I'm traveling in a taxi with Julia and Casey, two friends and fellow-ravers from the recent Timo Gig. We're somewhere in Tuen Mun trying to find the Carl Cox/Deep Dish gig that is taking place this chilly December 16th. W'eve gone through a new town of Fu Kah Wei?, past the second light on the left and straight on "til midnight. Finally, a big sign advertising Winter Music Fest part 3. It's a large container yard, exposed to the elements. Four containers form the stage, which has 2 video screens, DJ decks, FX and speakers on it. It's about 10 feet high, crash rails about 10 feet in front of it and bars and refreshement stalls about 80 metres to the back. Fairly warm upfront, as the containers block some of the wind. Probably be a great venue in high summer. Your Tiny Hand Is Frozen. Indeed, among other extremities. How many dancing corpsicles tonight?
DJ Dicky is manning the decks. Some fine, rolling prog breaks, booming out while a near 3-D laser show slices through the smoke and stars glint eerily in the cold, crisp nightsky. The music takes in Bentley Rhythm Ace, cross-pollinated with early Pink Floyd keys, mixed with echo-laded Indian riddims. Lots of progcussion. Drums clatterchat and weave through the soundscapes. He doesn't mind slowing the pace down to near dub-levels at times. There's a seamless segue from Dicky to Jason F about 0030 and Jason heads into more darkprog territory. Theres white noise, micropulses, washes of sound spinning and turning. A vocal refrain of "Close your eyes' drenched in echoFX.A fine version of Floyd's "Another Brick In The Wall is a staple in Jason's box and he revamps it again tonight. I'think some Felix Da Housecat purrs for attention at one point.
A raver called Rick, more of a fan of Deep Dub than Carl Cox, say's he going upfront to thaw out. There's probably about 1000 or so people here so far. Lots of them have taken advantage of the free bus shuttle from Causeway Bay and TST. Other's don't mind paying $300 + for a cab. There seems to be lot of Europeans here too. I'd guess about 35% or so. The most I've seen since Fat Boy Slim in 2001. Fellow Lammaniacs here include Moony, Tiff, Phil, Ben, John, Kumi and Oz. Ameet, an Indian DJ mate, is upfront with his crew. The crowd is especially jolly, despite the cold.
I finish scribbling some more illegible notes and look up to see that Deep Dish has started. Actually, it's just Ali Shirazinia and he's billed under the name Dubfire. Good tunes and nice pacing. I don't know many of the tracks - I don't think he's doing much "traditional" Deep Dish tonight. His set is paced rather like Sasha Live at Space in Ibiza, but where The Man is more euphoric space dubpulse on that CD, Ali is more euphoric progtribal. He does dip into some of Sasha'e early stuff like the X-Pander Cd at one point (thanks for that info John!) He's also content to let some of the tunes meander on until conclusion. No Jeff Mills 15 edits in 10 seconds type-shit here tonight. Save that for The Big Man on next. There's a lot of scattered applause and Manek and other snappers seem happy up on the stage at intervals. Towards the end of the Dubfire set, one of the two video screens blows over and isn't able to be re-connected. It now feels colder than the Iranian President's conscience as Ali warps/wraps things up.
I think it's about 0330 now and Carl Cox appears to tumultoius cheers. It's his 3rd gig in Hk in about 6 years. He's promised some new material in an interview in the SCMP, but most of the crowd just want the Old Skool hard-charging high tempo tunes. No photographers are allowed on stage.t's just Carl and his minder/roadie. The 2nd video screen topples over as well and is removed. I've seen CC twice now (both times in utmost sobriety) and for me, the jury is still out. He starts on a par with Dubfire, but soon the beats are twisted, revved and amped up. The sound increases to about 135-140 bpm. There's an interlude of what sounds like clanging, monged sheet metalworkers run amok. Demented destist drills whine and fizz through the smoke and lasers. Metallic rap like vox and FX rattle the speakers. He's putting on a show, but I feel like I wan a warm fire and a nice cup of cocoa. Lot's of other ravers don't share this viewpoint as the crowd up front remains a heaving mass. No, wait, some people are starting to leave. It's about 0430 and the crowd is definitely thinning. Let's be charitable and say more people prefer to get the free shuttle (which ends about 0500) rather than stay for every echoing clang, bang, crash, wallop, tootle and thrum. I know my feet were happy to leave. Overall, considering that the venue was organised at practically the last minute, the gig was a chilly success. Here's to the next one.
Review by Nick L.