Live Review: ShockOne, Beatslappaz, Wuki, Distro, Philly Blunt, Mono Lisa

15 September 2014 | 2:47 pm | Staff Writer

ShockOne leads a plethora of talent at Ambar.

More ShockOne More ShockOne

Admissions first: it’s been a while since this reviewer’s last visit to Ambar, a night that ended up with the loss of important material possessions and sanity.

Friday night proved to be a good re-entry point, with a range of styles on show for the sixth birthday of local all-in dance night, Force Majeure. It wouldn’t be an Ambar night without a few little twists, though, and the offer of two on-the-button underground acts – and one surprise guest – was too much for a whole lot of people.

A pretty eclectic crowd filed in and down the stairs as Mono Lisa and Philly Blunt both lay down the mood with some high-energy sets. Both did their best to cover as much ground as possible; split between shuffling rave kids, hipsters, gym dudes and a few more little niches, reading the crowd was obviously the main focus. Philly’s set bounced around through bass-driven house and slow, funky grooves in equal measure.

UK-based Distro amped up the night a bit with a set packed full of dirty garage and wonky, broken techno sounds. The Bristol producer produced what was probably the weirdest set. Turning I Whip My Hair Back And Forth into a synthy jam and Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe into a bassy banger were smart moves.

Continuing the theme of “everything goes”, Wuki brought a reputation for genre-bending with him as well. Specialising in Detroit techno and footwork, Wuki’s set was one continuous dance competition, with the floor filling out. Generous amounts of breaks and trippy footwork tracks kept everyone on their feet. Like Distro, Wuki has a penchant for morphing pop samples into weird, spacey noises.

As for the surprise act, well, there’s probably no one more fitting to celebrate a WA club night than ShockOne. The local producer-cum-d’n’b legend obviously wanted to keep it low-key tonight, and his set reflected that. Foregoing the heavier side of his music, ShockOne focused more on carrying the vibe of his predecessors, even throwing a few loungey numbers in for good measure. Big bass, as usual, was the order of the night, though, and like the international guests he pounded the sound system with the most thumping sounds he had. The eventual dawning on the crowd that, yes, this was in fact ShockOne was definitely a highlight of the night; watching people dance harder once they realised was priceless. Once again, ShockOne was set on mixing up the angles, and he leapt from beat to beat with grace. While a couple of holes appeared here and there, his set was almost consistent.

Beatslappaz were perfectly placed to finish off the night, throwing out a breaks-heavy set that seemed to confirm the way the entire night was going. Without letting up the energy too much, their deep, heavy set provided just enough boost to make it out into the dawn and back home, smile on face and keys still in pocket.