Sounds on Sunday @ Greenwood Hotel, Sydney (18/11/2012)

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Back in the day, there were fewer places dance music lovers would rather spend a Sunday afternoon than at the Greenwood, with good tunes and close friends to keep them company. Long before the Sunday events that have more recently sprung up around inner city Sydney were even conceived, Sounds on Sunday was bucket loads of fun. Having undergone a renaissance of late, and with a lineup that featured no less than three internationals, it was time to check out what all the fuss was about.

Sydney turned on the sun, the Greenwood turned on happy hour, and by mid-afternoon, things looked good. With music in no less than three rooms, there was plenty to choose from. Out in the Courtyard, a small but buzzing crowd was savouring the last of the sunshine before it disappeared behind the North Sydney business district; the soundtrack: some happening house from Miguel Campbell. Playing his third set in Sydney in less than 24 hours, the Leeds based producer was throwing down a DJ set that was perfect for the occasion. With some soulful funk thrown amongst a serious dose of house, the crowd – many of whom were in some sort of uniform of singlets and tight pants or shorts (male and female alike) – was loving it.

Over in the Lounge Bar it was seemingly electro meets dubstep, and which someone later referred to as ‘brostep’. Whatever it was, while not my thing, the lads in there had a small but loyal following going mad for it. As a contrast, in the Chapel, Thomas Lisse and Matt Cahill dished up some nice deep melodic house, acted as the perfect foil to the more party-based tunes in the Courtyard, and were appreciated each time we ducked back in to the bar for refills.

Back out in the Courtyard, the second international Subb-An had kept the party going, and while the crowd wasn’t huge, and his flow was at times a little curious, what we lacked in flow and numbers the Brit made up for with tunes. When he threw down the classic Lucky Star with the unmistakable and unforgettable voice of Ron Carroll about midway through, given that soulful house tunes don’t get much better than that, it was good times all round.

On our feet for a few hours, we took a break on the massive grass expanse in the middle of Courtyard, and got stuck into the rather tasty $8 pizzas on offer. What then transpired is one of the weirdest exchanges I’ve had in some time, when a security guard politely asked us to move. Just as politely, I asked ‘why?’, to which he replied – without a hint of sarcasm – “I guess they want the grass to grow.” I reminded him that the grass was actually fake, but we were given our marching orders. I’ve been to too many gigs over the years to know there’s no point proceeding with such exchanges – it usually leads to one getting kicked out. I bring it up here simply as a point of ponder. WTF. It’s a chilled Sunday, let people chill.

But it would not detract from what was shaping us a pretty good day. Little did we know that it was going to get even better. Back in the Chapel, things were grooving in a big way. Alan Thomas, hailing from Ireland but now Sydney based, was warming up for the last of the internationals, and he did it in absolute style. He kept the pitch and mood of that room perfect, and the scene was accordingly set.

With plenty of room to move on the dancefloor, over the next two and a bit hours we experienced some of the best tunes back to back that I’ve heard in some time. With no attitude, no ego, but just a massive shit-eating grin on his face and a clear urge to have fun, King Unique – AKA Matt Thomas – absolutely delivered. The Chapel was barely half full, but there was fun aplenty.

Unique fed off the pumping crowd, and matched it with a passion and an intensity behind the decks that was truly palpable. With thumping techno, driving basslines and storming melodies he gave us a taste of everything. The crowd grew, and with tunes like Henry Saiz’s Our Discovery and Die Magische Tijd from Roger Martinez, it was apt that we were in the Chapel; because for those of us that like the driving melodic stuff, this was heaven.

He was giving it is his absolute all, working feverishly behind the deck, and the crowd responded in absolute style. His own remix of the Marc Marzenit and Saiz tune Radiance almost lifted the roof off. Emotions ran high as the long drawn out build ups of an epic tune met our raised arms, our dancing feet, and mixed in with a DJ that was loving every minute of it all. His final tune, his remix of the UNKLE tune Reign would’ve been a truly fitting end to a stellar set.

But then, as we all roared for more, Unique climbed on top of the decks, and invited us to plead – quite literally – with the bar staff and security to let him, and in turn us, continue. Our unequivocal chants of ‘one more tune’ were honoured by an understanding bar manager, and we were permitted exactly that. When it came in the shape of the unmistakable and truly unforgettable Two Million Suns from King Unique himself, it was a fitting end to a truly cracking set.

Putting on a party like Sounds involves a lot of work. Across three different rooms, a stack of DJs pump out their own sound, and provide a little bit for everyone. In the Oliver Stone film Any Given Sunday, Al Pacino’s character quips: “never forget, that on any given Sunday, you’re either gonna win, or you’re gonna lose…”

On last Sunday just gone, we were all winners, and as the summer circuit kicks off in earnest, one can’t help but think that Sounds is going to be host to a whole lot of fun.

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wilsonrob

wilsonrob said on the 26th Nov, 2012

It was a pretty good day alright. King Unique was every bit as good as this review suggests.

JoeMayberry

JoeMayberry said on the 26th Nov, 2012

Agreed. King Unique killed it

beyondandabove

beyondandabove said on the 26th Nov, 2012

Good to know that they still have that bullshit rule of not being allowed on the grass!

sharkman4

sharkman4 said on the 27th Nov, 2012

Seemed to me they were keeping people off the 'grass' to get more people in front of the decks...great to see King Unique having as much fun as we were