by ladylex for inthemix.
Original article :: here.
The Naughtiest 5 Year Old on the Block
Back I was to continue in the celebration of Family’s 5th birthday. Last night I observed a sense of valediction; a farewell to the apprised. The chosen theme to celebrate this important birthday alluded to Hellenistic revelry, and thus reminiscent to the time of Cleopatra and Mark Antony; lush with lifestyle, ornate in overtones and classic in charm. The fading epoch of the Ptolemaic dynasty giving way to the impending Roman one, somehow seemed symbolic to the celebrations of Brisbane’s biggest club – the taking on of a new eon. The Greco-Roman busts were still in attendance in the Main Room and Uncle; the armless figures accommodating solemn faces and quite contrary to the merrymaking that surrounded them. The camel still reclined beneath palm fronds under the stairs. The long-handled disc-shaped ceremonial fans of the Pharoah bisected the head of the DJ in the Lounge and strewn baskets lay close to the Amphora under the sheet covered ceiling of Uncle while a magnificent ice carving of Tutankhamun adorned the Ice Bar in the lounge. The atmosphere was quite spectacular; as it should be for Family to reach a cornerstone in its industrious though young life deserves observance and reflection.
The entry lines for this evening were tremendous. People knew it was a special celebration and were out in force determined to participate in the spree. Finally gaining admittance thanks to the warm encouragement of Tash, I walked into firm beats and noxious rhythms. The music was compelling; and thus impelled, I immediately went to the source. The booth was dark and empty – quite unlike the evening before where I had left what seemed the ongoings of a mini party. But on the Main stage was a simple setup for discs and a percussion rig. And navigating this elementary system was Habebe. The dancefloor surged beneath his baleful gaze; a restless and swelling human sea. His tiny pigtail momentarily reminded me of Pigsy from Monkey Magic, as he turned his head to note the movements of the crowd. Strong beats pulsated across the system and into the perpetual; the offbeats slowly integrating into four strong beats before culminating softly but actively on The One. Each tune had a smooth introduction heralding its presence, the build up in anticipation wonderfully invariable and overwhelming. Bebe really knew how to get the kids jumping. His throbbing drum beats thudded into the balls of your feet, as a penetrating long note erupted into a phaser. He pulled back on energy, politely allowing us to take a breath before determinedly pushing you onto the next degree.
Up in Uncle, JC and Rikki Newton were thrashing it out within the pentagonal confines of the room. Saxophone lines floated over surging grooves; recalcitrant beats tussling with each other encouraging the body to shiver from over-stimulation. In the Lounge, the beautiful people were certainly in attendance; white flashing smiles a beacon to the glorious fashions adorning youthful bodies. Wonderfully prepared cocktails were firmly grasped in hands while many braved shots and then crowed with delight after the defiant morsel. To the side, the rig of Elation promised much as the cymbals of the drumkit glimmered under the lights. DJ Sparkles perched above them all, much like an appointed Pharoah. He discharged scintillating disco rhythms and torrent bass lines; his quality tunes taking the audience back to the luxuriant days of Studio 54. Soulful vocals penetrated the system; the textures rich and husky with rolling beats surrounding these vocal lines in a breathless persistence. Such was the seductive siren of Sparkles.
Back in the Main Room, Chris Wilson had joined Habebe. It seemed a promising union; one perhaps similarly enjoyed by Jean Luc Picard and his Number One on The Enterprise. The masculinity of the two was quite devastating, and I actually felt Habebe pulling back on this overwhelming energy by studiously effecting a less predatory approach; assuming a Yang manner to the Yin purpose of Chris. The balancing in moods was a wonderful symmetry. Chris was taking vocal lines and transforming them into rhythmic grooves, the pitch sporadically hitting beats and accents and fueling a frenzy. Arpeggiated keys traversed the spectrum, from the high register and down to the low; while guitar riffs strayed the scope. Our senses were wound; as much in the nature as Habebe was applying to the knobs on the effects units. Chris was wanton in his impetuosity; crushing meters and unleashing torrent sparks of haphazard melodies that whipped the body into a delirium. At the introduction of anthems, the crowd diligently expressed their appreciation, and Chris and Habebe responded all the more furiously. As Chris built up energies, Habebe coaxed the intensity towards boiling point, until with a gasp, the music exploded into our heads. The lighting meanwhile, was searing and brilliant; perfectly complimenting the offense that was coming through the magnificent sound system. A trio of Birthday Tea Party Characters roamed across the stage in time to the music; their presence intriguing amongst the riotous beats.
