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FATBOY SLIM @ Nodes Park Whitfords gets 8/10


Fatboy Slim @ Nodes Park Whitfords

w/ 2manydjs, Icarus, Love Deluxe, Tina Says, Matt Granich
Sunday, February 2, 2020

8/10

Before reading a review it helps to understand the biases of the reviewer, in order to add context to the analysis (yes analysis guys, that’s what I am doing here). Whether they are reporting on a type of music they generally don’t like, or an actor they once met who was rude to them or a play about spiders when they have crippling arachnophobia, this information provides a framework for the resulting opinion to make complete sense. The two things you need to go into this review knowing about myself are 1. I came of age in the 90s, and 2. the moment I identified with most strongly in the classic film of the period Dazed and Confused was Adam Goldberg, when asked by his friends what he wanted to do, exclaiming with complete sincerity, “I wanna dance!”

Now that vital bit of information is out of the way, we can move on to this past Sunday, at Whitfords’ Node Park on the foreshore in Hillarys, and the king of popular 90s dance music, Mr Fatboy Slim. It was a typical warm Perth summer’s day and a dance music extravaganza by the beachside would seem the perfect place to be. We arrived to the sounds of Sydney’s Love Deluxe spinning the club classic U Sure Do by Strike which felt like a good indicator of the 90s spirit of the day. The large grass arena, surrounded by sand dunes and scrubby trees, already had a fair amount of people scattered about. A few had committed to dancing front of stage though most either found themselves close to the bar at the very back of the oval or sitting under any of the limited shade.

In previous shows reports seem to suggest that Love Deluxe had to deal with the disappointing dancefloor of the first DJ on the decks but in Perth by the time he took the stage two previous DJs Matt Granich and Tina Says had warmed the crowd up.  The Sydney DJ played good summer afternoon faire and was rewarded by a loyal gang of dancers for his efforts. Following up Love Deluxe was Bristol DJ brothers Tom and Ian Griffiths aka Icarus. They kept the good vibes going with a house-based set that had the dance floor further enlarging for their efforts.

I’ve wanted to dance to a 2manyDJs set since I heard their Soulwax mixes circulating in the early 2000s. The Belgian brothers of Stephen and David Dewaele (second DJ brothers of the day!) did not disappoint on the crowd-pleasing tip. From the outset they knew how to gain favour with this WA crowd beginning with the thumping sounds of ACDC’s Dirty Deeds. Not shying away from dance floor standards, then came Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax, Blur’s Girls and Boys, Technotronic’s Pump Up the Jump, Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime and even the ultimate dancefloor anthem, New Order’s Blue Monday getting a spin. This kept the crowd in good spirits for the night’s main attraction, Fatboy Slim aka Norman Quentin Cook.

Fatboy Slim

As soon as he begun it was obvious the pure showmanship of the Fatboy Slim show was going to be a step above. Whilst previously the giant screens flanking the stage and behind the decks had each DJ’s simple graphic, Cook had an ever changing audio-visual show. He revealed a camera mounted at his decks by his face appearing on the screens miming along to the music. As the show progressed there was celebrity face-morphing, a clip of Al Pacino, an animation of Donald Glover doing his This Is America dance and many, many different uses of Fatboy Slim’s visage. Cook also used the visuals to add commentary, at one point having the EU flag appear on the screen to the sounds of Stardust’s Music Sounds Better With (E)U (only two days post Brexit) and later the names of a series of Australian firefighting organisations.

Fatboy Slim

Musically the first section of his set included his 2000 era hits Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat and Boom F—king Boom and as he got deeper into the night we heard everything from an a cappella Freddie Mercury singing a section of Bohemian Rhapsody, a hark back to Cook’s remix of  Groove Armada’s I See You Baby, plus snippets of  Apache and Run-DMC. Cook is good at keeping it from being just an exercise in nostalgia, only dipping into his major hits from the 90s in the last section of the show. The apex of the set was something that if you are a citizen of the internet you knew was coming; the mixing of Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg’s UN speech with Cook’s 1998 hit Right Here, Right Now. Though not a surprise the power was not removed from having both Thunberg’s speech overlaying the hit and a digital countdown clock taking us to the beat drop.

Fatboy Slim

Cook began DJing by spinning records at friend’s house parties and despite the decades of hits and touring he hasn’t lost sight that his job is still much the same – being the captain of a party ship. Whether you were one of the girls bopping along on someone’s shoulder, one of the many dudes pulling off some serious dad dance-moves (whilst expertly clutching multiple beer cans in each hand), or the woman who danced so hard she fell straight back into us – an entertaining dance party was had by all, with a little 90s nostalgia thrown in for good measure.

JAS HUGHES

Photos by Shaun Noonan

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