Last night was the second installment of “Bad Habits” since it’s moved to Ink Bar from Bacco Room. As mentioned in a previous post, the monthly drum n bass party is hosted by State of Mind’s Pat and Stu, plus their lighting man Stefaan. But the Auckland-based duo will be playing only every third month, which will keep things fresh for themselves and also leave an extra slot open for other DJs.
Concord Dawn, aka Matty C, is one of New Zealand’s biggest electronic music exports. He’s been based in Austria for years and is a regular on the international touring circuit, playing an endless string of hot clubs and huge festivals. He comes back to NZ reasonably often but it’s always worth catching him because his sets are energetic and comprise full-spectrum dnb.
He’ll start off with a grinding dancefloor smasher, roll along for a bit, then drop back into some liquid sort of intelligent styles (what Ink Bar owner Andy Meek called “Gay and Bass”, or was it “Drum n Gay”?) Then once the the ladies are centre-front of the booth, he’ll hit you with a techy tune featuring sparse, tough, tight drums. And so on, in what is a masterclass in the “journey” school of DJ’ing.
Matt started at the respectable hour of 1.30 last night and two DJs preceded him. Cooper opened with a crunchy set that was a little hard for my liking but had a good authoritative air, then Pakage stepped in with some swinging, warm tracks that immediately brought the first bunch of ladies to the floor.
Ink Bar, if you have never been there, has a smokers’ courtyard that is basically an outdoor continuum of the dancefloor. Although this might sound good if you’re a smoker, it means that at the beginning of the night the courtyard and bar area may be pretty full, while the dancefloor in between is empty. So it’s always good when a few brave souls take to the floor, or better yet, when a DJ is able to read a room and play the stuff that will motivate people to get moving.
By the time Matt got on, the party was ticking along nicely but the energy definitely stepped up a couple of notches when he got behind the decks. Of course a crowd is generally excited to hear the headliner, but I also think it’s because a seasoned pro can pick which track in their arsenal is going to create the most impact in any given situation.
He ended up playing about 20 mins over his allocated 1.5 hours and would have continued a while except the next DJ, Evade, was keen to get on and so he stepped aside. She kicked off with a big, bassy track that sounded different from anything else played that night and I perked up thinking things might continue that way, but then she settled into a tight, upbeat set that ably held the floor.
I left before the final DJ but, as an aside, promoters at Ink have tended to book four DJs to play two hours each and I wonder whether this might be a better course of action for the Bad Habits boys, compared to five DJs at 1.5 hours a piece. Then again, with limited spots at limited clubs, maybe it’s only fair to have as many DJs involved as possible.
Overall, it was a fun night with a festive atmosphere but – and this is a big but – it could easily have done with another 50 punters through the door. People, you must support your favourite promoters or they’ll give up and you’ll be left with venues, not clubs, run by businessmen who don’t give a damn about your music.
[Note to self, take some pictures of the crowd next time!]