In a time where the dance music scene is being brought to its knees, where it's almost impossible to encourage excitement, quality nights with good attendance are hard to come by. Nights come and go where you have high expectations but you leave just a little less than fulfilled. You know what I mean. Night's that were 'okay' or 'good, but not great'. But once in a blue moon you come across one of those nights that inspire you and you leave knowing you have justwitnessed one of the most impressive performances you will ever see. Friction delivered the goods last Saturday with arguably the best night this year. Excellent setup, superb sound, great crowd, top local support, second to none vibe, and I haven't even gotten onto the main act yet!
As I walked into the ANU I was instantly impressed with the intimate dancefloor setup and the crystal clear sound quality as Vance Musgrove's cheeky remix of Tenaglia's Elements pounded through the speakers. Behind the misty setup and lights were the shadows of two of Canberra's premier prog maestros, Jeff Drake and Ryan Papa, who wound their way through druggy beats, slipping in and out of melody while keeping a tough rhythm. Ryan helped get the shy dancers grooving when he dropped his own bootleg of Pink's Get the Party Started, as Jeff finished off with a glowing mid 90s vibe (something that is lacking in a lot of today's music) with the new Way Out West remix of the classic 'Perfect Motion' by Sunscreem.
Anjay and Mikah Freeman followed, lowering the bpms and taxiing around with some minimal nu-skool breaks before raising the tempo and taking off on a more of a funky tip. Anjay and Mikahcomplemented each other quite well undertaking more tech-influenced and proggy breaks while even throwing in a couple four-four tunes. By the end the boys were truly flying high with the succession of a breaks bootleg of Iio's Rapture, Anjay's own 'Sunglasses', and a breaks reworking of bt's classic 'Mercury and Solace. The dancefloor and the vibe were now full and ready to be embraced by the main act.
Phil K and Nubreed took to the stage, grinning like idiots because they all knew that no one in the room were quite ready for what they were about to unleash. To put it simply - they tore the place up. Nubreed and Phil K took everyone to a foreign land where sharp breakbeats collide with lush accapellas, funky baselines embrace echoing scratching, and tech and electro are the native tongue. They showed how beauty can coexist with tweaked devastating beats with their live raw energy pouring into every punter's limbs. Nubreed are always sensational to see, but with Phil K providing the extra beats and melodies, these guys are unstoppable. From the beauty of classic Nubeed tunes like Satellites and Welcome through to Phil K's mash-up of '(Lovesong) This is not a' and 'Let the Good Times Roll' and the tweaked and sped up Eminem's 'Without Me', Phil K and Nubreed couldn't wipe the smile off the crowd's face. Finishing their monster of a set with a breaks mash of Led Zepplin's 'Baby I'm Gonna Leave You', it was quite clear that they just gave Canberra the performance of the year.
The crowd was still hungry for more breaks as Phil K stayed on stage to continue with his unique sound of percussive bone-crunching breaks complete with industrial bleeps to keep rocking the dance floor. I think there should always put a bracket saying [DJ/Live] after Phil K because he deserves more credit for the amount of live editing, looping and tweaking he does to create new beats on the spot. I would almost say that it's just as fun watching him work his magic up on stage as it is dancing to it. Phil K finished off his impressive set with a melodic note with the Hybrid remix of the classic Clubbed to Death.
It was now 4:30 but the night was far from over as Milkbar Nick and Nash T took over to complete the night with a set of classic progressive and trance tunes to take a trip down memory lane. Nick and Nash kept the punters gurning and the tranceheads happy with classics like Horizons, Flaming June, Adagio for Strings and Underworld's Cowgirl. At this point my legs were telling me they were about to give way, so I made the decision to call it a night. But jeez, what a night it was. I couldn't think of a better way to propel Canberra into the coming months of breaks and beats. Truly sensational.