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Illusive Presents The Crystal Method @ The Metro 02/07/2004

Author: Cameron Adams
Tuesday, 6 July 2004
The first "Uprock" event was slated to be a big one. Big headliners: The Crystal Method, big venue: the Metro, and big hair: that dude down the front.

Down from Sydney, Elroy was playing to a half filled dancefloor just past midnight while MC Losty provided some capable microphone backing. As with most MCs on big sound systems I could only understand every fourth word -- his lyrical dexterity getting drowned out by the speaker-vibrating beats -- but he definitely knew how to freestyle and worked in well with the tracks. Elroy's sound was stereotypical Sydney party breaks, which can get a bit tiresome at times ("She not in", "Superstylin'", "Emit/Collect") and he wasn't doing any particularly creative mixing, but the crowd were getting fairly warmed up.

Just before the end of his set, I decided to take the long haul up the stairs into Rebar where EK was seamlessly stirring up some nice, deep breaks. He was playing craftsman to Elroy's bombadier, and I was left in no doubt as to who came out on top: EK's tune selection is as classy as his productions. Further away from the big speakers, some nice chilled beats were being laid down by Ant. J Steep over the Bourke street lookout -- the perfect place to relax and get charged up. Quick note: Metro has the most miserly serves of Baileys in Melbourne.

Back in the mainroom, Ben Shepherd was giving the Melbourne crowd what they wanted: big, tough breaks, but with enough funk to get you moving. Delivered with Ben's old-hand experience and talent, it made the dancefloor fill pretty rapidly. As opposed to Elroy, Ben layered his tracks superbly, giving you just enough breathing space without getting bored. His surgical precision on the effects unit makes those huge breakdowns even huger, and when the beat kicks back in, the crowd goes crazy. Even though I wanted to save my legs for The Method, Ben forced me to get up and dance, and was probably the reason I couldn't walk the next day.

Ben's final bomb inspired MC Losty to some impromptu rhyming, while in the background we could see The Crystal Method getting pumped. I was up on the baclony with a perfect view of the stage, and the two guys -- Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland -- looked a bit ... well ... drunk. Scott was spiritedly massacring a water bottle by testing its bouncability on the stage while Ken played it dark and menacing.

I'll say it straight off the bat. I wasn't too impressed with the Method. For guys that rate DJing as fourth on their list of priorities, it certainly showed. It was disappointing to me because I really liked "Community Service" -- their only mix album -- but based on their recent showing I can only assume it wasn't mixed live. Throughout the night the duo seemed to be complaining about the mixing console, so that might have affected them, but I didn't see anyone else have any problems that night.

Their opening of dark, atmospheric breaks stripped back the frenetic energy which Ben had built up, giving the crowd some respite, while setting up their trademark sound. In any case, the floor was so packed at the beginning that not much dancing could be had downstairs, so I found myself a nice spacious spot on one of the walkways above to have a little groove.

Ken and Scott tag teamed throughout the night, each playing a few records while the other cavorted around the stage. I think that within the chest of both of them beats the heart of a repressed rocker -- Scott had fun behind the decks with some classic rock god poses, and they were both jumping around in front of the decks mid-song, but I'm not sure they quite captured the crowd. Halfway through their set there was a fair bit of space on the dancefloor, which allowed me to get down off the walkway and sample them from ground level. Their set got progressively funkier, more into DJ Hyper territory -- their two penultimate tunes were DJ Hyper's remix of their own "Bound Too Long" and his remix of Sarah McLachlan's "World on Fire" -- but they p
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