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Jeff Mills, Metro, Melbourne 19/11/04 Review

Author: Patrick Riley
Thursday, November 25, 2004
When I heard that Jeff Mills was returning to Melbourne, I couldn't have
been happier - it had been 6 years since the first and last time I saw him
and he blew my mind. I can happily report that he lived up to the hype.

I arrived at the Metro to the strains of Dave Pham rinsing some tough but
funky electro-tech and really getting into it. It was great to see a DJ so
obviously moved by the music they were playing.

After a bit of a boogie, I went for a wander to scope the venue out. Having
only been there once before for a hip-hop show, I was curious to see how the
Metro would suit a proper party and was pretty happy with the results. For a
relatively big venue, it was surprisingly intimate.

In the course of my meanderings, I was delighted to stumble across JFX on
the Factory floor, playing a remix of DJ Rush's Get on Up along with a
couple of other hard techno gems. When I got back downstairs, Pham had moved
to a more thumping, minimal style that had the crowd jumping.

Up next was Matt Radovic, who delivered an eclectic set. After pleasing the
crowd by opening with MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This and seamlessly melding
it with hard techno beats, he threw in a couple of breaks tracks before
settling into some soulful techno and finishing at the harder end of the
spectrum. He also managed to drop Chick's on Speed's Wordy Rapping Hood
somewhere in the middle and actually make it work.

I only caught part of Phunk De Sonique's set, but what I heard was pretty
impressive. The deep, sometimes-atmospheric techno they churned out was a
great intro to Mills and captured that special something that only comes
from live dance music.

As PDS left the stage, the crowd seemed to double in size and the atmosphere
turned electric in anticipation - the Wizard was about to grace the decks.
He didn't mess around, immediately getting stuck into some phat,
Detroit-sounding tunes such as Gaetek's CNFR 005 A1.

The much vaunted visual component of Mills' performance was pretty
interesting, with pre-recorded footage of his work behind the decks looped
and synchronised with the music. Nonetheless, it paled in comparison with
the quality of his actual DJing as he took the crowd on an excursion through
all things techno, with occasional forays into house.

Mills' expertise behind the decks was evident as he seemed to fly through
his tunes, but still gave each one enough time to be appreciated. I was
pleased to hear Devilfish's Man Alive and was about to leave the dancefloor
(which at times seemed more like a mosh pit!) when that familiar pulsing
bassline kicked in and the crowd roared as The Bells rang through the Metro.

Unfortunately, something went wrong and the sound cut out a bit after 3:30.
However, within about 15 minutes, a replacement set of decks was brought out
and off he went again, doing well not to lose too much of the momentum he'd
generated in the preceding 2 hours. All in all, it was an excellent set.

Ben Cromack took over from Mills and belted out some furious tribal tech. It
was really rocking, but I had to leave half way through to catch a Scott
Alien/Itchy versus set, which kicked off with the Beastie Boy's Fight for
Your Right (to Party) before descending into some really dirty, sleazy
techno. About half an hour later, the acid lines started to roll, with
Dynamo City's squat party anthem One Night in Hackney and Audio Pancake's
Vader's Dinner filling the floor. To top it all off, they absolutely smashed
the audience by closing with Solar Quest's Acid Air Raid.

I decided to leave on that high note, absolutely sated and reminded of
exactly why I got into parties to begin with. Congratulations to Hardware
for putting on a fantastic night.