Stereosonic @ Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne (01/12/2012)

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In its sixth year, Australia’s fastest growing dance music festival Stereosonic doesn’t look like it’s about to slow down in any hurry. As long as it continues to serve up line-ups like this year’s, it’s sure to be here for a long, long time to come.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the one-day music festival is here to stay in the Australia’s dance music scene. Competition may have become fierce between the big players, but at the end of the day, Australians are getting the opportunity to see an increasing number of big name international artists, DJs and producers in their own city than ever before. Crossing genres, the mainstream and the underground, festivals like Stereosonic bring together clubbers and music lovers from across the ages, backgrounds and musical tastes. Depending on who you are, heading to a music festival in Melbourne can either be an amazing experience or a frustratingly exhausting day out. Over the past years, despite stellar line-ups, I’ve occasionally been in the latter, but thankfully in 2012, I was in the former … and I have Carl Cox and his friends to thank for that.

One thing that was evident immediately upon arrival this year was the shifting around of stages. Carl Cox’s Revolution had moved to the shed that previously had housed the Trance Stage, instead of being outside in the parade ring area. Initially I was quite disappointed with this however as the day progressed, I was very happy with that decision. The Bass Stage had grown from its small beginnings to be in a much larger and well equipped indoor space, with a storming set up for those of you who love the bass bins heavy. Lastly, the trance stage was now hidden around the corner from the main entrance, and if you hadn’t studied the map, you would have had buckley’s of finding it. Besides these changes, it was business as usual, with the main stage being the key focus for most punters and a high level of production. Luckily most of the attendees were quite happy to be located at the main stage all day – thanks to three of the headliners, Tiesto, Calvin Harris and Avicii being located here. Throw in Laidback Luke and Martin Solveig to the mix and you can see why the main stage was pretty much impossible to get anyway near from about late afternoon onwards. Big tunes, big artists.

But for me, it was all about the techno. And after the recent storming techno parties in Melbourne, namely the Capacity 1000 gig at Melbourne Music Week, I was keen for a proper Melbs techno day out. And by golly, did I get it! Heading to the Carl Cox Revolution pretty early on to enjoy short queues for drink cards and the bar (yes, they had drink tickets again), I was able to catch much of Nina Kraviz’s set. Expecting a slower set, she surprised me with her energetic deep house and techno sound, setting a nice tempo for the day ahead, though a smile couldn’t kill her. Shame this stage wasn’t that busy yet though, it deserved more attention even this early on.

Over at Kabuki, Orjan Nilsen was building the trance crowd up, an early time slot but already it was starting to gain momentum with the wider darker space. Fellow trancer Sander Van Doorn was rocking it out on the Sonic stage at the same time, possibly putting a few trance kids in a spin as they wanted to see both Sander and Orjan. After all this action and people watching of the kids streaming in (denim shorts and teeny tiny singlets seemed to be the uniform of the day), I headed back to CCR for one DJ top of my list to see today, Joris Voorn.

I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that I’ve never been disappointed with a set from Joris Voorn. The guy sure does know how to deliver, adapt and serve up quality sets – be it driving techno, melodic techno or a combination of both. Today, he didn’t let us down, playing a stormer of a set that I wish more people had been there to appreciate it. The set was a quality combination of classic techno tracks, reworks, drum n bass, glitchy and fun melodic driving beats. I forgot to train-spot as I was too busy dancing up a storm to all the classics, though I do remember him dropping a Lana Del Rey Video Games remix.

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Ben Royal

Ben Royal said on the 10th Dec, 2012

Great review. I also wish there were more people there for Voorn - he played a great set but it was pretty hot and bright in that shed at that time - and zero atmosphere. The sound quality was excellent - usually when trance is in there its tinny and bouncy. I think techno is much better suited to the dark shed where the Bass stage was this year.

Melbourne and Adelaide Stereosonics are on the same day because there is no public holiday after either weekend to hold Adelaides event on, like there is with FMF and Parklife. It's not economical to have the artists hang around another week to have Adelaides on a third weekend so they squeeze it in the same day as another states (Melbournes). While it's not ideal for Melbourne set times Im sure the Adelaide peeps would rather have dodgy set times than no Stereo at all. Melbourne will always be a bigger market so will ALWAYS have first choice when it comes to the set times (the headliner - Tiesto, AVB, Deadmau5 etc) will always play the closing set in Melbourne not Adelaide). If you think the set times are bad in Melbourne they are much worse in Adelaide (headliners on at 1pm etc).

The set times have become a lot better now that they're using private jets to fly the bigger names around - I'll never forget John Course into Infected Mushroom into Kaz James at Stereo Melbourne a few years ago!!