I had my heart set on Melbourne as one of the seven locations for 365 in the first year.
I chose it for many different reasons, but mainly for the following two: when I lived in Sydney in the early nineties, I never visited Melbourne.
I was asked to go and play there many years later and as soon as I arrived, I kicked myself as Melbourne was so much cooler.
It has a far more developed nightlife scene than Sydney (apart from the gay scene, of course) which back then was Vulcan death-gripped by super duper commercial music.
In Melbourne you could get a drink all night and the city just seemed so have much more culture.
The other reason I chose Melbourne was that Andy Page had been living there.
If you don't know Andy then google him! Ok, I'll save you time.
He's a musical madman and has produced a load of great work, ranging from all kinds of dance music to experimental rock, funk and beyond.
I've been looking forward to working with him again and maybe even releasing the tracks this time (we have a few from a while back that we haven't done anything with due to my laziness... sorry Andy!)
So Melbourne it was... until Andy moved to Sydney a month or so before I was due to come to Australia.
How shallow I am. I ditched Melbo, took back everything bad I've ever said about Sydney and purchased my airline ticket!
I will say this: one thing Sydney beats Melbs with hands down is beach life.
The beaches are wicked and I was offered a room at a friend of a friend's house in Coogee beach.
Sweet! The prospect of getting up every day, wandering over to the beach, surfing, getting a tan and strutting down the beach with a Hasselhoff-esque gait got me excited.
We arrived in Sydney and straight away things took a left turn. Literally. The friend had moved to Newtown.
This isn't near the beach and speedos aren't appropriate attire while cruising over to get a juice in the morning.
Speaking of which, somehow in Oz, I actually became a morning person.
Now, due to the rigors of my job and the fact I'm a night worker, my morning usually starts somewhere between two and four PM.
Thanks to jet lag, I now have an appreciation of sunrises, Lynx deodorant (the smell of the office worker on his way to work) and days with more than four hours of light in them.
Six AM rise and shine! I was a little disheartened at the thought of no convenient beach until I saw the poster that advertised Russell Crowe playing every Tuesday night no more than one hundred meters from where I was living.
THE CROWE! Apparently he took a flight straight back from the Golden Globe awards just to play his shite music for his fans.
Did you know that every time he gets into trouble the papers run headlines saying things like 'Prattus Maximus' and 'New Zealander in Trouble Again' because he is actually from NZ and everyone in Australia thinks he's a complete knob jockey ?
So Newtown turned out to be pretty cool, actually. Lots of trendy cafes, clothes shops, music stores and has more lesbians per square inch than anywhere else in the world.
I was informed of that fact via one of the many free newspapers and thought I'd share!
Summer time in Sydney conjures up images of blue skies and hot weather.
Sunblock in hand, I prepared to lather myself up every day during the first two weeks only to be thwarted by grey skies, cool temperatures and thunder.
What to do? Ahh... Andy Page!
A friend of Andy's who goes by the name of Sameer (and records under the guise of 'Pocket') very kindly let us use his studio while we worked with him on the first track.
I had a concept in mind that was born from endless nights of DJing after people who seem to think it's okay to bang the crap out of it and play their biggest tracks as a
warm-up set and then somehow appease
themselves by playing a really crappy
slower deeper B-side as their last track
(which, by the way, always makes it
look like it's my first record!)
The idea of the track is this: the first two minutes would be a banging 134 BPM groove that stops, has a hard think about itself and then becomes a phat appropriate 128 BPM first record.
'Fuck You and Your Shitty Warm-up Set'
I have entitled it 'Fuck You and Your Shitty Warm-up Set' and it's coming soon to a turntable near you DJ Shithead.
We worked on and off during the month in Sydney and Andy and I also started another track called 'It's not the size, it's what you do with it'.
I'm not telling what inspired me to use that title!
I must say that Sydney really surprised me this time with its gigs.
There's an underground crowd (at last) that seems to be into non-commercial music.
Commercial is still King [in Australia], of course, although it's no longer called 'Funky House', it's now called 'Electro House'. You know, the crappy pop stuff with lots of uplifting vocals and obvious riffs. I guess those washed-up progressive house producers had to do something with their time and equipment!
Lee Burridge (UK)
Commercial is still King, of course, although it's no longer called 'Funky House', it's now called 'Electro House'.
You know, the crappy pop stuff with lots of uplifting vocals and obvious riffs.
I guess those washed-up progressive house producers had to do something with their time and equipment!
The first party I did was a really sweet gathering organised by Karen Young who used to work at Musik mag (sorry Karen if you are on the run and I just blew your cover).
