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Electric Gardens 2019 - Review

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by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
No peaceful retreat in these gardens
There were a few reasons why I was concerned I might not enjoy Electric Gardens 2019. First, disappointment around the unfortunate withdrawal of headline act Underworld from the lineup due to 'unforeseen circumstances'. Second, my partner and I are doing 'dry January' (ie no alcohol), and for us, I have to admit that this type of event tends to be more fun with a few drinks on board (particularly for dancing!). Third, I knew we'd be about 20 years older than the average age of the audience. (But hey, as they say, 'age' is a number, 'old' is an attitude! And as it happens, my partner Dave and I are a bit partial to electronic music.)

Electric Gardens 2019
Electric Gardens is still to play in Sydney, Adelaide and Auckland

So there we were, walking past an impressive assembly of police officers, and joining the queue of (admittedly younger) people waiting to enter Alumbra at Docklands.

Electric Gardens 2019
Bag Raiders

Once inside, we were straight into the first room, with Bag Raiders on the stage and doing a great job of getting the crowd warmed up. We took the opportunity before the crowd built to capacity to have a wander round and check out the venue. Upstairs in the VIP lounge people were kicking back on comfortable couches, enjoying a drink, or watching the action below through windows or over bannisters.

Through to the second room, actually just a little ante room next to the bar, where the likes of Elke Kleijn, Grum and Guy Mantzur had the floor during the night. The small area was already seething with bodies, with the music clearly hitting the spot. We staked out a place at the other end of the bar where we could dance without the fear of taking out someone else's eye - and finally, I was in my happy space!

Electric Gardens 2019
Action in the second room

Outside, there was an area where food could be purchased, and, around the corner, another area for a smoke and a chat.

We returned to the main room in time to see Bag Raiders wrap up their set with their hit song Shooting Stars, the audience clearly approving the choice.

There was a seamless change to Set Mo featuring vocalists Woodes, Asta and Thandi Phoenix, still on the softer side of electronica, but very danceable.

Adding another dimension to the performance was a fantastic laser light show.

Electric Gardens 2019
Laser light show

Eats Everything hit the stage with a bang. A decided shift to a harder core style of music had the audience pumping (and Dave and I hitting the dance floor again). Eats Everything's remix of the Eurythmics classic Sweet Dreams met with a roar of approval from the audience and an increase in dance vigour.

The final set of the night was from Colombian-American electro-house producer Erick Morillo. Morillo's ability to transition through various music genres while maintaining the beat was masterful; no surprise really given his depth of involvement in the music industry, including owning his own record label. He's a definite crowd pleaser.

Things I particularly liked about Electric Gardens Melbourne 2019 (these won't necessarily be relevant to all venues):

- the lineup - depth, variety and energy. A great mix and inspired curation;

- the fantastic laser light show;

- the slick artist changes; it was continuous music, no breaks;

- the thoughtful venue touches, including outside 'quiet' areas where you could go for a snack or a chat, and the views from the upstairs VIP areas;

- the volume! It was loud enough to be pumping without being ear-bleedingly deafening.

Also, there were first aid officers circulating without being in your face, and patrons were encouraged (by signs posted around the venue) to take care of one another and to approach staff if there were any problems.

Overall, these aspects pointed to strong event management.

The only thing I thought would have improved the night was a bigger area allocated for the second room. However, I think the event organisers did an amazing job within the confines of the available space.

But, did I enjoy the experience? Despite my pre-event misgivings - yes! It was great! Exhilarating fun, great energy and vibe, and music that had you zinging.

While you'll have to wait until 2020 for the next Electric Gardens Melbourne, it is still to play at the following locations in 2019:

26th January 2019 - Sydney (Centennial Park)
27th January 2019 - Adelaide (Thebarton Theatre, Torrensville)
2nd February 2019 - Auckland (Ellerslie Racecourse)

Here is an overview of the Sydney 2019 lineup:

You'll find tickets for the remaining Electric Gardens 2019 events here.
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*Fiona Anderson was invited as a guest
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Why? Pumping electronic dance music by the best in the trade
When: Various times and dates - check website for details
Where: Various venues - check website for details
Cost: Various prices - check website for details
Your Comment
Looking forward to it in Adelaide!
by Michael Genrich (score: 3|1747) 817 days ago
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