City Loop: Review
Reflections on City Loop, the Mushroom umbrella’d cooperative affair between ‘Soothsayer’ and ‘I OH YOU’ have begun to take shape following a challenging, arduous ‘Seedy Sunday’. The grounds of RMIT are rapidly installing themselves as an important feature of the Melbourne music landscape. In a city which frankly, is quite short of venues relative to its demand and capacity, the open-air environment of the Old Melbourne Gaol courtyard is a wonderful scarcity, few locations in the city are better suited for a day party and with an alarming lack of noise coming from Sugar Mountain there is real estate to be claimed. Despite being a debut party, Mushroom are familiar with the venue having put on last years CoPresents festival with a near identical stage plot, their experience with RMIT seems to have paid dividends. The day ran smoothly. Never far from a cold beer and with tolerable toilet lines punters were left to bask in the very accommodating pre-Summer Spring sun.
Andy Garvey has pressed a firm stamp on the electronic music scene of Australia. An important radio wave figure, her role as a curator on Triple J and FBi have made her a regular Melbourne import from Sydney and more so, she has begun to spin a definable brand. Though her relatively dark waves of brooding house and techno may have been better suited to the later hours, Garvey outperforms the common negative perceptions of ‘techno’, a genre which, though often unfairly, is increasingly attracting not-so-savoury mental images of disgruntled lads with a ‘more skin shown the better dress policy’ aggressively pining for a more destructive bassline. Garvey’s techno is something you’d be more comfortable introducing to your parents. Some might venture celestial terms like ‘interstellar’ for adjectives to her techno brand and they’re not unfounded, there certainly is a cosmic element to her selections with encapsulate the best of nostalgic rave sounds. Her set was alluring and beguiling, albeit it earlier in the day than I’d have liked.
Back to back Sydney siders donned the ‘Downtown’ stage early in the day with Ben Fester, a FBi colleague of Garvey followed her in the booth. For sometime now Fester’s pedigree as a selector has been known throughout the country, in his hometown, his ‘Heavenly’ parties have forged many rich dance floor memories and on domestic tour his versatility and eclectic range has found him with a great deal of fans. His set signalled a change of pace, with a mixture of timing with most ticket holders having populated the stages and his display of Summer-time heat Fester ended the picnic’s on the grass nearer the back of the stage and fostered the strong dance floor which endured for the rest of the day.
Upstairs in the Old Melbourne Gaol courtyard local four piece and toast of the town Mildlife were playing on the main stage. There were audio irritations, without being front and centre and right in the thick of it the sound volume wasn’t as commanding as one might’ve hoped. Still, the band did their reputation as Melbourne ‘must-see’s’ no damage at all. Their genre-bending music was gladly received by the crowd at the ‘Uptown’ stage, their flagship single ‘The Magnificent Moon’ certainly brought joy from established fans and recognition from folks accustoming themselves with their body of work.
By the time Francis Inferno Orchestra got behind the booth ‘Downtown’ the day was in full swing. Quite simply, one of our nations best. A brand of dirty, futuristic, new wave off-kilter house and techno is an art he has well and truly mastered. With local dates being limited to a handful each season, at City Loop we were all reminded why FIO is unmissable. His set was in a word, thumping, and was met with appropriate appreciation from the crowd.
One of our favourite mixes this year - Francis Inferno Orchestra on Beats in Space.
CC has the city of Melbourne entirely bewitched. She has us all under an incredible spell and with a growing touring schedule which is becoming relentlessly demanding we may have to begin to prepare for less time with our ‘first-lady of disco’ as she graces stages abroad more frequently. Perhaps with hometown sets less frequent than we’ve previously been treated to we’re able to better appreciate them when we have them. We can quite assuredly say that no one else works a home crowd quite like CC, packed to the rafters with grinning dancers right until she turned out the lights on a widely successful debut from City Loop.