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Sharam @ Home for Ministry of Sound, Sydney

Author: Patricia Escalon
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
Sharam is one half of the famous duo Deep Dish, based in Washington DC. Winners of the 2005 International Dance Music Awards, the DanceStar USA Award three years in a row and the 2004 Ibiza DJ Award, Deep Dish are mixmasters par excellence. In January this year, their album 'Party All The Time (P.A.T.T.)' stayed in the UK Top 10 for three consecutive weeks.

With a pedigree like this, you would expect Sharam's set at Home to be a flawless gig.

Alas, we are all human.

The venue did not help. Accustomed to dancing in the wide and beautifully designed spaces of Family, The Met and Uber in Brisbane, Home seemed decidedly dowdy.

The entrance hallway swallowed a third of the ground floor, the stage the other third, resulting in a tiny dance floor. The second level circled the dance floor from above, but it was very narrow.

Sharam started off with techno loops and hard house. His interest in the crowd at this stage was minimal, and the audience was a suburban melange of 18-21 year olds in their weekend threads and extremely nonchalant about the music.

After an hour of hard house, he transitioned to a deeper, longer rhythm, throwing a hybrid percussion in for fun. The crowd started dancing, enjoying the loop which he spiralled into a climax as he turned up the temperature.

Once he had the whole nightclub pumping, Sharam moved into deep bass trance again. The strobe light went white as every single person had their hands in the air. Sharam still held back, spinning only metallic sounds. He alternated between deep and high beats.

As the set progressed, he inserted Middle-Eastern sounds into the mix. An Italian voice rode over an African beat, with a sweet, light reverb on the bottom of the track. Finally, the Deep Dish sound emerged - chilled out, high-energy beats with a melody. After playing with dub, keyboard notes and lyrics, he layered in a flamenco beat with a soft concentric techno loop, a woman's voice ululating over the top.

Upstairs, the crowd was rowdier but very disjointed. Sharam added intensity to the track, with less dub and more hard house and African beats. The rhythm galloped, forcing everyone into contortions.

Reading the crowd, Sharam adjusted tempo, adding reverb, with a psychedelic bent. He moved into sultry and cheeky songs, tapping into the dancers' mood, bringing out the anthems, aping a joyful heartbeat.

When he felt the crowd was ready, he pulled out Party All The Time, pushing them over the edge. After blowing the top off the club, he went mellow, repetitive and hypnotic.

Suddenly, Sharam revved it up into a leg-slapping, hair-flying frenzy, rounding it off with deep drums. Towards the end, he moved into a melodic tempo and beat, similar to little pebbles raining on the ground, a high finish with soft edges.

Although Sharam's set started out hard, his exit was bubbly and happy. His goodbye song was true soul music, making the crowd delirious. He bowed to the crowd, thanking them as they extended their hands out to him, caressing the turntables as he walked out.
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