who: Christian Vance

what: Pretty Simple

when: 21st March 2009

where: F-Four

Submitted by Johnking on March 24th 2009

Pretty Simple with Christian Vance LIVE @ Ffour - 21 March 2009

I had never been to this venue before. It is tucked away in a small laneway off Lt Collins St, just east of Elizabeth St. The end of the laneway itself has been nicely set up with tables and chairs for smokers. Once past the door team you head up steps to arrive at a landing to one side of the Dj booth and dance floor, with the long bar and main seating spaces winding away to the left. To your right are some platforms stepping up to a side room, which includes a thin smoker’s balcony with open windows looking down on the street.

Having arrived 45mins after start time this was still quite early. Matt Radovich was swinging out some fine, groovy feel-good music, which sure gave me the lift I needed. As the venue started to fill up he kicked with some crisper beats. I watched him work the turntables with the ease of those guys that fling base in pizza parlours. I drifted in to the side room to check it out A young woman gave me an awkward smile and said “… you’re not from the private function are you”. I looked around at the consistency of the age group and (whoops) the ‘21’ cake. “No” I said… “I best get out then”. Winks and smiles and then I scooted.

By the dawn phase of Matt’s set the venue had quite well filled up. The music got a bit more freaked up with dark pulsing twists and turns of melodic distortion and some deadly die-a-tribe dribbling out like through the smoky veil of a (musical) reefer. I was starting to get the sense that this was going to be a REALLY good night. Having been mostly educated in Psy Trance over the past few years I thanked myself for branching out as I had never really known what ‘techno’ was. I saw Richie Hawtin a fortnight ago, but it was not as good as this! When next I looked up Matt had vanished and Dave Pham had appeared. This gave me insight as to the team player attitude of these guys. How seamlessly smooth was that! Dave got the space infused with swinging funk. Folk now started to amass on the floor… one, by two, by three, and then in no time at all it was only the weary that remained seated. We all became immersed within the deep groove. Then the mood shifted and we were rapidly brought up back from the trance. A vocal narrative of seemingly no literal sense took the prominent feel and somehow this affected in us the ability to find the energy that we were going to need for the next more pumping phase.

The embargo had lifted on the side room so I explored that again. It had a progressive feel to it, but Prog was something I understood so I set ahead to the less known journeys in the main room. There was some exceptional dancing happening; women squeezing out Latin hips with ooze and luster, and guys so damn free I thought their arms might just drop off.

I bumped in to Christian Vance at the bar. He looked at me and said “…are you that dood?” I said “…i suppose so, yeah. When do you step up?”. “1.30”. “Ok, have fun”. The poor bugger had just completed twelve hours of travel to arrive – the life of a booming artist! David was kicking phat with non-stop output, with the volume gently rising. Ok. 1.12am and a major shift took place -Mike Callander. Notwithstanding the thumping sounds of the music, you could have heard a pin drop on that dance floor. It was hyper attentiveness. “Now is the time” came the message from the vocal inserts, and an almost jovial undercurrent rolled out. Mike continued to swing the dynamics whilst Christian set up outside the DJ booth on a table at the front. Mike had the dancers going buoyant more than hammering – perhaps one of the keynote distinctive elements he brings to this collaborative. He has the skill to weave a mood.

From behind the scenes Steve Costa (club manager) was also bouncing and leading from the front lines. He is what I call a ‘grease trap man’ – the highest compliment. This originates from ‘Kitchen Confidential’ by Anthony Bourdain. Read it!

Having played the transitional ‘night watchman’ role with his suitably brief set, Mike handed over to the headline act. Christian established his set immediately by rapidly bringing a ringing radiance and power to the space. His confident, layered tones washed out on to the dance floor and again the hyper attentiveness was there. Crisp beats and broiling conversions swelled through the music as he stretched out the spectrum and raised alertness to even higher level. Sophisticated themes danced through the narrative and then… massive release! All of a sudden any traces of residual ‘anxiety’ within the room just dissipated as we entered an almost piercing ethereal realm. Definitive techno flickered through in tailored offerings, but for a moment there I wondered (dreamt?) if some of the barrelling bass line had just gone psytrance. My mind was racing to take it all in.

Yep, this artist was definitely something most worthy of the headline.

Universal. Global. Local.

It was both genre defining and genre smashing, and that is what we need.

I had experienced a personal revolution of sorts in that this felt like my first real introduction to techno.

How proud am I to be able to say… it happened in my own back yard!

Pretty Simple throws down every Saturday night at Ffour





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