Thursday, January 13, 2011

Flying Lotus & The Gaslamp Killer @ THE CLUBHoUSE

An early rise on Wednesday morning the 5th of January in anticipation for what was ahead that night. Breakfast, some chat and a quick self-reminder of where exactly this trip had all come from… A bunch of university students decided to open up a venue in the semi arid nightclub scene of Canberra, within a couple of months they had managed to secure arguably the greatest electronic artist of our time. It took me a while to believe that Flying Lotus would be coming to Canberra let alone the newly opened shambolic, underground oasis that is ‘The Clubhouse’, a venue which is a saving grace in a city begging to be lead into deeper musical waters.

Off the ferry and over the rails, we hopped in a car at Kogorah station leaving a banjo player and some colorful folk behind as we rolled our way to Canberra with a carful of drums, bass and eager ways, stopping at a few nice joints along the way.

Fence Tompkins
Once the car pulled up and the 3 something hours on the road were behind us, enough time was left to enjoy the late afternoon air over some beers and bootlegged 90’s hip hop, peering out onto a concrete wall that faced our rooms. Before too much was said and certainly done we were packed in a taxi towards The Clubhouse where the crowd had not yet emerged save a handful of drum and bass heads who scuffled around keying for some tunes, the time was only 4.45 in the afternoon. Fence Tompkins jumped behind the decks and let rip to what was a delightfully energetic drum and bass/hip hop/glitch set. Playing into the darkest most twisted desert, and reeling back to a light show heard through speakers. I Had a quick phone word to Carlos (known to his friends as mr. Shaba) the driver and caretaker of the artists who said he had to hang up because he was feeling really dizzy, or at least that’s what I heard. 
Time was drunk for the next few hours while we waited for what we had come all this way to see and hear…
Fly Lo does sound check
We walked up the club stairs and swung the door open to quite literally a drum roll. There was Flying Lotus, a living legend seated at the drum kit set up on stage having a hit. We sat over a beer and chatted amongst ourselves as bass player Stephen 'Thundercat' Bruner and brother and drummer Ronald Bruner Jr wondered around while Fly Lo checked this and that. Soon he took his place behind his computer and mixer, Ronald planted himself on the stool and twirled his sticks. Fly Lo kicked off his sound check. Without doubt a champion of his trade one could tell at a glance even with no recollection of the name, Flying Lotus. 
Time passed and the doors to the main stage opened with a flood of extraordinarily happy faces. You could really feel that something special was about to happen. The setting was intimate and begging to be filled with incredible music. The organisers, humble as they were, had poured every ounce of creative energy into making this a night that the people of Canberra would relish, and the place did look and sound a treat: with two stages, one located in Canberra’s new chalk ridden home of underground dance music The Clubhouse, where the walls are literally a mark of the patrons, the other stage, lent from the club next door due to spacial issues. Both floors were looking grand with installation art about the place, a screen flashing images of street art and an unreal light setup.
Stepping outside to look at the stars I came back in with a growing glow, entering the room to see Onetalk mixing up a lush electronica/hip hop set that the crowd had sunk right into (Onetalk live set @ Flying Lotus), I was stunned to find out later this was their first ever live performance. Sitting back down Mr. Shaba approached me and asked if I could help bring some food up for the artists, I obliged and before I knew it was holding a delicious platter of prosciutto vol au vents, panting and dripping from a scurry through the rain swept streets of Civic.

I can only remember a shadow of the events that followed, which includes both Flying Lotus and The Gaslamp Killer's sets. The music was an extraordinary blur and the people I spoke to were out of their mind happy to be present at this moment. Jumz, a friend of mine who is slowly beginning to be enveloped in the electronic music scene stopped me and assured me this was the finest musical encounter he had ever experienced by some margin.

Flying Lotus

The Gaslamp Killer
After The Gaslamp Killer I regained some balance and listened in to Electric Sea Spider who was performing his first live set, in front of a crowd come off whatever just happened. He played nothing like a first timer with talent and ear, the now small but pleased remaining crowd responded accordingly to some great beats.

Electric Sea Spider 
Leaving the Clubhouse and off into the morning with another gaze at the stars and an untouched hot chocolate in hand, friend Jamie lost in circles behind, arms feebly at his chest like a crippled praying mantis, muttering something I wish I could’ve understood (also wish I got a picture). We’d gotten ourselves into a place only reserved for a night like this.

Was it the greatest set I've ever heard? Did Flying Lotus live up to expectation? The answer is probably... I really can’t remember. The one thing I can say, is that Canberra has a bright future ahead. With a responsive, open, like-minded public who are lending tremendous support to a group of guys who are creating something special. 

Big thanks to Ric, Dave & Mr. Shaba

Photographs by Dorothy Chan

Apparently I took around 20 minutes of very poor quality footage that night...this is the best of it

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