Well it was a weekend of contrasting nights out in Sydney.  From a fantastic night of real trance at Havana club, courtesy of SonarAxe to the worst set I have endured in many years, at Space (but more of that later).

But let’s start by saying just how brilliant Friday night was.  We arrived towards the end of the set by the Genesis guys, Nick Arbor and Tommy Knight, giving us time to find and say hi to all our friends there before Arctic Moon started just after 11pm.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I have to confess I wasn’t really familiar with Arctic Moon’s style.  But right from the start, he had me gripped … within a few minutes he’d dropped Photographer’s tune of the moment, Airport and swiftly mixed in the Giuseppe Ottaviani remix of Paul van Dyk’s I Don’t Deserve You. I could tell at that point that this set was going to be a special one and so it proved.

While the club was not massively packed out, nearly everyone was on the dance floor, so good was the music – and this added to the intimate feel and connection between the DJ and the dancers.  Arctic Moon’s two-hour set flew by and when he closed with Oceanlab’s classic, Satellite, the crowd went crazy – the singing along almost drowned out Justine Suissa’s voice!

This set the scene perfectly for Indecent Noise.  I’ve been a fan of his from listening to his Radio Bosh show/podcast and from a few live sets I’ve come across on the internet.  Clearly a leading exponent of the “life begins at 140” school, this was the first time I’d seen him play, having failed to last the night at Global Gathering in the UK last year, when he closed the Godskitchen stage back to back with Bryan Kearney.

Sometimes there’s a danger that having very high expectations of a DJ can lead to a bit of disappointment when they are only very good and not absolutely blow-you-away awesome.  This wasn’t one of those nights.  I probably had a slight dip in energy after the great set by Arctic Moon, but after 30 minutes or so, I was back in full swing and being taken on a journey towards euphoria as Indecent Noise packed in tune after tune after tune.  The atmosphere on the floor was electric and everyone was clearly having a great night – uplifting, hands in the air, fist-pumping stuff.

This is what real trance can do and what the new fashionable slowed down trance/house crossover that we hear all too often these days simply doesn’t do for me (and many others).  Then, like Arctic Moon before him, Indecent Noise closed his set with an Oceanlab classic, On A Good Day – refreshingly not the mash-up with Gareth Emery’s Metropolis that has become so overplayed.

The Poles gave way to Matt Bowdidge.  Matt is a true blue Aussie, of course, but these days he’s billed as a U.K. DJ, as he has moved to London.  And there’s nothing wrong with having a foot in each camp, as it were, as far as I’m concerned!  Unlike Arctic Moon and Indecent Noise, who I hadn’t seen play before, this was my fifth time seeing Matt play, so I’m pretty familiar with what he does and knew that it would make for an ideal way to close out the night.

In typical Sydney fashion, the club was beginning to thin out as 4am approached but those who remained were still having a fantastic time as Matt kept up the tempo and spirit of the event.  While I wouldn’t say the set was at the level of the Trance Sanctuary show in London last September (see earlier post), that would have been tough to achieve and I was still having a great time and unable to leave the dance floor.

And as a nice little treat to end the night, for the last half hour, Indecent Noise came back behind the decks and played back to back with Matt.

I was going to write a separate note about the weekend’s other event, Judgement Australia, with Judge Jules and Sean Tyas.  But in truth, the least said about it the better.  Judge Jules was simply awful beyond description.  Seriously, how can any DJ think that a trance crowd wants to hear Ummet Ozcan’s The Box mashed up with Europe’s The Final Countdown?  Yes, really.  But that probably wasn’t the worst of it.  The whole set was garbage and the room which had been fairly busy (though not packed by any means) for DJ Ange’s warm-up set, got emptier and emptier as people either went to the other room (with a hard trance line-up), downstairs to watch Premiership football on the TV, home, or on to an early after-party.

We only stayed to the end of Judge Jules’s set because we hoped that Sean Tyas might save the night.  And perhaps there was a disbelief that it could continue to be so nasty – or a ghoulish sense of enjoyment from witnessing the grim scene of a disaster unfolding. But by the time Tyas had played 20 minutes, we realised that the mood had left us, and his start hadn’t convinced us to stay.  If anyone stayed the course and wants to offer an opinion, please add a comment.  What a complete contrast from Friday night.  From the sublime to the depths in 24 hours.  At least we had fun at the pre-drinks.