmspringer, it was over to one of the elder statesmen of the local scene, Phil Smart.

It’s always a pleasure to hear Mr Smart in action, and I hope it’s not just because I’m an old bastard that still has some of his work from the ‘90s ( Sabotage, Tweekin’ ) on cassette tape. He’s been smashing it of late at gigs around town with a sound that’s deep but floor-focussed, tech-y and progressive, but just dirty enough to remind us of the good times. In short, he showed exactly why he was the guy I was hanging most to hear on the boat.

But like all good things, the party had to end – and like all Subsonic boat parties, it had to end at Rose Bay, with a bus waiting to take the motley crew to the afterparty. The ride was, as ever, a little hectic, but the Abercrombie was pretty damn fabulous too.

No, the boat wasn’t as busy as it could have been. But in the eight hours the boat was traversing the harbour, and the many more (hazier) hours afterwards, there were lots of familiar faces to reconnect with. The most common topic of conversation? How good this summer is going to be – with Subsonic.

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