I thought I would do a weekly run down of what’s been taking place over here, for anyone interested but also to remind myself, as it does get a little hazy at times.
It might be a long read but hopefully it paints a good picture, and it gives me something to do in my quiet times and keeps me out of mischief.
Monday 28th December 2009:
Set out from home in Spain on a journey that I wasn’t relishing at all. 3 car journeys, 7 planes and a ferry ride – 46 hours from start to finish, without hotel stays or much sleep, I arrived on Magnetic Island. I was staying on the Base backpackers resort, a picturesque facility right on the beach of an Island just off the coast of Townsville, North Queensland. Met up with Sean Doyle and some friends old and new from Sydney and was happy when bed time finally arrived to get some sleep. Cue tropical rainstorms, the kind of which I have never witnessed before in my life. I felt sorry for the many campers in tents that night, I was thankful to be in the best accommodation they had, a nice hut right on the rocks, away from the landslides and gushing rivers running through the camp. As I started to drift off to sleep I was jolted awake by the faulty smoke alarm 25 feet up in the rafters. At first I thought it was a tornado alarm or something, seeing as where I was situated and the weather outside.. after trying to smash the living daylights out of the thing by throwing my sneakers up at it, I gave in and got dressed. I ripped the shower curtain down, wrapped it around me and ran to the bar area where I had to sit in a rage for 4 hours, listening to the deafening rain and my stomach rumbling. Welcome to Australia !! At 6am when I realised it was another 90 minutes before the kitchens opened, I decided to brave the rain and run back home where I promptly passed out, it didn’t even occur to me at that point that the alarm had finished I was so tired. Sean Doyle woke me at 11am so I didn’t miss breakfast, a full English was a nice touch, belly full I went straight back to bed and got a good afternoon’s sleep. So that’s just the back story of how the trip started.. this gig had better be good to compensate for all the hassle I’ve put up with to open up the tour !
Thursday 31st December 2009:
Warming up things nicely for Hed Kandi’s Full Moon Party @ Base was Chrissie Mac,she played a nice selection of familiar tracks, some more commercial than others and some tougher than others.. the perfect set for the locals and allowed me to take to the decks at 23:00 hrs in anticipation of the midnight hour. I played a varied set, old and new going from bouncy to funky and back. On the stroke of midnight I dropped “Strings of Life“. I thought long and hard about what to go with, but as it was such a huge tune out here I thought it would be a good choice and not one I’d played to see in a New Year since Timmy and I did it live in Birmingham in 2003 (I think). Let’s just say it worked… a treat !! The crowd went totally insane, and at that moment all the hassles of the previous days drifted into a distant memory. What a night ! Sean Doyle took over for a while, then we went back to back and smashed the place, a phrase used to often nowadays but one very fitting for the night.
Friday 1st January 2010:
Happy New Year !! After a two hour coma I had to get up and make the journey back to Sydney.. can you imagine the state I was in ! Arriving in Sydney I saw the skyline I have become more familiar with over the 5 visits here in as many years and anticipation for the tour hit me again.
That afternoon I rocked up to The Greenwood Hotel for Sounds on New Year’s Day. Just finishing his set was Jack McCord, the main man for Hed Kandi. Next to the decks was Alan Thompson, ex-pat local hero who gave the crowd a good kicking. By the time I was ready to play I wasn’t really sure what direction to take my set. I started off quite “Jacky” and the clearly exhausted masses were getting a nice groove on for most of the set.. towards the back end their energy levels dropped off, just in time for Stonebridge to take over and close the party. It’s always good to get to hear other big DJs play and see the twists and turns they take and how the crowd reacts, Stonebridge did a great job of keeping most of the crowd rocking until the end.
After the Greenwood, we headed to the King’s Cross area to Trademark. On the decks was Body Rox with P.A from Luciana. Australia was in the grips of a Brit invasion. Then onto Favela around the corner. I walked in to be greeted by many of my local good friends who were pleasantly surprised, as was I. Other International DJs also in attendance were Jonathan Ulysees, Mark Brown of MYNC, Da Sendri.. I’m sure there were others and I can’t even remember who the DJs actually playing were. That night, once again as so many before it in Australia, I fell into bed a broken man.
Sunday I attended a CR2 Live & Direct party hosted by Mark Brown. The Stafford Brothers, Sam leMore, Micky Slim and Tara Mcdonald all put in performances, it was a fun day enjoyed by many and I had chance to catch up with fellow brits Matt Brown, Lynda Phoenix & SPW forum member Blev, as well as Renee from Dubai, Da Sendri, Alex from MN2S and others I’m bound to have forgotten. It was quite surreal being in Bondi Beach, listening to fellow Brum boy Micky Slim smashing out “B15 Project – B’ham Crew” and having a good old bounce to it.
The rest of this week has seen me fighting with Jet Lag and losing, hopelessly. I spent most of my time in the hotel room due to the appalling Sydney weather. One evening out for dinner with Jack McCord, Teko his partner in Hed Kandi, Mark Doyle and his lovely wife of Fierce Angels, along with the Stonebridge family. Another meal one night with Nick from Pacha Ibiza, Dave 54 & Liam Sampras also ensued @ Golden Century Restaurant (“OUCH” when the bill came). I spent two days in the studio with Yogi & Husky aka Random Soul, we have two tracks started which are sounding real fresh and will be unleashed upon the world at some point later in the year.
Thursday evening was a special party hosted by Danny Tenaglia for 350 or so people @ Nevermind on Oxford Street. After a lovely dinner at the Almeida household cooked by the lovely Belinda, Alex drove us to the venue where we met Liam Sampras, Karl K-Life and Franco Costa. (Thanks for the ticket !) The queue was already quite deep at 9pm ready for the full 6 hour set from the man himself.. it was great being in a club so early and seeing the anticipation of the crowd. Danny took to the mic and said a few words to the few through the doors first, which I thought was nice. I have seen Danny play many times before but this was a chance for me to understand the man a bit better and really see why he is the legend he is. His selections were tough yet bouncy, not too fast at all, he teased with a few bars of the bass from “Finally” by Kings of Tomorrow, the crowd were with him all the way with whoops and cheers. He clearly put a lot of thought into the theatre of his set, utilising two powerful torches that he shone over our heads and off a large Video Disc which lit up the ceiling.. I would imagine that anyone on drugs would have been in their element that night. Unfortunately for me, the progression of the night got a little too much, and after 3 and a half hours I called it a night.. it was still a great experience and I took some good things away from that party.
Friday 8th January:
As I type out this report, I am in the hotel after once again being awake the whole night and sleeping most of the afternoon. I have decided to try and cut down on spicy food and beers this weekend, although a DJ set with Da Sendri @ Favela tomorrow and a trip out to Woolongong on Sunday to play, I don’t hold out much hope of me staying T-Total.
I am thoroughly looking forward to the rest of my tour which, after a somewhat crazy start, is looking to be a lot more organised and enjoyable.. mind you, it doesn’t look like I have been having a bad time of it so far !
Still to come..