In the Lounge, Julien Love was assaulting us with noxious rhythms and tantalising melodies. He twitched at our brain cells, bringing forth nomadic colours that exploded against the depths of the bass lines, the beats resonant and vibrant. The crowd laughed uproariously beneath him, but he diligently pressed his sounds into the very air. The vinyl under his sensitive fingers seemed to crackle with energy, the sounds unsinkable. Rolling beats provided a very strong foundation to his electronic design, the guitar riffs rippling amongst thin vocal textures. His dark skin glimmered brilliantly under the glow of the lights, and when he smiled, the whites of his teeth radiated in contrast. Undoubtedly, Julien Love is a dazzling decks master, and his strength in establishing a jubilant ambience, was obvious.
Back in Uncle, the resounding beats of Adrian Matyear cascaded across the chamber. He played superbly with accent placements, beats falling indiscriminately. The colours that were unleashed in that room was exquisite; his choice in melodies serving primarily as background shades and tones while boisterous rhythms tumbled logically over each other. Sonorous tones complimented ringing bass lines with shafts of grooves uploading the flowing rhythms. It was a true indulgence; carousing textures and reclining melodies urging the senses into maximum devastation. The mixing was absolutely flawless, as was the sense of timing. While many may wish to underestimate this DJ, Adrian Matyear is one not to be dismissed so easily – with such control over rhythms and a true understanding in the ways of effecting sanity, Adrian Matyear is undoubtedly a musical adept; an ebullient candle on the magnificent Family cake.
Meanwhile, in the lounge, Elation held the crowd enthralled. The warm textures of the vocalist were well pitched, though some notes seemed hesitant and insecure. Her high notes were certainly attuned, the pitches hitting the golden centres. The vocalist’s patter to the crowd was natural and untainted and her improvisation confident and artless. Her message for good times and jubilation were well communicated, as her lovely smile and face embraced the audience’s attention. The incredible rhythm section provided a supportive base for the vocalist to pick her notes and rhythms from; a truly unshakeable foundation. Beside her, the Bass player provided flowing notes, his fingers flying up and down the neck with ease and conviction. The programmed beats supplemented with the drums were quite fulfilling; the subdivisions a beefy texture in the Elation manuscript. The keys solos were quite incredible; the pitch wheel used beautifully to effect with the psychedelic character in tunes well applied. I wondered if Chick Corea had taken over the body of the Keys Player, as the rippling lines oscillated nicely; the guitarist strummed furiously, his offerings rugged and stimulating. The kick, snares and toms were wonderfully acute, beautifully balanced by the probing bass lines and in equilibrium with the meandering key lines. With pleasant wahs from the guitar washing through the complex sounded superbly, the energy on stage was effective and well contained. It was a lovely addition in the birthday gifts on offer for the evening.
