Category Archives: the doors
Moodymann/Kenny Dixon Jr live at Mad Racket Sydney Festival 2008 playing The Doors – Riders on the Storm
Review thanks to Andrew Wowk @ Inthemix
Every year the Sydney Festival just seems to get better. More and more acts tour, more and more musical, cultural and theatrical events are held, and more and more people attend. And in the spirit of this awesomeness (yes, awesomeness is actually a word), Mad Racket took over the Beck’s Festival Bar for an evening, showcasing a diverse array of acts including Detroit star Moodymann, Mark Pritchard from Warp Records, the Mad Racket Live Jam and the Mad Racket DJs themselves.
Zootie and then Jimmi James were at the controls for the first part of the night, laying down an eclectic mix of quality warm-up music. Zootie started his set with some quirky downtempo beats that straddled the boundaries of dub and electronica, sitting somewhere in between the two in a blissful state of being pretty much unclassifiable. He then worked his way up to some nice deep house and tech grooves, but still kept the BPMs restrained and the grooves simple. Jimmi James picked up where his partner in crime had left off, continuing with the smooth deep tech sounds, slowly coaxing punters away from the seats and onto the dancefloor in time for Mark Pritchard to start his set.
Mark Pritchard then stepped up to the decks. Having never seen Mark play before, I was really excited to see what he brought to the table (or dancefloor, as it were), and I must say I was thoroughly impressed. Dropping a diverse selection of tunes that ranged from wigged-out funk to hazy dub, from punchy electronic house to syncopated electronica and glitchy broken beats, Pritchard kept the now growing dancefloor entertained and even encouraged a few more punters to finish their drinks and get their wiggle on. But what was best was hearing the ‘original’ version of Shari Vari by A Number of Names, which I’m pretty sure actually came out before I was even born, but still rocked the dancefloor, proving that quality music is indeed timeless. Kudos, Mr Pritchard.
Next up the Mad Racket Live Jam, got, well… live. Utilisting a simple set up of drums, keys, bass, and guest vocals from Jamie Lloyd, the band played a very tight and fully live set of funk and soul, with plenty of clever improvisations thrown into the mix. Lloyd’s voice was on-song as always, complementing the deep, funky rhythms and infectious grooves. And then while the stage was set for Moodymann, the Mad Racket DJs jumped back on to the decks again for a few minutes, warming up the crowd perfectly with some warm, downtempo grooves that led perfectly into Moodymann’s set.
By the time Moodymann stepped up to the decks, the floor was rammed and the vibe was fantastic. The Detroit native started his set from behind a screen, which seemed to divide opinions. Some felt it was a great idea as by shrouding the DJ it put the focus back on to the music and the party, others felt that in the end it only attracted more attention to the DJ since people spent their time asking “what’s with the sheet in front of Moodymann?”. Regardless, it came down about twenty minutes into his set anyway, and to rapturous applause: the smiling face of Kenneth Dixon Jnr. shone out across the dancefloor, energising the crowd and dispelling any doubts that his moniker reflects his personality. And if the curtain wasn’t controversial enough, his microphone antics certainly gave punters another thing to talk about. Occasionally turning down the music to have a yarn, Dixon Jnr. would chat about anything from the fact he was playing vinyl (which he indicated by telling us that by “putting my mother f*ckin’ hand on the record, it stops”) to brief histories of tracks or even just how he was feeling. But you know what? It wasn’t in the slightest bit annoying. Anyone else doing that probably would have made me want to boo them off the stage (*Carl Cox*, anyone?), but the guy is all class, and he pulled it off in a jovial and cheeky manner.
Musically, the set was a pastiche of sounds, as it typically is when a Detroit legend graces the decks. During the earlier part of the set, old school disco and house featured heavily, occasionally interspersed with low-slung funk and hip-hop grooves and a few musical curveballs. Tyree Cooper Jungle Crash felt just as at home next to J Dilla Jungle Love, as did The Coach House Rhythm Section and The Doors Riders On The Storm, and the beats were as funky and soulful as they were fun. But it wasn’t all unhurried, funky grooves: slowly but surely across the first hour or so the intensity built up, with the tunes heading towards tech house, acid house and funky techno territory. There was also plenty of diversity in the second half of his set. Moodymann crossed funkier, groovier tech sounds with slamming cuts and deeper, melodic Detroit sounds, including a track that sounded somewhere between Matthew Jonson and Minilogue. A quality, diverse set if I ever heard one. And while his mixing wasn’t exactly out of this world, I don’t think anyone really cared (I certainly didn’t) when the tunes were as good as they were.
Simon Caldwell then kept he crowd rocking till close with a great selection of dancefloor oriented tech sounds, including his now stable I Get Deeper by Late Nite Tuff Guy and Canopy by Partial Arts (which he perfectly mixed into Moodymann’s last track, I might add). As always his mixing was of insanely high quality, and it was great to see him really enjoying playing his set. It really seems like Mad Racket can do no wrong! Keep it up, please!
- CHICAGO HOUSE CLASSIC: Adonis – No Way Back (1986) TRAX RECORDS (sydneyunderground.org)
- SFF 2011: End Of Animal: Surreal Korean Apocalyptia (australianfilmreview.wordpress.com)