Stereosonic @ Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney (24/11/2012)

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Scores of punters flocked to Stereosonic in Sydney over the weekend, catching a lineup that rivalled any other festival in the country. Welcomed by uncharacteristic blue skies and a sea of chests on show from both sexes, the broad spread of genres on display demonstrated the enormous generational changes sweeping through the dance music festival circuit right now.

The innovations of this year’s edition had less to do with programming and more to do with its admirably organized infrastructure — better stage setups, wider entries approaching the site, more space on the grounds and light-and-sound spectacles. For these reasons alone the organisers may have redeemed themselves but after last year’s catastrophic main stage lock-down that left thousands stranded so early on during the day, all this was a must this year.

As predicted the day was in full swing from the start particularly for trance fans at the Sonic Stage, thanks to Dash Berlin causing an early stir with highlights including Waiting featuring Emma Hewitt with Alesso and Matthew Koma’s Years. Later he delved into Ummet Ozcan’s The Box, teasing us with the vocals of Cosmic Gate’s Firewire – euphoric heaven. From there, he finished off with Apollo Road, Better Half Of Me with the biggest trance frenzy occurring when he dropped favourite Till The Sky Falls Down. It was such a mind blowing set that we almost didn’t want to leave to catch Laidback Luke. So we stayed to watch the beginning of Sander Van Doorn, which included Daddy’s Grove Stellar, followed later by Gregori Klosman and Tristan Garner Knight’ remix of Zedd’s Spectrum.

Laidback Luke was already creating waves by the time we reached the mainstage with a surprising entry of Fatman Scoop’s Be Faithful into DMX’s Party Up, followed by his remix of Wynter Gordon’s Dirty Talk- cheesy, yes, but all was forgiven as he dropped the more appropriate bone-rattling Revolvr remix of Knife Party’s Internet Friends.

By around 7pm was this years’ “Conflictonic” in which the hours between 6:30pm and 8pm involved so many good acts playing simultaneously on various stages that it damn near caused aneurysms (Chuckie vs. Aly & Fila vs. Example – you get the idea). But Chuckie was always going to take the lead, and that he did. As anticipated, he brought his blend of Dirty Dutch-style hip-hop infused house to a sea of hungry fans as they devoured his one-hour set. “Sydney are ya’ll ready for some dirty Dutch or what?” he yelled, as he kicked things off with TJR’s Ode To Oi with his signatory the-C-the-H-the-U-the-C-the-K-the-I-the-E chant.

Next up, he dropped the club remix of Tradelove’s Seven Nation Army and his take on Tommy Trash’s Cascade with the backing vocals of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know. When the late afternoon presented such sights of an energy raged audience it was clear his timeslot was cleverly saved. One of the biggest highlights of the entire day occurred in a space of ten minutes, during Make Some Noise into Benny Bennassi's Satisfaction imperiously teasing the audience with into Jay-Z and Kanye West’s N*ggas In Paris. Suffice it to say, the adrenaline rush from the audience was not defeated for the rest of the day.

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