Back in the Main Room, Dirty Laundry were on stage. The lights gleamed on the dark chocolate skin of Miss P, her blonded hair in wonderful contrast to her dark skin, while the MC smoothly rapped and sung with her. Her voice was incredible, the timbre rich and velvety, her command of her vocal chords truly outstanding. His speechsong was absolutely wonderful; the timing of his rhythmic tones excellent and the timbre of his voice a sexy delight. He wandered the stage, his running words falling perfectly on each beat. He was like a personal conductor; supplying a conduit of strength to each member, the vigor noticeably reduced when he left. The onstage chemistry between the two was convincing, their voices blending very well together as they enjoyed the heated energy building between them. The Alto sax player let loose stabs of repeated notes, though I ached for a more meandering lick to counterbalance the clean textures. Nevertheless, his contributions were enjoyable, the notes piercing and penetrating in the mix. The thrusting notes were perfect in this setting, the glorious tones infiltrating the music sharply. The DJ was absolutely masterful, his offerings pertinent and well placed amongst the Dirty Laundry construct. It was a slight shame that his sound seemed compressed amongst the mix; though that could be due more to my position in the room rather than the system itself. He added lovely spurts of colour to the music however, the well recognised hooklines of Dire Strait’s Money For Nothing often sneaking into this symphony. He scratched and mixed wonderfully, mindful of the musicians working alongside him. I felt a brazen touch to his demeanour, as if he wanted to push us to the extreme edge and chuckle about it while he did so. The Percussionist provided wonderful bouts of subdivided rhythms to further plump up the textures and add that extra sense of movement to the music. The 16 channel Mackie Desk was providing an excellent service; the engineer diligently keeping a clean and sure sound. It was a truly inspiring performance, the kids responding enthusiastically and crushing each other in their eagerness to absorb the wonderful sounds of Dirty Laundry. A superb show, it was certainly a highlight for me in the birthday celebrations for this naughty 5 year old.
Upstairs, Perth DJ Ralphski was tearing the roof off in Uncle. Surging melodies and prominent grooves set over thudding beats echoed in the room. The kids held their hands up to the stark lighting, their facial expressions freakishly distorted in the flashing colours. Ralphski had a warmth to his structures, the textures heavy and thick. Dazzling colours permeated the room, with glorious spatial effects, thin vocal lines balancing the heavy bass and rolling beats. His mixing was undoubtedly impeccable, the force of it overwhelming in that confined space. The kids responded favourably to his magnificent offerings, as wave after wave of woven sounds washed over us. His beats were all consuming, the impetus forceful and persistent. And we were so grateful to be exposed to his immoderate rhythms. Shannon Marshall and Andy Lynch took over the decks from his nimble hands, both DJs obviously enjoying the grooving rhythms they were inserting. Shannon’s torrent melody lines were beautifully balanced by thundering bass lines and shattering rhythms. His music proved a wonderful backdrop to the few moments I got to steal a few moments with Ralphski, as he informed me of his scientific background with music a pursuit in balancing the stimulus of his brain cells. This was a sound explanation for the formulaic structures that were quite prevalent in his musical applications.
Back in the Lounge, the only genuine Pharoah in the building was Cool Hand Luke. His disco tunes were quite soothing after the devastation of Dirty Laundry and Ralphski. Luke was there to pacify the jittery nerves; to provide a balm after the exhausting skirmishes. His method was subtle and abstruse; intended for slow ingestion rather than immediate havoc. There was a classiness to his technique; animated vocal lines full and pendulous, swaying against smooth disco beats and guitar colours. Key patches swelled often in his musical fibers, a temperate wash in that rather large room. The number of punters had dropped somewhat, but the place remained brimming with bodies. And still Cool Hand Luke handed out the chilled beats, allowing our minds to decline from the incessant climaxes of the entire evening.
As I descended the stairs for the last time this evening, the rollicking beats of Dirty South carried prominently throughout the whole room. The beats were excessive, the melodies penetrating, but alas.. sometimes too much of a good thing can be too much. My mind was no longer able to take in these offerings; filled to the brim with birthday presents and the crust of a sweet cake. It is hard to believe that Family has been in Brisbane for 5 years. It seems Family has always been the cornerstone of Brisbane nightlife, and yet, I still remember when the doors first opened. Not much has changed about the club since its inception, but what alterations have come about have been positive and commendable. May we all be as embracing as Family. May the music and everything Family stands for, live forever.