Astral People: Witness//01
BYO is excited to introduce, or remind you, that Astral People have launched ‘Witness.’ Last Sunday we saw those behind ‘Congress’ and ‘CONCEPT’ at Goodgod, take over the Factory Theatre. Not only that, but they’re going to do it again. Apparently three times every year, lucky Sydney.
The lineup was thirteen strong with some of the brightest talent in the electronic music scene playing between two stages: in the courtyard and on the factory floor. With the hope of opening a music lovers eyes to the unique talent found in Sydney and around the world, Astral People opened the doors to Factory Theatre at 2pm sharp with no idea how this was going to be received. We here at Backyard Opera love them because they take risks; they are pioneers in our electronic music scene.
By the way guys! The event? Complete success!
From 2pm the courtyard was in possession of DJ Andy Webb, one of Sydney’s finest, who performed a great set as always, and was followed by Simon Caldwell, a local Sydney legend. Caldwell has been in the game since the early 90's and was the co-host of the famous Mad Racket parties (yes this was before my time, but I've heard stories). Simon has showed no sings of slowing down, and revealed his eclectic taste of music to the audience, with a genre challenging set. Andras Fox brought his new age, garage house sound to the stage, letting loose a barrage of great tracks and smooth transitions with plenty of variation throughout. Untzz 12 Inch showed his veteran status by his seemingly effortless manipulation of tracks. The brilliant man even managed to use the sound of overhead planes to work with the songs.
Preacha & Ben Fester teamed up to bring us an hour of non stop tunes, and gave us futuristic sounds and set the atmosphere up soaring. However, this was all just in preparation for the headliner, UK favourite Paleman. Very few producers have had such an amazing and rapid evolution in only 18 months, and during his set he unveiled exactly why that was! With his refined blend of classic and current, his set was simple, elegant but still with his distinctive flourish! Even though it was his first time in the country, he was still a definite highlight of the night.
Meanwhile, inside on the Factory Floor Retiree opened up the live acts with a powerful and funky set. Playing a solid set list including old and new tracks and taking the ambience of the room and using it to their advantage. Inside was a great place for them, and they used heaps of visual aspects (including lasers and smoke machines) to further their set. Roland Tings took over next, and with it came the intense, burning wish that I knew how to dance because I've never had that feeling before. Roland's energy on stage (second to only Black Vanilla, but we'll get to them in a moment) was refreshing and only takes a back burner to his undeniable talent. Keep an eye on this one, I'm telling you!
So let's just talk about Black Vanilla for a second. When learning of their existence, someone described them to me as an "electro boy band" and I had no idea how to take that. When I was watching them perform live, I completely understood. Their energy, their rapport with the audience, their great attitudes and unmistakable talent made for a great set that could never have been long enough. I actually got so excited that I stopped taking notes
Closing up the Factory Floor was Oscar Key Sung, who is easily one of the coolest people I’ve ever seen, and it seemed so effortless. He was a great and diverse act, with his more soulful and ambient approach giving the audience a well planned change of pace. Throughout his entire set he kept it interesting and sexy, plus he had a great stage presence and is adorable to boot.
Above all the acts though, was the atmosphere. It’s been a long time before have I been in the attendance with such nice and well meaning people. There was no animosity or ill-intent, and it was so easy to go up to someone and have a conversation with that person, which is exactly what I did.
If you didn't go this time, make sure you make it to the next one. It's not something to be missed!
See you all next time!
By Gabriel Khouri
Photography by Sam Macdonald