To finish off our musical year, we headed along to Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory for the first instalment of RISE – a new Sydney club night, with a strong flavour of uplifting trance. The second half of 2014 hasn’t been too great in terms of the numbers of international trance DJs visiting Sydney, even if the nights when they have played have all been great fun. With a new club brand on the scene, let’s hope that 2015 sees the quality maintained and the frequency increased.

RISE has a pretty good formula. Uplifting trance and a really good venue. It’s a simple recipe, but one that I find completely satisfying. The Oxford Art Factory is small and intimate and the sound is generally very good. There are one or two parts of the club where it can seem a bit muffled, but a couple of steps in any direction and the problem goes away. With a wonderful laser show courtesy of Man Lie and plenty of trance-loving friends, the perfect atmosphere for a top night is created. My only quibble is that it was really hot, perhaps because the club was so full as a result of the night being sold out. But that gave our friends the ideal chance to put their new Tüne folding fans to use!

We arrived during Tonto and Dejan‘s back-to-back warm-up set, which set things up nicely for the first international, Craig Connelly. Hailing from Manchester, Connelly’s big hit came last year, with Black Hole, featuring the vocals of Christina Novelli. Early on in the set, I wasn’t sure if it was exactly my thing: tunes like Ummet Ozcan – The Box are well known, but not really my cup of tea. But in the second half, as he dropped tunes like Ferry Tayle – The Way Back Home, Tritonal feat. Cristina Soto – Everafter, the afore-mentioned Black Hole and Above & Beyond – Thing Called Love, I really enjoyed the music and would have been happy for him to continue, had it not been time for Photographer to take over.

This was Photographer‘s second visit to Sydney, after November 2013’s Digital Therapy, where he disappointed with a shortened set, having had, perhaps, rather too much to drink beforehand. But this time he was on his game and gave us a fantastic set of real 140BPM uplifting trance. I knew we were in for a treat early on, when he played Ferry Corsten’s classic – Radio Crash. We also heard Coming Soon!! – Become One, Aly & Fila – Laily (Photographer Remix), Dash Berlin feat. Roxanne Emery – Shelter (Photographer Remix) and, of course, Photographer – Airport (the tune that brought this Ukrainian DJ Producer to everyone’s attention). He closed with John O’Callaghan feat. Audrey Gallagher – Big Sky and it was obvious that this was going to be a hard act to follow.

Next up was Harmonic Rush, from Dubai, of Persian extraction, known for his psy-trance productions. And he delivered an awesome set which, for me at least, proved to be the best of the night. I’m not so familiar with psy-trance, so didn’t pick up on all the tunes he dropped, apart from Astrix – Vicious Cycles, Will Atkinson pres. Dark Boy – Atkinsane and Harmonic Rush – The Dark Side Of Persia (Ahmed Romel Remix). I’d love to see a tracklist of his set, as it would be great to hear these tunes again.

Binary Finary
closed the night and although we couldn’t stay till the end, it was clear that a very good number of people were going to do so … a clear sign of a successful night. This first edition of RISE gets full marks from me and I’m definitely looking forward to future instalments.