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ERICK MORILLO vs ROGER SANCHEZ @ Red Hill gets 8.5/10

Roger Sanchez

Erick Morillo and Roger Sanchez @ Red Hill Auditorium
w/ Dennis Cruz, Deepsoundz DJs
Sunday, March 4, 2018

8.5/10

Closing out their summer of gigs up at Red Hill in style, promoters T1000 and seabreezepromotions brought us a line up from house music heaven to celebrate the long weekend, with two of the all-time greats of the genre, Erick Morillo and Roger Sanchez – and the Latin legends didn’t disappoint, bringing that real house music vibe and putting on a masterclass in mixing.

It may be a bit of a mission to get to, but Red Hill really is a great venue worth the trip. Once there, you can settle in on the steps of the giant amphitheatre with some decent dinner and drinks options, even bottles of wine, and bask in the glory of the amazing view from the hills as the sun sets behind the city in the distance, to a pumping soundtrack.

Dennis Cruz

Tonight, only the middle section of the amphitheatre was open, with perhaps not as many tickets sold as expected on such a busy long weekend. These kind of line-ups are a bit more directed at the mature raver, who may well be away for the long weekend with family these days, but there was still a big turnout of old school house music lovers, and some clued up youngsters, who were pumped from early on for this special double billing. The modified layout worked well to create a solid stripe of people down the middle, from the very top, all the way down to the big dancefloor up front, creating a packed vibe – but it was much easier to access amenities tonight compared to fully sold out gigs like Fatboy Slim recently, which along with the perfect weather, made for a very pleasant concert experience.

Dennis Cruz

Also in support tonight was special guest, rising Spanish star DJ and producer Dennis Cruz, and the local Deepsoundz DJs, who got things off to a start early on from 5.45pm. Cruz did a great job building the vibe, impressing many early on with his tech-house sounds as the sun set over Perth, casting a beautiful twilight across the venue, as the lights started to really take effect. He primed the crowd nicely, handing over to Sanchez at 8pm.

Roger Sanchez

Roger Sanchez has been doing this for a long time, but The S-Man is still at the top of his game. In his trademark cap, singlet and immaculately trimmed facial hair, he may be a little bigger now, but is still in great shape. Now 50 years old, the NYC native is relentless – just like his mixing – still touring constantly, and holding down his long time Ibiza residency, the man is a machine. And it is immediately evident why he is still in great demand – he is simply a great DJ, in the purest sense.

He wasted no time to get into it, and the lights and visual show stepped up a notch, as he laid down some tribal house beats and heaving rhythms, mixed with precision. Always the pro, he is constantly working the mixer, a master of the breakdown and the build, he knows how to work a crowd.

The crowd in attendance were a mixed bag, but shared amongst them a passion for house music. They knew this was a special event, the real deal, and they were here to dance. There was a great energy in the big bowl, with positive vibes and smiles all round.

Roger Sanchez

Sanchez kept things rolling with a great selection of recent house cuts, like Camelphat & Elderbrook’s ubiquitous Cola, whilst also mixing in some soulful classics, like Ultra Nate’s Free and Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim (who recently graced the same stage), which he wound out to maximum effect, building things to a huge peak before dropping the beat, setting the crowd off into a frenzy.

While a DJ first and foremost, Sanchez has produced many tracks and remixes over the years, and he finished with a huge reworking of his biggest single from 2001, the driving and emotional Another Chance.

While the billing of the night as Morillo vs Sanchez may have had you thinking the two might play back to back, that was not the case, with Sanchez handing over the decks respectfully to Morillo. The two have obviously been having a great time touring together and got on the mic to profess their love for each other – stating that it’s very rare they play together like this. Indeed, it was a real treat for all involved.

Erick Morillo

Sanchez’ set was masterful, but Erick Morillo managed to take things to the next level. Taking the mic, he got the crowd really fired up, in his up-front style, stating of Sanchez, “I love this motherfucker!” and “To me, music is like really good food, or really good sex. So right now I’m about to have sex with every single person in the motherfucking place! So Perth, if you’re ready, make some noise!”

And for the next two hours, everyone in the crowd got well and truly fucked by Morillo, as he unleashed an onslaught of the finest house music mixed with flair, passion and skill, in his inimitable, flamboyant style. The Colombian-American is great to watch as he grooves behind the decks, arms in the air, almost conducting the music.

Just in case you weren’t sure, his name was cast in big letters up on the big screen behind him, alternating with the logo of his legendary label Subliminal, mixed over colourful patterns dancing around, along with the massive stage’s light show.

Erick Morillo

Another truly great DJ, Morillo really squeezes every last drop out of his tracks, with loops and effects, and he plays a really broad range too. From the classic funky house of Yves Murasca’s All About House Music to more techy, deep, euro-house tracks like Ame’s Rej and Domino by Oxia. Remixing old hits like Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground, and mashing up Chuck Roberts’ famous My House acapella over Silicone Soul’s timeless Right On! He fearlessly blazes across genres, making it all mix in with his vision, effortlessly and seamlessly.

He genuinely seemed to be having a great time, getting on the mic near the end to exclaim “Perth, I fucking love you!”, which he then sampled and fucked with over the top of the beats, and requested that next time he’s in town, we do an all-nighter so we can party properly.

Wrapping up an awesome set of tour de force mixing, he dropped Masters At Work’s classic Work, which he somehow blended into a tasteful remix of John Lennon’s Imagine – winding it back to the solitary piano and vocals for a dramatic, hands-in-the-air finale.

He even jumped down to shake hands and take photos with the crowd afterwards. A real special night and an absolute treat for fans of real house music. Two of the best, together, reminding you what it’s all about. Real DJing. Real house music.

ALFRED GORMAN

Photos by Linda Dunjey

Roger Sanchez

 

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