Melbourne’s Stereosonic this year was a scorcher with the mercury levels breaking into the low 30s as L-Vis 1990 took to the decks at the Outrage Agricultural Hall for his 2pm set. The boss of the respected Nightslugs label certainly didn’t let the elements dictate his style, gleefully banging out a supercharged set of the ghetto-house, rave, grime and funky that this rising star of 2010 is, known and loved for. His profile is still growing, so bodies were a little thin on the ground, but despite a painfully loud soundsytem, those that know to be there were sweaty, smiling and up for it. When the unmistakable melody of Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap! filled the room, it was a hands in the air moment – if there had been lasers, we would have been reaching for them!
Looking to brighten up those dull moments spent waiting for the toilet, the appropriately named Browntown Stage overlooked rows of portaloos and queues. It might not be the most glamorous of locations but the idea is a good one with Local boys 6 Vista squeezing out some nice house and disco in the early afternoon sunshine.
There is something appealing about dancing bare foot on grass and over at the One Love Carnival stage everyone was doing just that, dumping the footwear and getting back to nature with Chicago house legend DJ Sneak providing the soundtrack. Sneak’s been doing what he does for years and clearly follows an ‘if it aint broken, don’t fix it policy’, offering up a satisfying if slightly predictable set of house with the emphasis on melody, groove and bucket loads of bass to get those asses moving.
Speaking of bass, dubstep came to Stereosonic this year in the form of Caspa, one of the genres biggest names. The UK DJ/Producer pulled in a substantial crowd, proving the demand for the genre at dance festivals continues to grow. Syncopated rhythms and masses of sub bass were blasted through the speakers, while MC Rod Azlan added to the intensity of the occasion with regular shout outs and crowd interaction on the mic. Skream’s remix of La Roux In for the Kill might have been around for a while, but it still does the damage when Caspa drops it halfway through his set before delving into a bit of old skool rave territory to finish things up.
DJ duo Optimo took to the One Love stage as the sun began to set, using the drop in temperature to maximum effect with a beautifully crafted set of electro and techno. There seemed to be a notable increase in pace round about the halfway point and when the awesome Nous Sommes by Berlin duo MMM was played the crowd understandably went ballistic.
While the masses were at Tiesto, those looking to stick closer to the underground headed to the Sneakerpeeps stage to hear the minimal house and techno of Chilean-German producer and DJ Ricardo Villalobos. Deep, driving and full of precisely timed bass drops, Villalobos certainly lived up to his reputation as one of the best DJs in the game today. The large crowd responded accordingly; jumping, whooping, whistling and generally having a ball to what is very danceable and accessible techno. Even those suffering from a little over indulgence seemed to be brought back into the fold by the infections, beats and bleeps. Alas, all good things music come to an end and as the lights went up Villalobos opted for a bit of retro to finish off the festival with the 80’s classic It’s my Life by Talk Talk sending people home with a smile on their dial.