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'Southern Soapbox #2' - Mal Chia

Author: Mal Chia
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Mal Chia's inside scoop on the Adelaide dance music scene, must-see-cinema and the occasional half-baked (yet oddly compelling and logical) theory

Welcome to the second instalment of 'Southern Soapbox' where procrastination is part of the office furniture.

The festive season is well and truly upon, readily apparent not just by the gaudy decorations and rising sugar content of diets, but by the increasingly weighty content of gig guides with nary a weekend, or even a few days passing, before something else worthwhile crops up. Fans of 'progressive' music could be forgiven for thinking the holidays had arrived early with John Digweed, Sasha, Nic Fanciulli, Desyn Masiello, King Unique and James Zabiela all touring within the past couple of months. In Adelaide we have to make do with a fraction (okay, one) from that list, but with the very talented Masiello rocking out at Sugar to a full house in support of his equally brilliant 'Balance 008' compilation. Proving to be one of our best nights ever, it more than made up for this.

In my last column I mentioned the annual Enchanted Festival. Held about a 70mins drive out of the city, it is consistently the biggest dance music event on the Adelaide calendar. This year it was good to see some proper representation of a broader spectrum of electronic music. In particular, Martin Solveig, Dirty South and Chris Meehan braved the sweltering day and the freezing night, along with endless hoards of mosquitoes, to educate the younger rave generation.

While there, a trend I have been sporadically keeping tabs on for several years surfaced again. Standing by the side of the stage, I was approached by a fluffy, day-glo raver who, after congratulating me on my set, enquired as to my DJ name. "Mal Chia," I replied. With a confused expression, raver says, "so what's your real name-" "Mal Chia." Now clearly caved, raver walks off into the glowstick-lit throng, like a moth to the flame. Is using your real name a la Dave Seaman, Pete Tong, genre specific, locale, or is it personal preference dependent on how lame your real name is- My first thought was that it was genre specific, but Andy Farley, Paul Glazby, et al soon put that to rest. In Melbourne and Sydney, there are a larger proportion of DJs using their real name than in Adelaide, Perth or Brisbane, which a cursory glance at any gig guide should tell you. But seeing as the latter cities are possibly more rave-oriented with smaller populations, my Sunday mornings are now spent formulating a loose theory that takes into account genre, location and crapness of given name.

The Christmas-New Years bracket is chock-a-block in Adelaide as, in no particular order, Stanton Warriors, Krafty Kuts, Derrick Carter, Swirl People and Kosheen (live) make a visit, along with the requisite hard house and d'n'b acts. For once, Adelaide clubbers can claim to be spoiled for choice, with the preponderance of quality acts touring here an indication that 2006 is shaping up to be a banner year with Damian Lazarus, Omid 16B, Joey Negro, Andy C, Carl Cox and Lee Burridge… and that's January alone! For like-minded individuals, Lazarus, Omid and Burridge are my locks for the month.

Finally, if you are heading down to the Cineplex, go and see Peter Jackson's King Kong. Believe the hype, it is a blockbuster in every sense of the word, and definitely one of the films of the year. Action, suspense and a tragic love story; if I had tear ducts I would have cried.

Until then have a Merry Christmas/Happy Chanukah/Joyful Festivus (highlight answer),

Chia. Out.

Mal Chia has been running Adelaide dance music event company, Fabric Promotions' with Kit Cheong since 2001. He was voted 'Best Progressive DJ' at the most recent South Australian Dance Music Awards. For more info on Fabric Promotions and a bio on Mal Chia check out Fabric Promotion's website