Walking underneath Melbourne’s white elephant, a Jumanji-esque thud can be heard in the distance as a deep rhythmic bass lures a 4000 plus crowd into the Docklands. Punters excitingly share goonbag laybacks to the cheers of the fast-moving entrance line. It’s a Sunday, but no one is partying in half measures at LUFT.
Hosting a day party indoors on the second day of summer seems like a strange idea, however as you enter the dark, cavernous warehouse, the amazing visual art production quickly removes any doubt. Large black curtains block out all light as lasers fire down the shed funnelling your eyes to a familiar backdrop, a repurposed Grove stage from Strawberry Fields, courtesy of Blackstone Builds.
Once inside, the melodic techno of Solee was in full force with crowd favourites ‘Feiern’ and ‘Impressed’ setting the scene for LUFT’s promise of powerful sound. The sound system delivered a bass that shook your bones, however as the day progressed it came at the expense of any fidelity. The team must have watched ‘This Is Spinal Tap’, as the music was ‘up to eleven’. Techno is best played loud, but if the tin roof audibly vibrates louder than the top end, something needs to change.
Festival circuit favourites Andhim and their ‘Super House’ genre of electronic music that melds equal portions of house, techno and good fun was smartly curated for the late afternoon. However, the loaded touring schedule of the duo finally caught up with them, and a delayed flight quickly turned into a cancelled flight. Although disappointing for all involved, the event organisers did their best and remained transparent, notifying attendees via the event page.
The absence of Andhim allowed an opening to scout out the rest of the event to comical delight. The market stalls consisted of a Frothlyf tent and portaloos. The food trucks offered potatoes on a stick, or gourmet sausages (until roughly 7pm). And the art installations were more akin to Pitch than B3, the most impressive being a giant bust of Jar Jar Binks.
After a quick perusal of the smaller stages, we returned to the beginning of what would be a masterclass in Brazil’s finest techno. Victor Ruiz gave the crowd a brief reprieve from all the bass with ‘Dying Of The Light’, before quickly reminding everyone that the dial would firmly remain locked to the low-end rumblings of techno.
The event’s true highlight, however, was the impromptu Andhim replacement b2b from Alex Stein, Any Mello and Victor Ruiz. The trio expertly used the extra 30 minutes by balancing self-produced tracks such as Alex Steins ‘Catalyst’ and tracks like ‘Inferno’ from techno veterans Carl Cox, Reinier Zonneveld and Christopher Coe.
As the night came to a close and the lasers were promptly replaced with house lights, you could feel Any Mello’s elation as the set closed with ‘Voices’, an unreleased collaboration with Victor Ruiz, a fitting melodic end to an unforgettable evening.
Words: Quillon Simpson