The conceptual dance party Mad Racket has seen some of the best club nights to hit Sydney in recent memory, so it was a no brainer that the Sydney DJ collective (Simon Caldwell, Ken Cloud, Zootie, and Jimmi James) that birthed Mad Racket was chosen to bring their party to The Studio at The Sydney Opera House as one of many of Vivid LIVE’s annual Studio Parties. A similar collective of DJ’s have come up from Melbourne – Bamboo Musik (Roman Wafers, Dick Cheese, Hysteric, and Sweat) – to work with Mad Racket, along with international dance icon Gavin Russom and his live project The Crystal Ark, to string the night together into one massive clubbing event that was bound to please all attendees.
The venue itself is amazing. Held in one of the lower sections of the Opera House, the Studio Parties offer one massive dance space (The Studio) along with an outside bar which has numerous art installations to keep punters entertained, as well as another, smaller dance floor which has one of those retro classic cube-esque dance floors that lights up studio 54 style.
Inside The Studio is a massive space downstairs that was well lit up and recalled images of a classic nightclub scene in a Hollywood movie – very different from regular clubs in Sydney. Upstairs is some theatre-style seating, proving a comfortable hang-out for many tired clubbers.
The night opened up with the Mad Racket boys taking deck to pump out some classic rhythmic house, with deep bass lines and funky melodies. It was nice to be surrounded by 90’s house music rather than more modern electro and it seemed the crowd felt the same way as the joy around the venue proved infectious and the vibe hard to resist.
The Bamboo boys were up next and churned out some more disco-ish hits which cemented the Studio 54 image and went down well with the floor.
Sydney live-tech outfit Alphatown were also given some shine to take us past the stroke of midnight and the tempo picked up with their hypnotic techno jams. This brought out some of the more colourful dancing of the night and was quite entertaining to watch from the top.
Gavin Russom hit the stage and asked that the crowd bear with him as sound check brought the party to a bit of a standstill. The lull didn’t last long though as the live percussion section began a simple rhythmic pattern while Russom fiddled with the effects on his keyboard. One by one, members of The Crystal Ark took to the stage, each adding their own element to the slowly building production. It was pretty damn cool to see their intro track being built live from the ground up.
Female dancers/back-up singers with Arabian Nights-themed costumes were the last of the members to hit the stage and with them the production began to take shape and a bass-heavy live house track shook the dance floor and caused hysteria on the dance floor.
The back-up singers added effective chant-esque vocals which were hypnotising to say the least and added to the long productions hard-hitting effect. This was followed by the excellent “The City Never Sleeps” which sounds even more amazing live than it does on record – one of the most entrancing dance tracks in recent memory.
These live, melodic productions continued throughout their whole set, slowly building up and then stripping down so that we could distinguish every layer of the meticulous tracks.
With some strange interpretive dancing on stage along with some pretty trippy digital displays the set proved to be just as much about performance art as it was about the music. With their last track being the highlight of the night – The Crystal Ark left the fans absolutely satisfied and were given a massive ovation.
The boys from Mad Racket played us out until closing time, keeping the pure house sound rolling on and rounding out one of the best Mad Racket nights I’ve been to.
These Studio Parties are a must for any fun-loving club go-er in Sydney (and Australia). This is an amazing pop-up venue that is only around for a limited time annually so I highly recommend that you get onto it and go to the next Studio Party! You will not regret it.
The Studio Parties are listed here at the Vivid Sydney website