You ‘Contrast’ this music…

After a lengthy sabbatical – due to a mixture of the madness of the World Cup, University’s constant neediness, and a dash of laziness- I have decided to get back on the proverbial horse and get writing. This horse, of course, belongs to the fine MyCityByNight stable, who, just in case you didn’t know, are recent nominees of not one, but two SA Blog of the Year nominations (so go vote!). Having said that, time to put pen to paper, or finger to key, or boat to river (that last one doesn’t really apply)…

On Friday the 3rd September was a party that I personally was waiting a long time for – the first of the monthly ‘Contrast’ parties – at Club 121 on Castle Street. As the name suggests, every party features two contrasting, but ultimately complimentary, genres of music on each of the venues two floors. The predecessor to the Contrast parties was an event held at 121 about a month ago featuring the international Tech powerhouse D.A.V.E the Drummer and saw techno/tech house/progressive pounding on the upstairs floor, whilst the best psytrance kept foots stomping on the downstairs floor. I think it’s safe to say that the party rocked – MCBN’s main man Kreg and I had trouble deciding which floor to hit! It was for this reason that I looked so forward to the latest instalment….

Friday’s Contrast saw the interesting pairing of techno upstairs, dubstep downstairs. Not content with a couple DJ’s on each set of decks, the organisers stacked the plate with a whopping 10 (yes, TEN) of the headphone wearing menaces, leaving the line-up resembling that of a mini outdoor party. On tech duty upstairs was:  Craig Shacid (Organika); One Track Mike (Tech !t Or Leave !t); Danalog (Hype Media); T-Minus (Teknotribe); Lil Phil (Hype Media) and Emoutikon (Psynopticz) while dishing out the grime downstairs was: Fletcher (African Dope); Funafuji and Ish (both Step Up) and the UK’s Tempo. With such heavyweights of Cape Town’s Techno and Dubstep scenes in the mix, things were shaping up nicely.

To start with, the venue is really conducive to this concept. The two dance floors are pretty insulated from each other sound wise, so there is no unwanted crossover of beats. There’s more than enough floor space and the bars are long (longer is always better!). A visit to the little boy or little girl’s room is more fun than usual too (well, that depends I suppose…) with the bass of the adjacent dance floor resonating around in there like an Ibiza basement. We’re talking serious urinal head banging! The décor is not to be sneezed at either – the organisers went all out. Mad visuals and lighting were projected onto all areas of the two floors; including on to the DJ booths themselves through a mesh stretched over the deck master’s platform (check the pic). A couple flat screens here and there completed the visual assault. The sound was loud and ‘bassy’ (future word – you’ll see!) enough to jam to, but was still clear enough to talk to your mates which was testament to the quality of the audio equipment.

At the end of the day, nothing really matters if the music is not up to scratch. You can have a sick venue with the hottest ladies, but if the music is shit then you’re not going to do well (with the exception of Tiger Tiger it seems – its success still baffling South Africa’s top minds…). So how was the music? In a word…BANGING! For quality of tunes, and precision of mixing, you could not fault a single DJ on the night. It really was top drawer stuff! Contrast provides an opportunity too to experience something really unique – descending/ascending the stairs from one floor to another, crossing the ‘BPM threshold’ of the music where dub becomes tech or tech becomes dub. It’s like a musical smoothie! Delicious!

With competition from Basement Jaxx, Assembly, Fiction and the first outdoor of the season (Sprung), Contrast did not draw the crowd it so richly deserved. It is a top quality event and I highly, highly recommend you make it to the next one. I mean you clearly have good taste, what with reading MCBN and all…

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  1. Thank you for the words Cameron !

    We certainly felt we deserved a bigger crowd, especially with the right elements in place (brand, concept, venue, artists, promo)and after all the hype and comments left by so-called ‘tech & dub-heads’ … but it just proves that every event is one fat roll of the dice !! expect nothing, hope for the best.

    Unfortunately there is NO SUPPORT from those who claim to love the music, no support from those who moan that there is little to do and the little support that one does receive expects a free magic carpet ride. IT REALLY IS NO WONDER we cannot afford the experience of good, regular international talent.

    Anyway, thanks to those who came and hopefully those who didn’t will hear via the grapevine what a top-class production it was.

  2. Thanks for the feedback Mike – always good to hear from the people in the know.

    I think that it may also have been a case of unlucky timing. I think a lot of people were at Basement Jaxx, and that a whole lot more were taking it easy on Friday night due to Sprung.

    It is definitely a quality event! I know that my mates and I were thoroughly impressed. Am sure the next one will get the support it deserves!

    Keep up the good work!


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