Future Breaks: Soul Of Man (Uk), Freddy Fresh (Us), Nubreed (Live) - 3.12.2004
Author: Cameron Adams
Tuesday, 7 December 2004
There was definitely a strange vibe at the Metro last Friday. It was set to be a pretty big party - Finger Lickin' founders Soul of Man were headlining and Nubreed were playing their first Melbourne show since their overseas tour. But the numbers just weren't there. Two side rooms were planned, and I always look forward to chilling out in the observatory to the deep breaks of Dan Mangan et al, but due to the low turnout everyone was corralled onto the main dancefloor.
At the stroke of midnight, Ben Shepherd was still playing, Freddy Fresh having been scheduled to drop in right about now. Ben dropped Bushwacka!'s all time classic "Monster", which I thought was a good sign for the night, but I wasn't ultimately to be rewarded. At 12:40 Ben finally (and
curiously-) jumped onto the microphone and announced the Freshest of Freddies, who jumped straight into Mr. Shepherd's last tune with some skillful scratch tricks, then laid down his own big beats.
Freddy's adjective for the night was "old school". He played a total party set, which was a little wasted amidst the sparse dancefloor and lacklustre atmosphere of a deserted Metro. From breaks, to hip hop, to drum and bass - he played it all; scratching up a storm along the way. I'm not sure it was what the breaks crowd were expecting, and a few of his switch-ups threw the dancefloor for a while, but it was certainly some of the most fun I've had in a club recently. There's nothing like reliving an Elvis 1960's Vegas swing band moment in the middle of Melbourne.
Local heroes Nubreed were wheeled onstage shortly after 2:00. Freddy was possibly one of the strangest warm-ups they've probably had, but the dancefloor still managed to be respectfully full as they cranked up their Macs, synths and drum pads. The sound that Nubreed are renowned for works strange wonders. While a DJ playing the same bass warping tunes and deep breakbeats probably wouldn't make it onto the main stage, Nubreed manage to command a crowd partially because of the vibe that they bring as a live act. The guys have a great rapport with the crowd, particularly on songs such as "One Day" which have everyone singing along, but I feel that this was one of their less successful shows. I'm not sure whether it was their set list or the sound at the Metro, but for the 45 minutes they were on, I was struck by how flat and similar each of their songs were. "One Day"sounded a bit dubbed out, and the remainder of their songs, including "Qurious" and some new material, seemed to focus primarily on twisting the hell out of some deep bass synths and not much else. Still, average Nubreed is still good music, so it was hard not to dance.
Following on perfectly from those dark, dark sounds, the headliners - Soul of Man - stepped up to the decks and managed to transform that intensity into a signature Finger Lickin' sound: funky and raw, but enough menace to give it some balls. Justin and Jem laid down a set not heavy on the mixing, but with a great structure; starting out funky, then heading into darker, more driving breaks. It was a shame that at 4 o'clock there couldn't have been more than 50 people on the dancefloor to hear what they were cranking out. The ultra-heavy bass sounds they'd worked their way into for the second hour of their set started to get a little monotonous, and I could feel my legs getting weighed down with fatigue, but to climax, they pulled out Stereo 8's remix of Orbital's "One Perfect Sunrise", which is the perfect end to any set, and to which I just can't say no.
The sounds to be heard Friday night were a great reason to party, but the tumbleweeds rolling through the Metro totally negated them. Here's hoping it's not a bad sign for Futurebreaks, as the line-ups in every one of their past events - including this one -have been spot on. Just one small blip on the radar.