Dance: The Drop – A fond farewell from columnist Peter O’Rourke (plus all the latest OMG EDM CS)

Godspeed, dear Peter O’Rourke. You were too beautiful for this column

Well, dear reader, this is an interesting one to pen (and forgive me for a bit of self indulgence). 

For this writer, it could well be the end of the road with Dance: The Drop. I can’t remember exactly when I started here with BMA, but I reckon it was around 2012 or so, when Tim Galvin passed on the column to me. I was just really starting to forge my own niche in the Canberra clubbing landscape, DJing at some pretty cool parties at Clubhouse (now Mr Wolf, for you younger readers) and the now defunct Trinity Bar in Dickson. 

I was also running my first parties with the Techno Liberation Front crew, with raves under bridges, the rock-climbing centre in Mitchell, and outdoors in the bush (I guess some things don’t actually change that much!). Pretty soon I was attending every single bush doof and festival, and playing at a fair few of them.

Picking up the dance column was a pretty sweet gig. Having studied journalism at university, this actually gave me the chance to write about what I wanted and was actually interested in – especially as I had given up on pursuing a career in media, and instead went to the dark side of public relations. Being connected to everything that was happening in the city on both the music front and the journalism front was an incredible thing to be part of. Meeting promoters from different crews and exploring ideas in print about the hidden late night world of darkened rooms and music that fills your chest is darn special.

For me, electronic music has always been about new horizons, or as I like to say –  ‘Techno: the sound of the future since 1987’. And with that, it’s probably time for this enthusiast to make sure that the same is the case for writing about in Canberra. Having been hitting the dancefloor for at least 15 years, and writing about it for seven, I reckon it’s time to keep it futuristic. 

Does this mean the end of my clubbing and DJing life? No way, man. I intend to keep rocking for a long while yet. There’s nothing I love more than producing my own music, or travelling to other cities to cut shapes either behind the decks or on the dancefloor. I’ve got my record label, and a few event crews who will continue to put on parties. But I’ve also got other projects, including now being the proud parent of a baby boy. 

I’m also happy to say that I’ve never become jaded either. Music is as cool as ever, and the good and the bad of the world of electronic music, and the parties that accompany it, is the same as ever. 

If I can pass on one bit of wisdom it’s this – things always evolve, and each genre or club or DJ will have a peak moment. But this doesn’t mean that things were ‘better back in the day’. The fact is, if you’re young (or even old) and discovering a new world of hazy evenings and sketchy mornings with ringing in your ears, that is the best time it will be. That will be your moment. ‘The kids’ creating their own interpretation of clubbing culture will always push boundaries and, in my experience, the Gen Z clubbers just discoving the temple of techno for the first time are a super nice and creative bunch. We’re in safe hands.

And over the summer, that will be Niamh – an up-and-coming super keen DJ, promoter, and writer who’s thrown herself headfirst into the amazing electronic dance music scene we have here in our fine city. She’ll bring a fresh perspective to this column, and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with. 

So on that note (and to quote a rave movie that was already getting old when I was 18) – ‘Reach for the lasers. Safe as fuck.’

But for one last time from me, onto the gigs. There’s a heap locked in for the lead up to summer, so start planning your calendar now.

Young Franco (and I can see the reason for the moniker now…

Fiction has some huge names booked over the coming months. Brisbane producer Young Franco is back in Canberra on Friday, 6 December, while the following Friday, 13 December has UK house producer Weiss. More sounds in the bass house side of things will be going down as Luude and Jordan Burns hit the venue on Friday, 20 December

Fiction’s UK Bass night plays homage to the latest incarnation of sub-rattling womp, taking place on Friday, 29 November with Australia’s WA-FU headlining, and Friday, 27 December with Skepsis & Bru-C from the UK in the top spot. 

For those sticking around Canberra in January, put these UK internationals in your diaries – Chris Lake on Friday, 3rd, Michael Bibi on Saturday, 4th, and Denis Sulta on Friday, 10th!

Mr Wolf has some heavy hitters coming up in December. On the 20th, Jensen Interceptor will grace the decks, fresh from from Boiler Room shenanigans with his infectious blend of EMB/electro influenced techno. Friday, 27 December sees Sydney’s Hydraulix & SubHuman, who have both been killing it lately (to use a triple j phrase). Dark vibes ensured. 

Hard Attack have your hard dance covered on Saturday, 11 January as Scotland hardstyle gun Avi8 will be at Boardwalk in Belconnen. Chuck it in your phone. 

sideway has plenty to choose from on the alternative/indie dance edge of clubland. Luen & Genie go back-to-back all night to launch an EP (including a vinyl copy to purchase) with some weird techno on Thursday, 21 November, while Friday, 22 November live group 30/70 bring a blend of future-jazz afrobeat trip-hop weirdness. The following evening has queer power couple Eris Drew and Octo Octa for some up-front techno and house as part of Throb

Montreal-based radio station n10.aus have set up shop in Canberra. Find out more at the N10.AUS launch party & fundraiser on Saturday, 30 November with a heap of local acts. 

Leon Vynehall set to blow the roof off the Canberra House (Social)

Finally-finally, we end with a huge one. Canberra House Social have Leon Vynehall (UK) playing their end-of-year show at sideway on Friday, 6 December. This super creative DJ/producer is definitely not one to be missed. And with a three-hour set you can’t go wrong!

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