Our first night out back in Sydney after the European summer and also our first visit to a Voodoo event at Home nightclub in Darling Harbour. I was hoping that the improvements to Home would make it a more suitable venue for international trance acts – mainly that the sound system had been brought up to the standard you would expect from a club with pretensions to being the top club in the city. I was also very keen to hear Lange again, as the last time we’d seen him, at AND in Bondi Junction last year, he’d played such a great set. We’d seen Max Graham recently in London, but it was my first chance to catch Protoculture.

I was slightly surprised when I discovered that Lange was to be the first of the internationals to play, as I’d been expecting that Max Graham would be first up, as he had been at Ministry Of Sound back in July. Lange is a great DJ, but I didn’t feel that he was at his best on this occasion. Perhaps it was the early time-slot, or the crowd in the main room, but despite dropping some great tunes, such as his own cover of Hold That Sucker Down, Rank 1 – Airwave and the Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten remake of Loops N Tings, he never really captured me and I didn’t get any sense of journey through the hour and a half he played. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad set as such, but at his best he can be so much better. Maybe a smaller, more intimate venue suits him more?

Max Graham
was up next and he played a pretty decent set, without ever really threatening to up the pace and take the energy levels to a higher plane. Given the Sydney fashion for heading home at an earlier hour than happens in Europe, this was definitely the peak slot for the night and too often I felt a bit bored. Compared to the recent night at FSOE300 in Amsterdam, where the music was pumping at 138 BPM as early as 10.30pm, this was very tame by comparison. It strengthened my view that he should have played first. The highlight for me was when he dropped Max Graham feat. Neev Kennedy – Sun In The Winter towards the end of his set. But I would have preferred a much more uplifting mix.

I was beginning to feel frustrated by the lack of energy in the music and when Protoculture started his set at a similar level, we decided that it was time to call it a night. The reports I heard suggested that his set was neither great nor awful, but that every time he started to take things up, more people left the club, so he had to bring things back to where they were. Perhaps this is inevitable and Voodoo and Home nightclub between them will draw in crowds which want a style of trance that isn’t really one to excite me, and even DJs who would prefer to play a different style will be held back by their reading of the crowd. Let’s hope not.

A last word on the changes to Home, which are fairly minor. The sound was better than my recollection from my previous visit, but was still not as impressive as you would expect from a venue like this and certainly nowhere near the standard we’d got used to in Europe this year. But the stage set-up, lights and lasers were definitely up a notch from before, although the stage dancers were a bit lame and completely unnecessary.

It wasn’t a bad night – we enjoyed ourselves and had a chance to see friends we’d not seen for a couple of months, but it wasn’t one that will be stored in the memory banks and talked about in months and years to come. We’ll be back at Home next week for Voodoo with The Thrillseekers and hoping for something significantly better.