It was a small launch party that attracted a nice group of people who didn't know when it was time to go home. I love you all!
Sushi & Cigarettes
A nice touch was the drunken middle-aged lady holding a tray full of sushi with a cigarette in her mouth
saying she had given up for three
weeks... surely you could have waited
another ten minutes until you'd got
rid of the salmon sashimi, love.
The second 365 party was part of a gig at the Metro. It's a pretty big venue and I had the pleasure of playing alongside Tiefschwarz and Damian Lazarus.
The only bad thing that night was the lighting guy's love of the colours white, yellow and more white.
It was a great introduction to the Sydney crowd who seemed to like fucked-up beats.
Damian and the Tiefs rocked it and we ended up in an afterhours club where Defective are holding their nights (thankfully there wasn't a Defective record in sight).
I suggest next time that someone tell the people not just the DJs about the afterparty!
There's a change in the air and I really noticed it while in Australia.
Although I try to play mainly vinyl, I'm guessing lazy DJs who can't be bothered to carry or buy it anymore have caused the relegation of turntables to the outside lane. The CDJs have taken prime spot next to the mixer and my beloved turntables are now on the outside. Are we one step closer to vinyl disappearing?
Lee Burridge (UK)
Although I try to play mainly vinyl, I'm guessing lazy DJs who can't be bothered to carry or buy it anymore have caused the relegation of turntables to the outside lane.
The CDJs have taken prime spot next to the mixer and my beloved turntables are now on the outside.
Are we one step closer to vinyl disappearing?
I think so. Come on, you lazy A-list DJs.
Vinyl & CDJs
Get your record bags out again. Buy some vinyl and take it with you.
You travel in business class and someone carries your bag for you (or, should I say, wheels it).
How many pairs of shoes do you need to take with you that eat up all your weight allowance?
Sure, take some CDs as back-up and the ones that aren't available on vinyl yet but at least try to set some sort of example!
I'm sorry but I heard people playing MP3s and they sound terrible - it totally short-changes the artist and the crowd with sub-par sound.
I guess audiences will all get used to it eventually and no one will notice any difference.
Will the laziness of big-name DJs kill off vinyl? I guess it will.
OK... rant over.
Back to the gigs. 365 set sail from the Opera house on a wonderful hot and sunny/gurny afternoon.
Myself and Omid 16B (is that his cup size?) were aboard (that mix instantly spells danger) and we rocked left and rolled right as the boat chugged round the harbour.
Boats make people crazy for some reason; throw in booze and sunshine for good measure and you've got a boat full of loons.
Two out of two so far for Sydney! Omid and I rushed down to carry on the party in King's Cross and the night got messier and messier.
You might remember my girlfriend's camera lens cap from the Florence article that was lost on a roundabout in Florence.
Well, now the actual camera has joined the missing list as someone took it on long-term loan, without asking, of course.
This, I guess, is some kind of excuse as to why there aren't many pictures to document the boat party or afterparty.
That and the huge selection of crossed and/or wandering eyes that day!
OK, some more fun facts for you that I learned on the road in Australia from promoters and other sources. I like to share the knowledge.
1. Adelaide is the serial killer capital of Australia. (Hmmm nice! I think it actually says that on the signs as you enter the city.)
2. Adult bears can run as fast as horses.
3. Tasmania has the largest number of people murdered by a single person.
4. Envenomation (the releasing of venom) happens in only 1 out of 10 snakebites.
5. The pain from a box jellyfish sting can be so severe that you still scream even after you are unconscious(!).
6. Brisbane is Australia's London (according to a tourism magazine that I picked up in Brisbo... errr, right. Well, I guess it does have a bridge...)
First, let's talk about Adelaide. It seems to me that apart from a wicked drum and bass scene, Adelaide is stuck in 1991.
I played on Australia Day at what could best be described as a rave, after Andy C's amazing D+B set.
Bad news, folks... 50 BPM are about to be dropped!
Although the room was going mental, I figured I would wait a few minutes to let the energy dissipate a little and give me room to maneuver.
Well, that didn't work. 90% of the room decided they were off!
Never defeated, I played to a wonderfully enthusiastic one hundred people.
I wish someone had told me that happy hardcore and super pumped-up cartoon techno were still all the rage in Adelaide.
I would have brought my 160 BPM tracks full of James Brown loops stating "Get up... get up... get up..(drum roll)... get up get on up!" in a squeaky pitched-up voice but I guess that would have cramped the style of the DJs after me. More crystal, anyone?
Carl Cox played later that night but I was driven from the building by Woody Woodpecker ha-ha-ha-hardcore.
