Chris Liebing @ Apgrade 27.05 // Mark Knight @ Love & Culture 28.05.
Belgrade, more precisely, Barutana had an honor to hear sounds of the new Model1 mixer for the second time in three weeks, which is really a prestige. Also, one of the ambassadors of PlayDifferently Model1 Mixer, Chris Liebing, came again to Serbia but this time as first act of Apgrade’s summer season.
I wanted to catch a little bit of Monosaccharide’s set, which was the intro for main act, so I came to the party to almost full venue around 12:30 AM. Liebing was a bit late, somewhere around 20 to 30 minutes, so I had a chance to listen to this female / male duo for almost an hour. They say for themselves that they are infected with techno, future underground atmosphere and that their music can be categorized into cosmic frequencies. My opinion is that they play good, dark, techno, which I personally really like. Yes, it is flat but filled with deep grooves combined with moments of industrial and hypnotic sound. The only thing I would have preferred is that they could have played on vinyl or CD Players, on which I know they know how to play, instead on just computer and mixer. The thing is, I like to hear that human touch when I listen to someone’s mix, considering them in this case, because when the mix is done only with computer and mixer everything sounds just too perfect. I can’t say this for artist that use some other machines including computer and mixer, so in that case I don’t have that problem because than you can see artist’s skill how he combines all of that in his unique sound. Monosaccharide did a good opening set, I can’t say intro because it really sounded like the set which they regularly play but at the end of it they lowered bpm a little bit so Chris could easily flow in.
According to the timetable, Chris Liebing have had full three hours of his performance, so the way he started totally make sense, with a lot lowered bpm than previous duo. I think he wanted to tell his own story. For me the beginning was really nice, I was flowing, calm beats but still clicking techno and than somewhere around 2:30 AM and for the next approximately 45 minutes, in my opinion he was a bit boring. To be honest it seemed like I was the only one thinking like that, because with who ever I spoke to, he told me I was wrong. But.. Also for one another thing, I got the same, totally opposite opinion, it was considering Liebing’s last year’s performance in Depo which was for me much better than this one, but few people to who I have spoken with, think that this one was better. Again, taste differences…
Lets throw back time a little, to the beginning of my clubbing career. I wasn’t a fan of Liebing’s music, that style of hard techno that he played just wasn’t according to my taste. After many years that he didn’t visit Belgrade, he was announced for last year’s Apgrade. Honestly, I thought that I will enter Depo and stay for a bit and go to some other party that was held that night, but that night he really blew my mind. First of all I didn’t do the research so I missed that he had switched to a new techno using Traktor with 4 channels, Maschine, midi controller and for sure plus something else (I am not some kind of an expert in knowing equipment, although I have some basic knowledge, as much as I need). For all of you, that these brands and technical info don’t mean a thing, let me put it in simple words, because of all that equipment, he has practically unlimited space of playing with tracks and not one song is originally played. It makes perfect sense now, because during his set I thought I had recognized some tunes but I wasn’t sure and after learning on how he now plays it all came to me clearly.
Now, back to Barutana and his last show… Around 3:15 AM he played one track and according to me that was a crossroad, after that moment his performance started to be much more exciting.
He played just a few tracks with vocals but they were put just in the right moment with a right vocal sound. As the set continued track by track, Chris changed rhythm, it sounded like he is playing more freely and the crowd was giving great feedback. Also, the stage was perfectly set up with led screens and lights with a right peak to boost the clubbers. It began to dawn and it is good that Liebing had that delay at the beginning of his set because the dawn is always a special moment on every open air party. I wish he had played one hour more, for me that would be perfect, but also in these three hours of his performance he had, he definitely more than justify himself to his fans and according to comments that I heard he definitely have thrilled the fans in over packed Barutana.
Xavi stepped up after him with his well known hard techno sound but I wasn’t in that kind of a morning mode so I went to sleep.
On Saturday I decided to go Novi Sad, which I am very fond of and visit “ToolRoom Live ” event, organized by Love & Culture, whose main act was Mark Knight,. It seems to me that Knight in the last period became foreign resident DJ in Serbia because of his really often bookings all around the country. For me, this was the first time that I am going to hear his music and set, because commercial sounds are just not my thing, but now as I write these reviews I really have to hear and visit different music styles and events as much as I can. Also one of the reasons because I chose this event was because it was held on the same spot as one of the Exit Festival’s stages which I very like, No Sleep Novi Sad stage, next to our dearest, Dance Arena.
It is really unbelievable and I know that the same thing happens to almost everyone who doesn’t live in Novi Sad…So…As I climbed to the Fortress everything smelled of Exit, it is crazy how deep is that festival carved into all of us that follow it every year. I can bet that there is no one who goes up to the Fortress without goosebumps and a few flashbacks. I am passing by Exit’s main Stage location, after which I go through the tunnel and I have entered the ground of Dance Arena where I see all those things that I never see during the festival, like, there is grass, trees and it looks so much smaller.
I was on the location of the event around midnight and until 1 AM whole place was packed, and as I have asked, there were around 3000 present clubbers. IDQ (aka Pookie, one of the artists from IDQ crew) played clubby commercial tech house which I liked and he made a really cool warm up for the star that crowd was eagerly waiting for.
As I have said I haven’t been following this kind of music so much and I feel not quite enough educated about it and because of that I am a bit limited with explaining the music, but I will, for sure describe my impressions.
First half or Mark’s DJ set was little confusing for me, of course it was also commercial tech house but it sounded like he didn’t find the right flow and after that one hour maybe a little bit more, he finally got into the vibe and his set started to make sense. Also, very important thing that I have to add is that the stage had semicircular shape and had perfectly fit into the venue plus with the lights totally appropriate for that kind of a party, all that together, added more to the atmosphere. During that second half of his performance, Knight, at least three times get up on the stage and waited for a break to kick in to film the crowd. It was more than obvious that he is having fun, maybe even more than the audience.
As the last on the line up came Rene Amesz who I was listening for only 15 minutes before I hit home and during that time I have noticed that his sound, also commercial tech house, is a bit harder than all of the previous DJs that have performed before him. Tomorrow I heard that party was continued with an afterparty in a club The Tunnel, which is also located in the Forteress.