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With all the international DJs visiting Australia these days, there seems to be at least one opportunity every weekend in Sydney to catch a big or up-and-coming trance name – often three on the same line-up. This seems to have crowded out the chances for local DJs to show their talents to proper effect, in headlining roles as opposed to support slots. But a new night, Focus, has arrived on the scene that aims to fill that gap, giving one local DJ a three-hour set at peak time to show what they can do.

And in a move to beat Sydney’s ridiculous new lockout and curfew laws, the chosen venue, the Valve Bar, above the Agincourt Hotel, lies metres outside the CBD zone in which the restrictions apply. This Saturday’s launch event featured Scott Richardson, with supporting sets from Pato de Gomah and Rossco. An encouraging number of people showed up for this opening night and hopefully Focus can build on this – and perhaps do something to encourage people out of the smoking area and onto the dance floor, which would do a lot to improve the atmosphere and possibly the acoustics too.

This was an enjoyable night, with good music and a lot of friends I haven’t seen for quite a while. Scott’s set included tunes like Tiësto – Lethal Industry, Bossanova – Stone Cold, Oakenfold – Southern Sun (Thomas Datt Remix), Adam Ellis – Napalm Poet, John Askew – Mechanism and Veracocha – Carte Blanche (Alex M.O.R.P.H. Remix) and was mixed with his usual panache using his laptop and controller set-up. Rossco dropped Nu NRG – Dreamland and Push – Universal Nation early on, which made it extremely difficult to pull ourselves away to catch the bus home, but after a second big night in a row, we didn’t have much choice.

Overall, I’d say that Focus had a successful first night and shows the potential to develop into  a worthwhile addition to Sydney’s trance scene. The keys to this will be improving the sound on the dance floor and keeping the numbers up. There is no shortage of talented local DJs to play at nights like these, so let’s wish them success.

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