Dusttones 2nd Birthday Party @ The Clare Hotel, Sydney.

Some talented locals quirkily playing as duo’s, and a couple funky foreigners from Berlin with a piano, were playing from 8pm till 3am one Saturday evening in an anniversary style…..

The first two sets were laid on by the Swat Dj’s vs DJ soup and then Flux 3 vs Edseven. I arrived at 10pm to see Mark Walton and Frenzie gracing the decks. The venue was quiet but it was still early, and the beats laid out in combination by these two seasoned maestro’s was deep and audible, keeping the atmosphere leveling with hip hop and deep down-beat basslines. Mark Walton always lays out a smooth, polished set, Frenzie played some electro-funk traces, and the changeovers between the two experienced Aussie DJ’s were quick and fluid.

Bentley and Frequento brought up the dancing, with a mix of commercial and old school, and played an hour to get everyone moving and in the mood. Some classic territorial included dropping Katalyst’s Manipulating Agent. Bentley added some jazz groove, including Quantic Soul Orchestra, and mixed a little RnB in the form of a Sunshine Anderson mix. Eclectic and crowd pleasing.

The Clare has a great chilled vibe, it’s a dirty little ground floor venue, with space to sit and relax, grab a few bevies, or dance your little but off if you’re so inclined. We were all inclined. (Especially the fat, ugly girls doing the ‘Sydney dirty’ as i’ve christened it. Ewww, don’t look, they might take your eye out.)

Mark Hype and Jim Dunloop took to the decks, and funky piano respectively, at exactly midnight and played a funktastic 2 hour set. The novelty of the live-piano-2-deck scenario was the night’s main attraction, the mix’s were high energy & fascinating to watch and hear. The boy’s hardly had to look at each other, even when improvising, as they fit so well together, and produce so funky a sound, that they just feel the thing. Unfortunately, the set was detrimentally affected by a huge reduction in volume half way through, due to council regulations and volume-adverse neighbours. Shame on them! Unfortunately, the loss of volume pretty much knocked the guts out of the thing, and the vibe slid to ‘what the hell are we supposed to do with this?’ The same thing happened at the last Broadway gig I attended, but was not nearly so noticeable. Eventually, it got turned up again (and then down again), but the thing picked up, and there were still people making the most of this live set and improvisation by two talented, tight and funky artists. Inevitably, we couldn’t help but be drawn back into the set and dance till they had to leave…

I had anticipated seeing Noel Boogie and Noodles at 2 till 3am, as this is a treat I’ve managed to miss in the past (don’t ask) despite their regular sets together. I was hugely disappointed, not so much in them, as in the whole ending to what should have been a schmic night. The venue pretty much cleared by 2am, and the decks were abandoned just after 2.30am. There was no feeling in the set, as there was no-one left to play to. It was a slightly tragic end to an otherwise OK night. I had high expectations of this party (which may have been the problem), what with it being so close to home and including a lot of talent. However, the sound level problem at the Clare managed to pretty much ruin the momentum of Marc Hype and Jim Dunloop and drain the colour out of the subsequent performers. Well, what can I say? It was all set to be a great night. Dusttones bring great artists and music to Sydney, but a venue change (away from the neighbours!) is worth considering. I have learnt that it’s difficult to make this kind of night swing in Sydney, if you get there early it’s dead, but you can’t stay late cause it shuts. Doh!