Tuesday, 10 February 2009

TOUR DIARIES : A Festival Frenzy down under (part three)

This is the third & final piece in a 3-part serialization exclusively on the Manifesto of the Elite Force Tour Diaries dating back to a particularly intense 13-day trip to Australia in the first part of 2008. For those looking for a refresher on where we were at
here's PART TWO

The second weekend has come around all too quickly; in fact, I feel like I'm just starting to find my feet with timezones, sleeps, pace-of-life, and I feel like I'm almost ready to relax into a whole new groove. However, this weekend has other plans, and because it's also a holiday weekend with the Monday off, it means that the happy sadists at my agency have found some loophole in the space-time continuum whereby one will be able to play seven sets in five cities over a measly four days. And so it is that I embark on my barely credible second weekend in Australia.

Having woken that Friday in Melbourne, by mid-afternoon I'm in Brisbane for the second time, and whilst the weather's looking good, I have little or no appetite for it & opt instead for a chance to catch up on some admin & grab a nap before heading out for raucous meal with Phil K & our charming promoter for the evening. The restaurant is rather odd - sheets are draped throughout to create mini-enclaves within the diners are visually isolated from one another, which has the rather unnerving effect of making you feel like you've been trapped in a giant laundry. Laughter roars from all around us, and in the sheet-booth you can vaguely make out a couple, er, making out.
The gig's actually quite a disappointment, as it seems like Brisbane's clubbing community are completely spent after last weekend's festivities, but whilst the numbers are lower than expected, the sound and lights are fantastic, as is the hospitality, and I stumble into bed just before 6am for the luxury of a 90 minute rest before my ride to the airport arrives.

My time in Sydney flashes by in 7 short hours, but during that time I manage to play a two-hour set on the Future Funk Stage, which is exposed to full rage of the 30C sunshine, and is criminally quiet due to noise restrictions at the site, and then have a crazed five-minute buggy ride across the site to do a second set in the pulpit at the Area 21 stage, which once again, is actually a lot of fun. No sooner am I offstage after a further hour that I'm off to the airport again and en route to Tasmania to play at Halo in Hobart.

By the time I arrive I'm feeling pretty shattered§, but with the weekend barely halfway through I'm becoming a dab hand at grabbing room service on arrival, and then napping for an hour or so pre-show. Halo's a real favourite of mine, and the fact that this is the fourth time I've played here is testament to that: here we have a crowd who truely know how to let themselves go, and it's a thoroughly enjoyable few hours spent in the company of some familiar faces, and an errupting dancefloor.

I have to be in Melbourne by midday, so the 8.30 wake-up call really BITES this morning, but I'm quite buoyed by the fact that I have a good few friends coming along to FMF today, although I'm as concerned as everyone else about the weather forecast. There's an hour or so to kill in the hotel before I hit the site, and I amuse myself in the confines of the aircon by looking at the realtime temperatures soaring away online, and by the time we reach the site it's touching 40C ou there, and the whole area resembles a furious dustbowl. During my set, there's a healthy throng in thrall, and with each ramped up beat the dust clouds billow and choke, and the CDJs smoke under a veneer of sediment. Ice fans keep things sane, but I'm more than happy to have done with it & get to spend a thoroughly pleasant few hours with friends & family backstage, loading up on free booze & assembling a collection of Access All Areas passes, with which I'm hopeful we can use to get a decent viewing spot to see the Chemical Brothers.

Hahaha. Well that was _never_ going to happen. The crowd in the Myer Music Bowl is simply huge, with people hanging off every available structure, and whilst there's no chance of getting close enough to even see the stage, there's still an immense energy to the spectacle of a crowd this huge and this committed. As their light show entrances the masses, we drift off and catch the end of Marcus Shultz, replete with spectacular firework display, which actually belonged to a festival that was happening just over the road. As we wander on foot back into town, thousands and thousands of people join us, all appearing from similar outdoor events and gravitating towards the transport networks to get home ... it's a carnival atmosphere and reminds me of going to football matches at home. Just a buzz.

Later that night I'm doing yet another set, this time in the centre of town, and it's all a bit of a blur to be honest, thanks in the main to a horrible error in my flight bookings that leaves me with less than an hour's sleep, awoken by a stressing taxi driver with only 30 minutes to get to to my flight on time.

By the time I make Adelaide I am done for. That night I close out my stage. Every person on the site only has eyes & ears for the Chemicals, and so slight is my crowd, I nearly abandon ship to join in the fun, but manage to stay pro to the end. As I collapse backstage with the heat still nudging high 30s at 10pm and with Mr. Vath starting to ramp up the last night madness to fever pitch, I knew I couldn't make sense of it all and headed back to the hotel where I crashed. Hard.

The following morning I flew back to Sydney to begin my journey home. My flight was cancelled. They put me up in a shitty airport hotel. I cursed them all so hard they nearly deported me. The following day we finally flew to Hong Kong amidst chaotic airport scenes. At midnight, they cancelled the very flight we were on and put us up in another airport hotel. I finally got home at 2am on Friday morning.

Ah the glamour ...


Blasj said...

Man, I feel tired just reading it!!...
Sorry to hear you had to compete with the Chems and their viual madness (at midnight...)

Old Scrote said...

I can feel the pain! Flight-taxi-hotel-taxi-work-taxi-flight.. I'm well familiar with the international jet-set lifestyle, though my 'appearances' are only at factories. Great Chems video too.

Butter Party said...

Hahaha wow that sounds exhausting... and you didn't even mention the medical emergency on your flight back to Melbourne that interrupted your precious sleep! :)

Dust said...

Ah shit yeah - I'd totally forgotten about that!