At least I now know who bought all the second-hand rave whistles, glowsticks and dust masks on eBay.
"For sale, good condition: electric pink leggings guaranteed to make you look like a fluoro clydesdale horse. One careless owner. Sold... to the wide-eyed lad from Adelaide!"
Back to Sydney and to news stories ranging from the man who decided he wanted to go and buy little fluffy bunnies and take them to bed and do the naughty with them... until they were dead AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! to the multitude of headlines exclaiming 'SHARK'!
Yes, shark fever hit Australia while I was there.
A few people got totally or partially eaten but this didn't deter me from going into the sea.
Well, up to my knees anyway.
My favourite piece of news was that David Hasselhoff of 'Baywatch' fame would be bringing his all-singing, all-dancing show to town with special guest star, 'Knight Industries Two Thousand' otherwise known as KITT from 'Knight Rider' (this, as coincidence may have it, is the kind of car that boguns* drive to impress other boguns).
I'm not sure if he drives onto the stage in the car or if KITT sings a duet with him but I'm so sad that the show didn't open until after I left.
The flyer for the event was titled 'The HOFFicial Tour' and included images of David in LA with the the 'HOLLYWOOD' sign changed to 'HOFFYWOOD', a picture of his head photoshopped onto Michelangelo's 'David' statue and an on/(H)off switch... oh, and a cup of Hoffee with David's face in the steaming hot mug of Columbia's finest.
I'm sure everybody in the world wants to see this show and hopefully it'll be in your hamlet soon. Keep your fingers crossed!
I made it to New Zealand for the first time and boy, was it worth it.
If you're passing by, please don't miss the opportunity to go to a club called Sandwiches in Wellington.
Now answer me this: why do people move into houses that they know are near pubs, bars, cafes and clubs and then complain about the noise? Move to the fucking countryside, you moron!
Lee Burridge (UK)
Wellington people are great as is the city itself.
Bryce is one of the founding members of the Sandwiches brand and after hosting some one-off parties and building a crowd, has set it up as a club.
It's awesome! What else can you say about a party that finally comes to a halt at 10pm the next evening?!
I must add that all four 'last men standing' were actually girls who put their male counterparts to shame in the
I had planned to do some sightseeing but only managed to take in the beautiful drive along the harbour out to the airport.
Some kind person pointed out the boat that was the star of Peter Jackson's last movie 'King Kong' so, with that tourist attraction scratched off my list, I flew back to Sydney.
I had saved the best gigs in Australia till the last few weekends.
The weekend after my super trip to New Zealand I was off to Melbourne on the Friday and then had two gigs in Sydney, one on the Saturday and a daytime party in 'The Garden' on the Sunday.
Now answer me this: why do people move into houses that they know are near pubs, bars, cafes and clubs and then complain about the noise?
Move to the fucking countryside, you moron! One of these complainers had been moaning again so sadly the Sunday garden party had such severe noise restrictions on it that the sound of mice farting would have drowned out the music.
Party cancelled. Oh well, the Friday night bash in my jilted 365 location Melbo was by far and away the best one I've ever played there.
Brown Alley rocked and I can promise you this, Melbs...
I'll be back for a lot more next year. I went out before the gig and heard some great music as well as eating the best vegetarian food in ages in Vegie Bar.
I think my favorite gig in Australia ended up being the last club gig in Sydney.
There's a place called the Chinese Laundry and residing in the basement is The Cave.
It's hot. It's dark. It's loud. It's amazing. This club is supporting underground music and the crowd is crazy.
My favourite shirt of the night was worn by a man who had the most plunging v-neck in history.
This award used to be held by Nottingham's Matt Tolfrey but sorry Matt, you've been ousted.
This neckline is of Olympic standard... the gauntlet has been thrown down.
I noticed on most of the flyers for this tour that brackets had appeared after my name with UK written in them.
I thought that after all this time maybe I would no longer have to be announced as British.
Lee Burridge (UK)
I decided to scan through some of the clubbing magazines and look at all the DJs and there they were, brackets and brackets full of 'UK'.
I wonder if this means the night will be really good?
How much trust do people put in this small piece of information?
Have you really made it when you no longer have to have them after your name?
If I put Lee Burridge (Outer laying States of Mongolia) or (Ghana) or (Monkey fucker) will it attract less people (or maybe more just out of interest).
I don't know but I think I'm going to try it in a few places as some kind of experiment.
I'll let you know what happens.
Lee Burridge (UK)
*Boguns are the Australian equivalent of trailer trash. Think moron mullets and dungarees (which may be coming back into fashion sometime this year but never went out of fashion in Adelaide.)