Live Review

Summadayze, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

New Year’s Day dance-fest strikes again.

Following some rather turbulent weather, the dance-fest Summadazye kicks off with a myriad of DJs, including an exuberant Stafford Brothers, who spin the yearning, melancholic refrains of Everything But The Girl’s timeless ‘Missing.’ Meanwhile, enormous, inflatable ice-creams hover around the stage, attempting to give a summery atmosphere to proceedings.

After a rather lengthy sound-check, which drives the rowdy crowd’s anticipation levels to fever-pitch, menacing guitar chords herald the arrival of N*E*R*D. Frontman and R&B producer extraordinaire Pharrell Williams leaps across the stage, to a psychedelic-funk concoction. Indeed, with a maelstrom of funky-bass-lines, synths and booming vocals, the band is like a 21st century version of dynamic psychedelia from the likes of The Hendrix Experience and Funkadelic. The rumbling drums and funky guitars of ‘She Wants To Move’ elicit squeals from the audience, while ‘Backstreet Love,’ takes the crowd on a rather soulful excursion. The driving funk grooves of ‘Hot N Fun’ have the punters singing along gleefully. “2011 is the Year of Individuality, so we’re gonna do something different,” says Pharrell, before ironically ordering punters to conform and “squat down,” then jump up collectively. After a furious display of guitar solos and rolling drumbeats, the set culminates in a triumphant, earth-shattering climax. Splendid. As punters scream for Justice, the duo emerges from behind the stage, before they thrill fans with the thumping rhythms of The Chemical Brothers’ ‘Block Rockin’ Beats.’ Their own Simian collaboration, the electro house remix of ‘We Are Your Friends,’ has the crowd singing along, before it metamorphosises into the reggae-tinged rhythms of War’s ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends?’

Almost an hour after his scheduled time, legendary House DJ Armand Van Helden finally appears, sporting his trademark baseball cap, amidst rising smoke and throbbing techno synths, much to the crowd’s excitement. As multicoloured lights appear to be bubbling upwards on enormous screens, the obligatory glow-sticks emerge, as punters wave them in the air. Armand’s collaboration with Dizzee Rascal, the buzzing bass-lines and accelerated beats of ‘Bonkers,’ has the crowd singing along. Then, it’s time for the churning techno synths of Martin Solveig’s ‘Hello,’ the Hi-NRG bubbling bass-lines of ‘I Want Your Soul’ and snippets of Blur’s ‘Song 2,’ which have punters singing “Woo-hoo!” However, the majestic opening chords of his project, Duck Sauce’s ‘Barbra Streisand’ have punters ecstatically singing, “Woo!” as they continue to wave glow-sticks in the air. The jubilant disco-house grooves of ‘MyMyMy’ and the magnificent Duck Sauce disco-house anthem, ‘aNYway’ appears, before the latter eerily merges with Ou Est Le Swimming Pool’s haunting ‘Dance The Way I Feel.’

Amidst glowing red and blue lights, arguably the world’s most omnipresent DJ David Guetta takes to the stage, and it’s all hands on decks. Arms outstretched, he immediately spins his Flo Rida collaboration ‘Club Can’t Handle Me,’ with snippets of the familiar piano chords and pumping beats of ‘Gettin’ Over You,’ which has the crowd singing along. Clapping his hands, while wearing headphones and dressed in a hoodie, the reigning house-pop DJ is clearly ebullient, soaking in the adulation from dancing punters. Throbbing beats reverberate through the venue, with snippets from Far East Movement’s ‘Like A G6’ and the Akon collaboration ‘Sexy Bitch,’ mixed with swirling synths. As fireworks erupt from the stage, two blue robots appear, emitting red laser beams from their hands, like something out of Tron. After urging punters to hold their mobile phones aloft, David launches into wobbly vocals on his Auto-Tune microphone, saying, “Summadayze, can you feel it?” to which the crowd roars, “Yeah!” Remarkably, jostling robots re-appear, with fireworks coming out of their fingers, as throbbing beats and soaring synths emanate from the stage. The familiar tinkling piano refrains from Kelly Rowland’s ‘When Love Takes Over’ ring out, causing the girls to sing along. Then, it’s time for the short sharp guitar riffs of Black Eyed Peas’ ‘I Gotta Feeling.’ “Summadayze, I love you,” says David, pounding his fists triumphantly in the air. After accelerated beats come to an abrupt halt, the big screens display a large red love heart, with the words ‘ONE LOVE. DAVID GUETTA.’ Overall, the fest proves that dance music has undeniably gone pop. And judging by the giddy reception from the assembled throng tonight, the kids seem to love it.

Tags: N.E.R.D, Features

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