The Advent & Armand Van Helden
Date: Thursday April 9th 1998
Attractions/Facilities: Back for a second hard, minimal, electro FUNK ATTACK was Cisco Ferreira and Colin McBean, aka The Advent, 100% live and direct from the U.K. Also, for the first time in Australia, Armand Van Helden - the N.Y. hip/hop house pimp equipped with that exquisitely charming N.Y.attitude ("Yo, I love to fuck," he says). Local live acts included Honeysmack - seems like this guy has his finger stuck up everyone's pie nowadays! - and Mr Suspicious (Steve Law). Three rooms encompassed varying musical styles and showed off some of Melbourne's most impressive techno, house and hip hop DJs.
Crowd: Not as many as the Hardware crew obviously expected; numbers were down by a couple of hundred. Despite this, the Palace complex was what I'd call "nicely packed" not too empty and not full, with ample dancing space. That's the thing with the Palace. When it gets too crowded, the place can be likened to a sweat-drenched hell-hole of disastrous proportions, but when numbers are slightly down, the Palace can induce a wicked vibe that no other venue can. Numbers were down, which proved bad for the promoters, but good for the punters. Nevertheless, the house and techno rooms remained packed full of clubbers and ravers for the entire length of the event.
The Score: Walked though the doors of the Palace, past the dudes in black who looked like they'd eaten more than a few Big Macs. Felt the heat radiating from the main room into the foyer like Satan's Inferno (as you do - expect that from the Palace on any big party night). Took a trip to the toilet, passed some girls in knee high boots and short skirts. "What are youse doing tonight-" I hear one boob-tubed slut - uh, girl - ask the other. Uh oh, I think to myself. If the crowd's going to be like this.... But no fear. Thankfully that was a one-off encounter...! Walking into the main room, the illustrious Honeysmack was already doing his acid-shit thang and playing sound tricks on the dancers, bemusing them by abruptly cutting the music, then instantly resuming, firing funky acid stabs at them, thrilling them even more.
But it was the house room that captured my heart for the night. I am convinced that DJ John Course is a man with class and funk positively embedded in his soul. The fact that he can DJ weekly in one of the unfunkiest places in Melbourne, the suburb of Ringwood (home of the die-hard Cold Chisel fanatic and Ringwood Roller Rink) convinces me even more. Tonight, he's the purveyor of raw Chicago style house, vocal house, hard house and tech-house to a packed room of sweaty party-heads with itchy feet. Gorgeous stuff.
And then the mack-daddy of N.Y.C takes hold of the decks. He loves to fuck. He describes himself as a "playa." Surprisingly enough, he doesn't like to DJ. If this is true, then Armand Van Helden at least got to do one thing he loves. Simultaneously fucking with our minds and our bodies, he sprayed us with the rawest and sexiest of hip-hop inspired house beats, and for that moment in time, it seemed like the room was about to soar off and explode into a million fragments. Everyone was partying like it was the end of the millennium; it was warm, close, cheesy-grinned, it was "yee-haahhh!". Van Helden may be arrogant and a prick to boot, but he has to be respected for his open-minded approach to music, and his ability to re-invent himself. Not to mention his ability to discern what the crowd wants.
Meanwhile, the guys touted as "The Best International Act of 1997" were setting up on stage. If you have never seen the Advent before, you'd better hope that they come round again quite soon; their performances are some crazy-assed shit. These guys could hold a rocking party by themselves in a padded cell. As soon as they let loose with their warped style of hard electro mind-funk (or is that mind-fuck-) Cisco FerreTags