John Askew (Uk)ministry Of Sound) & Miss Mel - 19.2.2005
Author: Mark Burton
Thursday, 3 March 2005
Having caught a couple Miss Mel's appearances behind the decks in the last few months, including a great set at 5am's recent party with Christopher Lawrence, it only seemed appropriate to see off one of Melbourne's leading trance DJs in style before she moves to Queensland, and who better to share the headlines than one of the UK's leading trance producers and most under-rated DJs, John Askew. His Discover and Discover Dark labels, part of the Duty Free stable, are leading the way with quality up-front trance from artists such as John O'Callaghan, Castaneda and Arc in the Sky and his monthly residency at London club Turnmills' famed Friday-nighter The Gallery continues to keep the punters happy.
We arrived at Altitude as Miss Mel's farewell set was getting into full swing with the sizeable crowd grooving to the electro-laden beats of Ferry's Rock Your Body Rock! This offered a good insight into what was in store for the rest of her set, as she skilfully weaved a selection of favourite anthems from the last decade, with classic pieces of vocal trance such as Skydive, Tiesto's In Search Of Sunrise Remix of Delerium's Silence, Chicane's Saltwater, Paul van Dyk's For an Angel and Agnelli and Nelson's Holding onto Nothing to name a few, alongside the more riff-driven bliss of Push's Universal Nation and Marco V's rework of the classic techno gem, Loops and Tings. Fittingly she wrapped things up with Oakie's Perfecto remix of U2's Perfect Day ending one of Altitude's longest serving residencies in style.
It was three thirty and a moment I'd been waiting a long while for, John Askew's Melbourne debut. He got things off to a storming start playing the White Eskimo's cheeky remix of the Prodigy favourite Voodoo People before heading down a hard techy route, and just when things needed some familiarity he dropped Kyau and Albert's remix of The Ridgewalkers's Find, which the crowd loved. The slamming steely basslines and cool, crisp riffs which characterise his own productions seemed to come to the fore, his latest offering Shadows after Dark got a play, as well as numerous others including Marc Van Linden's remix of Marcos' Cosmic String, Ozone's Rock and his own remix of John O'Callaghan & Grant Kearney's Restricted Motion, with vocals kept to an absolute minimum, making it particularly difficult to ID tracks.
Unfortunately by this stage the crowd had thinned out a bit, and also the Male to Female ratio was on the up big time, a problem which seems to dog the genre in Melbourne. The rest of his set proceeded on similar lines, with the Cheeky Eric bootleg of Alex MORPH's Unification and Call on Me provoking a broad smile from behind the turntables, before he returned to the darker side of the genre, with more of his own productions getting a play including old gems Blackout, Vellum and his remix of Thomas Datt's 2v2. All in all a great set, with a relentless bassline underpinning it from start to finish, which reminded me of Paul van Dyk. If anyone needed an antidote to cheesy, unsubtle trance which blights this purer side, then this was it. I managed to have a quick chat with him at the end of his set, which considering he was playing in Sydney the next day made a refreshing change to the surly couldn't give a toss attitude that so many of his peers seem to sadly possess, and what a nice bloke he was too, come back soon John! Finally, a big thank you to Altitude for booking him when it looked as if no-one was prepared to do so, nice one!