What a way to bring in the festival – Patrice Scott, Rick Wade, Zeus and Subaske and Garage Pressure in front of a stage shaped like a wooden wormhole. I'd seen Patrice Scott two weeks prior at Strawberry Fields, yet this set was so much sweeter and varied – filled with melodic, warm rhythms, trailing off with some jazzy techno vibes getting the crowd going absolutely bananas at some points. Rick stayed truer to his roots with deep house delving's, keeping the electric and frantic party energy alight. It was the two staple local crews Zeus and Subaske and Garage Pressure who really brought the night home with diverse sets that made me forget that I'd stayed up all night ensuring there was not one moment to escape.
Jordan Peters and Gareth Psaltis are amongst a group of talented producers and DJs based in Sydney thankfully bringing our city's techno scene to the forefront. Unsurprisingly their set on the Saturday night at the Pizza Lab Stage was my second highlight of the entire experience. It was brutal, it was dark and at points I wasn't 100 percent sure if I would ever get back from it. Nonetheless it was unanimous that these boys brought techno at near perfection.
As expected, KINK's set was weird. Not in the dark and unhinged weird way I'd been craving. It was like an outdated EDM, tech house onslaught where he intermittedly pick up a controller, held it up and excitedly demonstrated that he could press the featured button. Yes I know that's his 'thing' guys and I would've happily swallowed it if the guy didn't play to the crowd like we were in some cheesy schoolies boat tour. At one point he even sampled "R E.S.P.E.C.T." Yikes.
In terms of production, it was clear that Subsonic had stepped things up a notch. From the insane wooden wormhole structure framing the river stage, to the consistently stimulating Paradiso fit out to the thrown sculptures scattered around the main stage the production team executed a trippers promised land.
For those none the wiser, House of Mince is one of Sydney's most reliably great parties. Head honcho Peter Shopovski consistently curates the finest music, surrounds and the ultimate party crowd - to perfection. Their takeover of the River Stage on that final Sunday was no exception. Opening with James Greville at 11am we woke up to his premier selection of funk, disco, afro house inspired rhythms that made me feel human again. From that point on the vibe and the selections went from strength to strength with standouts DJ Kiti, Stereogamous, Victoria Kim and Claire Morgan.
Kowton's closing set on Paradiso Stage was an incredible journey. The Bristol born DJ-producer exquisitely slayed through mechanical soars, off kilter rhythms, gut rumbling bass and brutal UK techno. So much so that I was getting anxious towards the end knowing that he would stop playing. After an hour and a half of hard and dark twists and turns Kowton beautifully brought down the audience after his encore with a more down tempo bass pursuit only to bring it back up again with a ridiculous dub step track cueing everyone to loose their shit.
Overall the vibe of the festival is second to no other in New South Wales, still managing to preserve an eccentric and quality crowd. It's where doof trolls, city slickers and other miscellaneous party animals exist as one for 78 hours in glorious harmony. Despite being subjected to unfair quantities of tech-house, this could well have Subsonic's best year yet.
Year after year Subsonic's big sell is its obscenely idyllic surroundings nestled in amongst the lakeside Barrington Top Mountain Valley Resort. For these three days it became our fucked up fairytale adult wonderland which by the end of felt like it should of gone on longer.
Photos by Voena.