The weekend’s big event in Sydney was A Night Of Trance’s 10th Birthday.  Now people who’ve been in Sydney a lot longer than me might reminisce about what a great night ANOT used to be and how they cut their trance teeth on it, back in the day. But I’ve been in Sydney for four and a half years now and in this time there’s only been one other ANOT event.  So, while it was an anniversary of sorts, I’m not sure they could really claim to be “celebrating 10 years of trance” and I did wonder whether it would have the drawing power needed for a large three stage venue. An early start of 7pm also seemed a little odd, but perhaps that was down to the venue and the restrictions it operates under?

In fact, I liked the venue, although it was definitely too big for the numbers who came. A large main room with good sound, a nicely intimate second room and the “Courtyard” or outside space was also well set up with a good sound … so often it can be difficult to get decent sound quality in an outside space. And I really enjoyed the music I heard, too.

We arrived as Zac Slade and Duress were playing back to back in the Courtyard and we spent a few minutes saying hellos and then exploring the venue to get a feel for the place. Rossco was playing in the main room, but it was still early and the floor was pretty empty. We caught some of Avian’s set in the second room, run by Transience, and back to the main room for Steve Strangis. But it was only just before 11pm that the place filled up to any great extent and it was clear that people had come for MaRLo.

We were far keener to catch Alex ‘Chico’ Arias out in the Courtyard.  He started at 11pm too, taking over from Toby Matrix, who I was told played a great set on vinyl. Chico delivered another great set – I love the tunes he chooses and the way he puts them all together. Possibly because it was outside, Chico’s set was finished at midnight, when I’m sure all present would have loved him to play for longer. It was certainly my favourite set of the many I heard on the night. But now it was over and so we moved back to the main room for MaRLo’s set.

The room was still far from packed, but there was a respectable number of people enjoying the music.  I went in with no great expectations about the music but I did enjoy the set – or the second half of it, which is basically what we caught.  He got everyone doing a hand-waving dance to his new track, Boom – which seems to be the tune of the moment.  It’s not too bad, but I’m not convinced about the choreographed waving that he encourages – maybe I’m being a bit churlish?  But I was extremely happy to hear him drop his remix of Ferry Corsten’s smash, Brainbox. Tune!

At 1am, MaRLo handed over to Scott Richardson – the DJ I was probably most keen to see … it’s been a while since Scott has played in Sydney and he’s undoubtedly one of the very best of the local DJs we have.  But he’s not an “international” with the force of an Armada behind him and, sadly, it seemed that the crowd who had come for MaRLo weren’t interested to find out what Scott had to offer.  Within a few minutes the crowd had melted away and there were maybe only a third of the people left in the room to enjoy Scott’s set.

Those who left early missed a great set from Scott – lots of classics: Solarstone – Seven Cities (Thomas Datt Remix), Jurgen Vries – The Theme, Ralphie B – Massive, Oceanlab – Satellite, Tiësto – Lethal Industry (Richard Durand Remix), NuNRG – Dreamland, O’Callaghan & Kearney – Exactly, Binary Finary – 1998 (Alex M.O.R.P.H. Remix), Armin van Buuren – Burned With Desire and many more.  I loved it, just a pity that so many people left before the end of the night.  What is it with this city?  It’s not like 3am is a late finish, or that most people had arrived early, after all.