I keep on finding myself drawn to Teriyaki. Why is that? Could it be that they have the best, longest-running weekly techno night in Australia? Could it be the weekly guests that never fail to disappoint? Could it be the sensational residents? Perhaps it’s all of the above. Teriyaki is going mental at the moment, and August 1st was no exception.
As I arrived I was instantly wooed onto the dancefloor by some lush techno from Dee Dee. Another solid set from the Teriyaki frontman. Is this guy having an amazing 2002 or what?! Every time I hear him, it's bomb after bomb. Can he do no wrong?
Slieker was up next to take us through to 2am. I'm not normally the biggest fan of his style but tonight I found him a lot harder, a lot more consistent, and generally a giant-sized talc bottle more danceable than usual. He kept the mood upbeat and the punters honest as we waited for the one and only Dave Pham.
Ah yes…Dave Pham.
Dave, I Love You.
Dave, Marry Me.
Dave, I'm Pregnant.
I simply cannot stop exclaiming my undying love for this man. He's been top of my list for as long as I've been privy to his magic, and tonight's Teriyaki debut only exacerbated my bordering-on-psychotic penchant for Pham.
Starting off on the electro tip, Pham had the crowd literally yelling their appreciation at his track selection and spot-on mixing. There were favourites, there were remixes of favourites, and basically everything that has made Dave so successful in his quest to lure techno listeners over to its oft-spurned cousin.
But sure enough the set began to boil with harder undertones, and after half an hour of a dancefloor collectively smiling in electro euphoria, it was time to gurn along to dark and nasty techno.
Again, it was Pham’s faves that had me holding my head in my hands in disbelief. A perfect mix of ‘Nervehammer’ into ‘Point Blank’ brought me close to tears. This set was classic Pham, the zenith of Melbourne techno, if not techno the world over.
With his characteristic energetic bounce and cheeky grin behind the decks, you could tell he was loving it (almost) as much as us.
As some of those Tezza guys have been known to say, “Yeah Fuck Yeah.”
The second guest on the bill was live act Steve Law. This was to be the first time I’d been privy to his performance, but the lowdown on Law was unanimous: prepare to be blown away.
Law’s tech was not the hard-as-hell stuff some rave reviews (of, for example, his previous Teriyaki appearance) had me anticipating, but this was no less meritorious. Straight up four on the floor techno or not, it didn’t matter, as I was too gobsmacked to dance anyway. Steve Law is simply out of control.
Surrounded by more pieces of equipment than your local DJ store has ever seen, Steve Law did possibly the one thing I’ve never seen a live act do before: play live. OK, maybe that’s a bit of unwarranted hyperbole, but this guy was skipping from button to button, fader to fader, his hands sometimes a blur, always on the move.
Whilst I’m not saying he hadn’t brought any pre-programmed loops with him, there was certainly no laptop here. It wasn’t just a case of pressing play on a sequencer and tweaking a few EQs every so often, which I’ve seen other acts try and pass off as ‘live’.
This was different. This was amazing. Steve had a 101, a 202, an 808, a 909, pretty much anynumber-oh-anynumber, all flashing away. Everything from archaic analog tools to a MiniDiscman were being fed into the mix, manipulated, looped, and interwoven into a very complex, very layered soundscape.
I joined Cisco "The Advent" Ferreira and Jeff Mills, who had both appreciatively signed his 909, in admiration of this humble, tireless artist.
As Keith Floyd might have remarked had he watched Steve at work, Just Brilliant. An old-skool Live 100% Live act.
Slack took up the baton for Team Teriyaki next and was instantly on a winner with lifting the tempo and getting straight back into four on the floor tuff tek. Yum! I ate everything he threw at me right up. His set has got me even more pumped for the $5 Fokus on August 10. Go Slack!
At this point I decided to call it a night. And what a night it was! Electro, hard techno, live analog-charged tech, all bookended by the standard slammin’ supremacy of the Teriyaki residents – Tezza once again delivered.
Do yourselves a favour, get down to Billboard next week for Mike Callander, the week after for Machina (live) and Simon Digby, or any other goddamn week. Get there early and catch the residents warming the place up to an inferno. It is the best techno night in the country, and it deserves your support.