Friday night at the Red Bull Studio Live Stage at Oppikoppi 2011 was all about setting the sonic foundation. The line-up was focused on the beloved sounds of SA House, the deeper narcotic sounds of Tech-House and the darker, driving sounds of straight-up Techno. The idea was, if the notorious Oppi revellers could get down to the staple ingredients of dance music then they would surely lose their s#!t to what was going to go down on the Stage over the course of the weekend.
And get down they did. The first DJ for Friday was none other than Ex-Red Bull Music Academy Participant, Deep Sixty, who is beginning to really find his feet in the local House scene. Judging by the fact that there was already a crowd at the stage during the sound-check the previous night, it was no wonder, but still impressive, that he had the floor full-up by his opening set at 5PM.
The next DJ was a wild-card. DJ Skeelo is a Pretoria House artist signed to David Gresham and although we thought that he would play a more chilled evening-to-night set appropriate to his time slot, he wasted no time in dropping a full-on slamming SA House workout, spinning hit track after hit track, while constantly hyping the crowd over the microphone. Whatever the case it worked wonders, because by the time he ended at 8:30PM the entire dancefloor was so packed people were falling UP the Koppi.
Thibo Tazz is a long-time contributor to the Red Bull Studio in Cape Town and has been one of the hardest-working DJs and producers in the Cape Town house-music scene since attending the Red Bull Music Academy in Barcelona back in 2008. He grabbed the reigns from Skeelo and expertly transitioned the music of the night from in-your-face hype over to the techno inflected SA house sound that has become his trade-mark, all the while keeping the several thousand party-goers growing in numbers and strength.
If Skeelo and Thibo brought the sonic fire, then Leighton Moody brought the liquid soul. His set was a smorgasbord of the deepest and techiest House, mixed impeccably and charged with subtle, electrifying energy. The perfect music to maintain the crowd and set the mood for a night of fours-to-the-floor.
Jullian Gomes and Sisco playing back to back was obviously going to be a high-light of the night. Both ex-Red Bull Music Academy participants, both Pretoria House stalwarts, one a legend and godfather of the scene, the other a prodigy and rising star. While Sisco laid down the classic sounds of Pta House, Jullian skirted on its exhilarating edges, leaving the several thousand revelers stomping up a cloud of dust so thick, you could see the particles bouncing around the skipping lights from the thousands of onstage LEDs.
By this stage the dancefloor had morphed to become its own evolving life-form, a bass-driven behemoth, that wasn’t going anywhere and insatiably hungry for as much electronic fodder as possible. In other words it was time for some Techno and who better to bring the stripped-down, energy-flashed fire than Sound Sensible. Keeping the tempo slow enough to groove to, the sound forceful enough to move the behemoth and the overall sonic structure alive with subtle percussion, synths and sound-design; if you were dancing and NOT on some kind of stimulant, the music would have been enough.
Joint Nation ended the night with a bouncing, bashing set of tech-house to keep the beast of a dancefloor ever happy till four in the morning when it was time for the stage to close. Of course none of the revelers wanted to go anywhere, nor did Joint Nation for that matter who was quite happy behind the decks, and it took a good half and hour before the exhausted sound-engineers and stage-hands could convince him to stop playing and placate the hordes by promising them an equal night of decadent dance-fueled festivities on Saturday.
Of course no-one had any idea what was in store for them next. Stay tuned to the Studio site for our Oppikoppi Day 2 review tomorrow….