At the end of the ’90s I was hosting a radio show on a dance station that used to exist before FBi, and Pnau’s Pete Mayes was the volunteer manning the studio phones. It was an all-Australian electronica music show and so Pete asked if we could play some stuff that he and his mate had been working on.
We got him in the studio for an interview and he gave us his music -” on cassette! The other host misread it and introduced the band as P-Nav, which sounds more like a Puff Daddy-pimped GPS on late night TV. Ten years later there are still a few variations on how to pronounce their name from p’now to something which sounds like Speed Racer zooming past, but there’s no mistaking that Pnau’s headline gig at the Hordern Pavilion last Friday marked a triumphant return to form.
Hot on the heels of the revelation that Elton John had given the boys a leg-up onto the world stage by getting them signed to his management company and offering them use of his own studio in London, Pnau were back in Sydney writ large performing to a crowd who were about the same age they were when they were making their debut on cassette.
Their latest tracks from the self-titled album all went down as modern anthems, while tracks from their earlier albums Sambanova and Again both had the rave-like atmosphere buzzing.
The highlights for me personally were the current single Embrace, performed by Ladyhawke singer Pip Brown, and the encore Wild Strawberries, which seems to capture the sound and the energy of the Sydney dance scene down pat.
Pnau joins a proud roll call of Aussie artists who are rocking the UK, European and American markets at the moment, with Muscles, The Presets, Van She, Cut Copy, Operator Please, Bang Gang, the Midnight Juggernauts Pendulum and Observation Deck’s favourite poster boy Sam Sparro all as popular overseas as they are at home, and in many cases leading the music as well as fashion trends.
The Presets’ new single Talk Like That boasts a film clip by Jonas & FranÃ§ois, who recently worked with JT and Madonna on 4 Minutes, Kanye West’s The Good Life and Justice’s D.A.N.C.E.
On the festival front Sydney has lost The Great Escape due to poor ticket sales, but a mighty dance music cartel is gathering, including Ministry of Sound Australia and Future Entertainment, to launch a new dance music outdoor event called the Global Gathering Festival which will tour around Australia in November. Their initial promo is tipping it to be the largest venture of its kind in Australia to date, but whether it’s largest or third largest, it is pretty sure to have the cream of the world’s biggest DJs/electronic artists.
Closer to the strip and new girl night Girl Friday starts at the Burdekin tomorrow night from 9pm till late, featuring DJs Jen Andersen, Luna T and Kate Monroe. Entry is $10 and it will continue on the second Friday of every month.
Also on Friday, DVD magazine Pedestrian is launching its 14th issue at Slide. The party will feature The Misshapes, a DJ trio from New York City, plus Sydney’s Bang Gang, Amy Meredith DJs, Pedestrian DJs, No Answer DJs, Bruce Bringsteez, Hyperbole Vs Havefunclub, Disco J and the Get Digsey Crew. It’s anyone’s guess how gay Slide will be but it will definitely be fabulous, so if you can handle the straight-trendy-maybe-gay invasion that will be hitting lower Oxford St then get your tickets $20 on the door or $15 in advance from Moshtix and IWannaTicket.com.au.
Ahead to next weekend and how hot is the artwork for Midnight Shift’s new night Hunk starting next Saturday? The artist Trademark also designed the artwork for seminal gay clubs Heaven and Trade in London back in the early-to-mid-90s time zone and has been incredibly influential on gay party design right around the world, including Sydney.
I’ve long been a huge fan and highly recommend checking out his website www.trademarkart.com to see his amazing collection of artwork, especially his pop art interpretation of singer/model/actress Grace Jones.