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DUDE, WHERE’S MICAH? THE FINALE @ Ambar gets 9/10

Dude, Where’s Micah? The Finale @ Ambar
Friday, January 12, 2018

9/10

It was the end of an era on Friday night at Ambar, as long time resident DJ, and Boomtick’s music programmer Micah played his last set at the club – 16 years on from when he started playing there, as a bright eyed and eager young DJ with a passion for breakbeats – a sound that would come to define him, and Ambar.

Since then, Micah has established himself firmly as one of our city’s best and most loved DJs and producers. During his tenure at the club he was responsible for the long running Japan 4 nights, and for recruiting and mentoring the many quality DJs who’ve graced the decks at Ambar over the years. He won Best Breaks DJ 10 years running, at the (sadly now defunct) Perth Dance Music Awards (PDMAs) and Ambar picked up many awards, including Best Nightclub (2003-2013), Best Club Night (2007-2013), and even made the prestigious DJ Mag Top 50 Clubs in the World list, coming in at 42.

He’s been a key player behind Breakfest, and has been a host of RTRFM’s Monday Full Frequency program since the start of the millennium. It’s fair to say the man has dedicated a large portion of his life to his love of dance music, and has played a large part in the development of the scene in Perth.

A couple months back, Micah made the hard decision to leave the Boomtick family, but not without organising one last, epic, puntastic party at his second home. Going out in true style, he spent weeks preparing a special six hour set that covered the last 20 years of dance music. It was a celebration, and also an emotional night, with a big crowd of ravers young and old who’ve shared some formative years dancing all night to Micah’s many sets.

Boomtick extended the love for this auspicious occasion by making it free entry all night, and the place was decked out for a party, complete with balloons, not to mention cut-outs of Micah’s ‘bass-face’ plastered all over the club.

Kicking things off from 9pm were a couple Ambar alumni, friends who’ve shared the booth with Micah on many occasions. Legendary Perth selectors Choice and Ben Mac, who’ve been with him since the early days. The pair got the night started in fine fashion with some back to back action as a steady stream of punters filed down the stairs into the club. By the time Micah made his appearance behind the decks to big cheers at 11pm, the club was comfortably packed. Ben Mac wound out their set with a cool mix of I Feel Love, before handing over the controls to Micah one last time.

To mark the occasion, Micah got on the mic to give a little heartfelt speech to thank everyone who came down, and anyone who’s ever come down over the last 16 years – but before things could get too sentimental, he simply declared “Let’s get the fuck started, right?” and dropped the beat, kicking things off with a Deekline bootleg mashup of Whoomp! (There It Is!) mixed with Daft Punk’s Technologic and a few other tracks, before fully kicking into gear with the Plump DJs’ breaks classic The Funk Hits The Fan.

From there on in, it was an incredible six-hour set, a real journey through genres that took everyone on a trip down memory lane, as Micah, armed with a stack of records and CDs, unleashed an onslaught of some of his favourite tunes from his collection, stitched neatly together in his own inimitable, upbeat, party fashion. Every few minutes it seemed another huge track was dropped, inciting another wave of cheers and hollers of approval.

There were a few special guest appearances throughout the night, as old mates who’d shared the stage over the years popped up to mix a few tunes, including Oli, Blend and pocket rocket Pussy Mittens who bounced into the booth for some big beats and big hugs.

Another old school stalwart of the scene, Tone, stepped up for a great little cameo, dropping the wicked phat Dave Spoon remix of Dizzee Rascal’s Flex. And of course Micah’s Full Frequency and production partner (as part of Black & Blunt), Philly Blunt joined him behind the decks.

The Freestylers massive tune Push Up blew up the dancefloor, a huge mix of DJ Zinc’s classic Super Sharp Shooter took us into drum ‘n’ bass territory, and Da Hool’s Meet Her At The Love Parade took us back to ’97. The big guns were there with Prodigy’s Breathe, Booka Shade’s In White Rooms, a very cool remix of Technotronic’s Pump Up The Jam and Drumattic Twins’ massive 2002 tune Feelin’ Kinda Strange was a huge moment.

As it pushed into peak clubbing time the place was getting rammed and the atmosphere was electric. It was clear people weren’t there to mess around – they were there to dance – and intended to make the most of every last moment.

The familiar acid sounds of Josh Wink’s Higher State of Consciousness filtered across the speakers, and The Presets’ My People never felt more fitting as the crowd sang along. Another particularly incredible sequence was when he mashed up The Plump DJs The Push with Underworld’s Born Slippy.

While Micah’s always been predominantly a breaks DJ – this set cast a wide net, taking in house, bass, electro and even some rock elements, such as the Sebastian remix of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name and a bootleg of Tears for Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World.

Ambar is a great nightclub, that’s been refined over the years to provide an awesome clubbing experience. There’s quality sound in the basement, a good sized, intimate dancefloor, and well-designed visuals and lighting that complement the music nicely. The booth is in prime position, where Micah would have spent countless nights, perched above the dancefloor, conducting the crowd – and he has it down to a fine art.

The sound and patrons of the club have changed a lot over the last five years, with a new generation coming through, and the rise of trap and dubstep – but tonight was about the glory days, with many jubilant, older heads reminiscing of mornings dancing till dawn. There was a great vibe harking back to the club’s halcyon days, with hugs and smiles all round.

Six hours absolutely flew by and it was fast approaching 5am. Finishing with a bang he dropped the classic Plump DJs’ Donna Kebab bootleg and an unexpected mix of Spandau Ballet’s True that went down a treat and got things a bit emotional.

The Chemical Brothers’ heavy weapon Galvanize had everyone jumping, including Micah. One of the best things about his sets, is he’s always clearly enjoying himself as much as the crowd – his energy and enthusiasm behind the decks is infectious.

He wound things up with The Plump DJs’ Morning Sun. The lights went up, and Micah graciously thanked the crowd, who erupted into heartfelt cheers and applause. Screams of “encore” and “one more tune” sadly were left unanswered, and that was it. The end of an era for a local legend – but he certainly went out in style with an amazing night of excellent tunes, excellent people and excellent vibes. You could feel the love in the room. This is what dance music is all about. Big cheers for one of the best. Thanks for all the good times in the AM bar Micah. Though we’ll no doubt be seeing him around town, as thankfully it’s not the end, just the start of a new chapter…

ALFRED GORMAN

Photos by KS Digital Media

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