In a few weeks I’ll be heading to The State Theatre in Sydney to watch an orchestra perform a concert of some of my favourite music. Yet this won’t be a recital of symphonic melodies you might here on ABC classic FM, but more something from an essential mix circa 2002. Ministry of Sound has produced a one-off show with an orchestral production of classic club tunes, including ones from Moby, Fatboy Slim and even Australian acts like Bag Raiders. Dance music remixed as a ‘serious’ art form. (Not that it wasn’t serious for us ravers anyway…)
This is part of a wider cycle that has been really interesting to watch, with the genre becoming cemented not as an outsider form of music, or even just a popular form of music, but something that is part of established high culture. Last summer for example, two of techno’s original innovators Jeff Mills and Derrick May performed their pieces with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Tracks written thirty years ago performed in the dingy clubs and illegal warehouses in gritty neighbours of Detroit, played in a venue and with an orchestra that wouldn’t have felt out of place with some Beethoven. Even legendary Berlin techno club Berghain has successfully lobbied for a lower tax rate due to their commitment to arts and culture.
Just recently, long time electronic rave group Underworld performed at a concert in the main hall at the Sydney Opera House, with expensive tickets and allocated seating, and drink prices to match. While the audience danced in their seats, some even twirling glowsticks, the fact that a flag-bearer of the rave scene played more than twenty years’ worth of trance anthems in Australia’s most celebrated venue was not lost on them. Similarly, trance megastars Above & Beyond have performed an acoustic show there in recent months.
While these performances are different to the traditional club, it really proves the musical integrity of dance music, and shows a growing acceptance that it’s just as valid as any serious musical movement in our history.
A few gigs worth checking out this month. First up on Thursday July 13 Muzzled Headz present ‘half-step’ pioneer AMIT from the UK for some serious Drum & Bass action at Kyte. Friday July 14 sees Equinox throw another party at Academy with glitch-hop legend Cheshire for his album launch. Expect a range of cool support acts, including Soul Jazz doing a DnB Candy Bar takeover. Mad Hatters theme for this one, if you feel like dressing up! Also that evening, CBR House Social present DJ Normal 4 (GER) at Kyte for some house and techno action.
Friday July 21 sees melodic techno favourite Made in Paris return to Mr Wolf and a range of every genre out there at Reload for 1-UP, while Academy has Pendulum with a DJ set on Wednesday July 26. Nice Up! Vol. 3 takes place at La De Da on Friday July 28 for some reggae, dancehall and world beats, while KLP is at Mr Wolf for her Mix Match Tour. Headz are Rolling present Dauntless and Lockjaw at La De Da on Saturday.
Saturday August 5 is something pretty special, my crew Department of Late Nights is hosting a bit of a rave at a new pop-up venue at the ANU with Late Night Study featuring David Bangma (SYD) and some locals along with the DoLN crew! Tickets $10 before 11pm. While we’re at it, Dragon Dreaming Festival tickets are on sale now for the summer. With the first line-up announcement imminent, it’s time to secure your spot and plan that costume!