This Saturday afternoon, with 38ºC (100ºF) heat heralding the coming of summer, Sydney’s Greenwood Hotel was transformed from a city nightclub into a disco oasis. The packed out venue, pulsing with energy, had that distinct festival vibe. Sweating it out in the main courtyard, under the beating sun and in front of two mammoth stacks of speakers, a diverse crowd of house and techno fans gave it their all.

After some warm-up sets from local DJs prepared the crowd for the big guns, headliner Seth Troxler took over the decks at 5pm, welcomed by the roar of his worshiping fans. Seth opened with some deep and minimal house accompanied by tasteful tribal vocals. Utilizing groove-driven tunes that fall in that vast grey-area somewhere between tech house and techno, blended with smooth-as-butter mixing, Seth’s set was an absolute pleasure to the ears. The peak came around 6:30, when after a string of bass heavy numbers, Troxler dropped a track from the forth coming Kill Frenzy EP (Dirtybird Records), “Gorilla”, which features a sample from the hiphop classic “Simon Says’ by Pharoahe Monche. The crowd went wild.

After Seth Troxler’s set he hurried off, no doubt in a rush to get on a plane to Melbourne for his gig at Platform One the same night, leaving us in the trustworthy hands of UK duo Optimo. During Seth’s set the crowd was still fresh-faced and excitable, but by the time Optimo took the stage everyone had settled into their groove. Most people started talking less, and getting down more. Optimo’s set was expectedly unexpected, given that the duo is known for taking the crowd on an unpredictable musical journey, with varying rates of success.

Optimo’s set had definite sections lasting for 20 minutes or so, that were marked by changing themes in the visuals and lighting. Most noteworthy among these sections was a period of squelchy acid basslines with world music vocals, accompanied by a big technicolor ‘O’ (for Optimo), constantly melting off the screen and reforming again – very psychedelic. The set was a definite journey, changing vibes in drastic ways, which one wouldn’t typically expect to work. For the most part these changes did work, except for one section of African-inspired techno which was a bit hard to listen to, and almost a vibe killer. That being said, by this time most party-goers were loose enough not to notice that much (which may or may not be a good thing depending on how one chooses to view things). Overall however, the set’s successes outweighed the failures, and credit is due to the ambition and daring of Optimo in their performance. By the end of their set, the sun had set, and despite the strain of having already danced for upwards of four hours, the coming of nighttime seemed to reinvigorate the crowd.

Following Optimo, Pachanga Boys played a ninety-minute set of deep, soulful and driving house music. Despite one mix malfunction, the set was well designed and well executed, and was enjoyed by all. 

The final international act, and a third duo for the evening, Ame took over the decks, and played some beautiful and progressive house music that kept the crowd dancing, but also rounded the party off to a neat and tranquil finish.

After 12 hours on the dancefloor, the crowd, with tired legs, ringing ears and satisfied hearts stumbled out of the courtyard and into the night.