Warehouse Winter Music Festival @ AIS Arena (31/05/2008)
First impressions upon entering the AIS Arena for Saturday’s Warehouse Winter Music Festival – wow! The Friction/Lexington Music boys know how to throw a party! Following on from the success of Foreshore last December the boys decided to step it up and bring some huge international acts to the capital including Utah Saints, Mix Master Mike, Bonde De RolíƒÆ’í‚Âª, DJ A Skillz and headliners Hybrid.
With three separate spaces there was something for everyone ensuring that the festival was rocking all day and night. The smaller spaces of The Club and The Terrace provided a little retreat from the vastness of The Arena’s main stage. The Club decked out with old TV’s and a distinct 90’s vibe rocked all day with festival goers floating between the three stages. Game Boy/Game Girl were one of the highlights here bringing their quirky and nerdy live act to Canberrans for the first time. Meanwhile out on The Terrace playing from the back of a Dodge pickup Canberra’s Michael O’Rourke, Sean Kelly, Club Junque and many others provided luscious tunes to those preferring to chill out in the beer garden. Later in the night however, The Terrace looked more like a messy, trashy, backyard party perhaps at Corey’s house, however it continued to provide an escape from the The Arena when ears needed a rest!
There is no doubt however that The Arena was the place to be. In fact you could have danced your booty off all day at the main stage. With an amazing stage set up like a boom-box, complete with DJ’s playing from the cassette deck, killer audio visuals, perfect sound and psychedelic lighting it was clear the organisers had not skipped out on any extras ensuring the perfect dance festival vibe. It really did feel like a mid-90’s rave only surrounded by about 7000 people!
Fashion is always a highlight of any festival and the Warehouse was no exception. In many ways it was the war of fluro versus the flannie, or perhaps the changing of the guard. Whichever it was we’re not sure which is the better of the two evils. It is however endlessly entertaining to see boys attempting to – “be cool’ with fluro head bands and short cut-off jeans. It comes to a point where you wonder – “Did you look in the mirror and think, yeah I look h-o-t in this?’, nonetheless the fashion added to the festival vibe with a sea of flannies jumping and dancing in unison to the crashing sounds in The Arena.
Kid Kenobi played a tight set, although making the oh so awful faux pas of addressing the crowd as – “ladies and gentleman, Sydney!’, this is Canberra kid. Nevertheless, the crowd loved getting down to the duo’s mix including Justin Timberlake, Dizzee Rascal, Kate Bush and The Presets, although the My People vocals are without doubt best left in the capable hands of Julian Hamilton. I guess it’s impressive you could see MC Shureshock’s pecs from over 100 metres away. Is it? I’m still not sure.
Next up Mix Master Mike took to the stage representing Beastie Boys seamlessly continuing the high-energy vibe developing in The Arena. His mastery was not lost on the Canberra crowd with many fans in awe of Mix Master Mike’s amazing turntablist skills. Highlights of his set included Blur’s Song 2 and of course for all the Beastie Boys fans Intergalactic got the crowd pumping. In a surprise addition to the lineup, UK’s DJ A Skillz dropped some beats and took the crowd to where they needed to be, a state of elation, with a mix that included Daft Punk, Fat Man Scoop and Michael Jackson.
But it was the high-energy live act Bonde De RolíƒÆ’í‚Âª that many were waiting in anticipation for. This may have mostly been the non fluro/flannie contingent of the crowd as they seemed to look confused when the sexy but unconventional Brazilian’s brought their rocking indie funk/pop/metal to the stage. With their hot dance moves slamming hips backwards and forwards they delighted the crowd with Office Boy, Marina Gasolina finishing up with Solta o Frango. Friends of the crazy Brazilian’s Game Boy/Game Girl joined in on the craziness as well. Bonde De RolíƒÆ’í‚Âª were one of the absolute highlights of the festival.
Next up The Potbelleez kept the vibe going with Dave Goode and Jonny Sonic on the decks and Blue MC and Ilan Kidron providing live vocals, the energy and excitement was palpable. The crowd went crazy when the Sydney based foursome played Warehouse anthem Don’t Hold Back live. Are You With Me and Duuurty Dreemz were also crowd favourites.
In what is a worldwide resurgence of dance music, 90’s dance sensation Utah Saints played their first ever show in Australia at the Warehouse Festival, in what the boys acknowledged as a – “special night for them’. And they certainly showed us just why the resurgence of 90’s dance music is so cool. The 7000 strong crowd went crazy for the Van She Tech remix of hit Something Good, as the Leeds boys controlled the euphoric crowd like any good DJ should. But these two aren’t just any DJ’s, they are the Utah Saints and they busted out a killer set which included Michael Jackson, ACDC and Kate Bush. The message here kids is lose the fluro and dig out that vintage Hypercolour tee, the 90’s are back.
Finishing up this fantastic Canberra festival was fellow Englishmen Hybrid delivering their trance/house beats to the crowd. By this point, most of the crowd had been dancing for a good 7 or 8 hours but they clearly had a little left in the tank for Hybrid.
The obvious success of the Warehouse Winter Music Festival leaves Canberrans on the edge of our collective seats as we await the announcement of the lineup for the Foreshore Summer Music Festival. Can’t wait boys!