Soon after their Creamfields gig in Sydney, a few days later was a surprise announcement that Above & Beyond will be playing a club gig (cue the cheer and fanfare) especially after the woeful performance at Creamfields (terrible audio quality and production). However it was not long before more details sifted in and we find out that it would be Marquee that will be hosting these legends in Trance. I think the whole Sydney-based trance family let a collective sigh as they pondered whether or not to make the trek to Marquee, or alternatively whether or not they’d even be able to get in to see Jonno and Paavo (whether that be long queues or “selective” security and door policies).
I have been to Marquee before, and it’s no doubt a very nice venue, but the strange combination of a shiny new venue combined with an attempt to appeal to the rich creates an interesting scene when true music fans clash with this idea. It would be interesting to see the crowd that would turn up (or should I say, be allowed in), club gigs are usually best to hear what a DJ is truly capable of, there’s usually no pressure to ‘play for the masses’ and tunes which are out of the ordinary can be played.
Had a quick squizz in the Boombox and for a RnB-esque room, it’s quite nice.
Last Friday though? Despite being in a club, there was no club gig feel, first trance DJs to be on the decks were Binary Finary (big name in trance themselves) and from the crowd I hear a shout, “what is this? play more vocal trance”, this was early in the night and I already felt how bad this crowd was going to be. Not long after (with Binary Finary still playing) there is another confused punter not even realising who is playing, ignorantly there are requests for ‘Sun and Moon’ and I give myself a mental facepalm (maybe a few).
Time came and Paavo and Jonno from Above & Beyond arrive, as they step on the decks, it’s clear how many actually know what’s going on. It becomes even clearer when a few of their older tunes are dropped, like ‘On a good day’ and ‘Sirens of the Sea’, I kid you not, less than 10% of the crowd would know the words and sing-a-long. 10 fucking percent, it wasn’t too bad being front and centre, but as you step back, there’s nothing from the crowd at all.
Speaking of moving back, the majority of the crowd were the biggest wankers I have ever seen! Trying to move around with a big fuck-off DSLR and flash is usually an easy affair, either they’ll spot you and move, or a quick tap and a gap is quickly opened for you to pass, but not this time, not this venue. Everyone wants to be where they are (or closer to the front) and it takes a good shove to get through. Seriously, I’m not here to take your spot. Another time a guy behind me holds onto my back as he attempts to get on a mate’s shoulder, man, I was tempted to just give him a knock with the magnesium alloy body of my camera.
Back to A&B though, they know how to work the crowd, but this by no means made up for the lacklustre set at Creamfields. To me it’s still the same predictable cheesy Group Therapy set we’ve all heard a million times. It’s almost become a formula, Sun & Moon, Thing Called Love, Prelude, Love is not Enough, Prelude and so forth. It’s not that they’re such bad tunes, but they’ve just been overplayed and in a way that when you’ve heard one Group Therapy set, you’ve pretty much heard them all.
The highlight of the night would have been Oceanlab’s Siren by the Sea, despite the lack of knowledge from the crowd, it’s just one of them amazing songs.
Other thoughts for the night? The table service is a rather nice thing (if you’ve got the exorbant amounts of money to get one), someone appeared to have a birthday and were greeted with a girl carrying a CO2 tank and two guns to blast CO2 fog everywhere, pretty damn awesome way. There’s no doubt Marquee is a lavish place, plenty of hot girls dancing on stage in a variety of outfits, from little bras to swimsuit-esque outfits and even space-women! Interesting but over-the-top.
To be honest, I’ve been hoping for a nice club to open up in Sydney that would have their own music policy, but after this second visit two months after opening, I don’t see the place lasting at all. Lovely venue, ruined by terrible management. A good club only needs a few things, good venue and production (appropriate for the music genres you’ll support), clearly defined nights and music policy so punters know exactly what’s going on and when and finally having staff and security that aren’t there to play God.
That’s it from me, enjoy the rest of the photos by clicking below, you probably won’t see me step foot in Marquee again 😉 and my 2c, if you haven’t been, you’re not missing out on much.