I’ve only been to Metro once before and I must admit I headed into this event with a fair bit of scepticism. To my surprise I was greeted with a very empty venue upon arrival. At least this would give me a chance to avoid any queues to the cloak room. Located upstairs behind the main stage, the cloak room area did very little to promote the sound quality of Metro. In short, it was terrible. I hoped what sounded like double beats was just the result of standing behind the main stack of speakers. So I migrated towards the main bar in a quest to alleviate the sound problem. As expected the quality did improve, but alas I was still not overly impressed. Granted it is difficult to fill such a large space with perfect sound, but I didn’t even rank it much higher than the sound experienced at the notorious QBH. Sound quality aside it was time to listen in to what Angela Maison & Ant J Steep were serving up.
These guys prompted me to partake in plenty of head bopping and toe tapping but no actual dancing. Angela and Ant were definitely providing me with some good warm up music, but nothing that moved me from the bar to the dance floor. On this point however I was alone. The crowd seemed to be really enjoying the set and would later be quite happy when Ant J Steep returned to the stage for more. At one point they did play a remake of the Monkey theme song that definitely got me grinning. Most of the time I was distracted, left in a constant state of disbelief at the terrible ‘visuals’. Here was a giant projector screen ripe for some amazing stuff, and all we were presented with was a 20 second Motorola advert repeated over and over. I can understand the need to sell advertising space but I thought this effort was absolutely despicable. However, I did wake up the next morning only to buy myself a brand new Motorola phone.
Recently I have really been getting into the sounds of Punk Funk so I headed upstairs to the Bang Gang room to catch a glimpse of Cut Copy. I found myself in quite a busy room, but unfortunately for the Cut Copy boys, most people seemed to be there to utilise the spare seating. The tracks being played I couldn’t fault. So many tunes I’d been dying to hear out at a club. It was almost as if the entire DFA back catalogue was being played. Tracks like N.E.R.D- She wants to move (DFA remix) and Le tigre- Decepticon (DFA mix) were pumping out of the speakers. But good tracks were as far as this set got. An unfortunate by product of Punk Funk’s eclecticism is a complete and utter lack of mixing. One track will just charge in over the next. Coming from a prog background I find this most disheartening and on this occasion my opinion was definitely mirrored by the crowd. As much as I was enjoying the music the woeful mixing was definitely hard to stomach. At various points during the night I would venture from either the Bang Gang room or main arena into the Bourke St room. However, this little journey never lasted more than 15 minutes as the sounds were consistently to ‘old skool’ for me. Various tries left my ears ringing with the sounds of pure 80’s.
So I decided to retreat downstairs to check out Mr Jigga. Earlier in the night I’d been amazed by the fact that there were so many decks and CDJs up on stage. Now I was even more surprised to see the main stage full to the brim with DJs, a guitarist, some MCs and what seemed like a thousand more people. A little bit excessive I thought, but I’d first see how they performed before I started judging. The MCs got straight into working their magic in order to warm up the crowd. Tracks tunes being played were also definitely a lot of fun. The crowd, including myself, were bouncing all over the floor to some very happy tunes. After Mr Jigga finished I was suddenly confused. Who had left Derrick Carter in the hot wash for too long with excessive amounts of bleach? My confusion was lifted when I realised it was actually Ant J Steep back up on stage. So he provided us with some more toe tapping beats for around twenty to thirty minutes. Finally though, it was announced that Derrick Carter was about to start.
Truth be told I don’t know much about Derrick Carter. I really like a couple of the tracks he produces but going along to this event was more about trying to expand my horizons. Shortly after he got started I was presently surprised. I’d half been expecting some stereotypical house music with overweight divas belting out their latest vocals. What I got instead was some very nice deep driving house music. However, I could tell it would be a bit too ‘banging’ for most of the people in attendance and they would be left longing for something deeper. But as far as I was concerned it was a great sound. At around twenty to four there was a questionable scratching attempt. I’m not too sure what he was trying to create but what came out of the speakers was an excessively punchy kick. That scare over it was back into the good stuff. There was the occasional worrying moment when that cheesy sax sample would force it’s way in but most of the time the beat prevailed. For the entire three hours the dance floor never really got pumping. It seemed to experience brief moments of prosperity but would always inevitably thin back down again. As much as I liked the sound he was playing, there was one major problem. Unlike the music I am used to listening to, Carter’s set went nowhere. Two hours of the same sound can be fine but after three I was starting to tire of the monotonous beat. It was nearing 5:30am when a cheesy house vocal signalled the end of DC and the start of Grant Smilie vs. John Course. It was time for me to give punk funk a second chance.
Upon re-entering the Bang Gang room I was greeted with the sound of The Rapture- Out of the races and on to the tracks. A great amalgamation of indie and dance. Once again the tracks could not be faulted, this time with Gentleman Jim and Andee Frost behind the decks. Unfortunately, the other theme from this room continued. These guys were cross fading bandits, throwing beat mixing out the window. Nevertheless I spent around half an hour carving up the dance floor which was very lonely. By this stage it seemed that everyone was either at home or in the main room. (At this stage I must admit that I am a little confused about the rooms on the night as I was only able to find 3 of the 4 and the Bang Gang arena seemed to be a combined with Lazer Gun).
As the tunes of Smilie and Course didn’t really appeal to me I decided to head off home. I could leave satisfied with the tunes I’d heard and the fun I’d had. As far as venues go the Metro is definitely a good space with some top shelf air conditioning. However, on this occasion I think its sheer size proved a problem with upstairs often being quite empty and the main room dance floor periodically showing gaps. I think the drawing power of Derrick Carter may have been overestimated and perhaps the sound he would play predicted incorrectly. Analysis over, it was time for bed.