GUI BORATTO @ Chevron Lighthouse gets 7.5/10

Gui Boratto @ Chevron Lighthouse
w/ D Verdam
Thursday, February 20, 2020


It was a rather odd booking for Perth Festival. Gui Boratto is a Brazilian electronic music legend, but a strange choice for a Thursday night in front of the Concert Hall. More accustomed to a nightclub or big festival, he wasn’t dealt the best hand, and didn’t draw the biggest crowd at this busy time of year where we’re spoiled for choice, but it was testament to his greatness that he took a small, docile crowd, and within half an hour had created a full and moving dancefloor in front of him, who were screaming for more at the end.

D Verdam

Warming up early was Boratto’s friend D Verdam, also hailing from Sao Paolo. Another accomplished and experienced DJ, Verdam didn’t have much to work with, a loose crowd milling about. But he played his part well and kept things pretty chilled, playing some lush, atmospheric tunes and mid-tempo deep, progressive beats, creating a nice vibe in the short half-hour he was allotted.

Gui Boratto

Soon enough Gui Boratto emerged behind the decks. To say it was a DJ set would be selling him short, as the veteran studio wiz brought a live setup with him, including Ableton and MPC, that he was constantly tweaking and poking at, rarely needing headphones.

He’s most often lumped into the house genre, but his sound is more complex and incorporates more elements – since the mid 90s he’s been a shapeshifter, moving from more ambient vibes to deep progressive and hard tech, and is known as much for his superb live sets as his own quality output, whether original productions (releasing six albums since his lauded 2007 debut Chromophobia, released on taste-making German techno label Kompakt, as well as numerous singles and EPs) or his discerning and highly sought after remixes, that has seen him lend his skills to reworking acts ranging from Massive Attack, Moby, Trentemoller and Adam Freeland, to Goldfrapp, Pet Shop Boys, Battles and London Grammar.

Gui Boratto

After a nice atmospheric intro, he built things up and didn’t waste any time dropping in a hard, stomping house beat, much to the surprise of the older folks hanging around outside in the City of Lights festival grounds, inquisitively looking over the fence.

In fact he started surprisingly hard, perhaps as a ways of lifting the mood and building some energy quickly, and it seemed to do the trick. There were some solid heavy drops that he worked up to, with a nice technique he used several times, of building slowly to a climax, then cutting to a moment of total silence, before slamming in the bass like a punch in the face.

Gui Boratto

The contemporary music stage this year has a great sound and lighting setup, facing the Concert Hall and with a building on one side, it gave more of a tight, enclosed, clubby sound. The bass and drums hit hard, as they should, whereas in previous years with the more open Festival Gardens at Elizabeth Quay, the sound tended to drift off into the sky. With its stone, concrete, pallets and milk crates, there’s certainly less of a garden vibe in the Chevron Lighthouse, but it’s a good setup overall.

Gui Boratto

Boratto’s melodic blend of driving, euphoric beats was ideal for dancing into the warm night, and the mixed crowd seemed to really be enjoying themselves. As he charged through a selection of great tracks, he worked in some of his own classics. His early 2013 epic Arquipelago was a highlight with its deep, atmospheric warm pads and tight percussion.

618 was a huge tune, with its more upfront electro vibe. It was a real mood with its fat, twisted synths, solid production and intricate arrangement – reminiscent of the French Touch sound – which blended nicely into young Dutch producer Maxime Johnny’s Weekend. Then before you knew it, just as everyone was really getting into it, he wound up his last track, as he smiled and took photos of the crowd, seemingly happy with what he had created. There would be no encore.

Gui Boratto

A night that could have been a fizzer ended up being a great one dancing under the stars, in a unique space with a diverse, up-for-it crowd. Boratto created something out of nothing, like a real magician. Punters unfamiliar with his work were undoubtedly won over, while his existing fans would have been impressed with the set. Hopefully next time he’ll be back on a weekend in perhaps a more suited venue, and will conjure another rapturous night with his warm, lush electronic sounds.


Photos by Linda Dunjey


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