Renaissance @ Belvoir Amphitheatre, Perth (26/11/2006)

The unrelenting heat last Sunday was unforgiving to say the least, but that didn’t stop a fair turn out of punters making their way to the surprisingly green surrounds of Belvoir Amphitheatre for the Renaissance Summer Picnic. It was one of those days where the sun honestly felt like it was biting you with its rays, even if you were in the shade. Unfortunately, this made for a rather stifling start to the day, with most punters who turned up early, deciding to hang out under any remnant of shade they could find.

It was always going to be a fairly random (or eclectic for a better word) day with the line up featuring a range of artists from breaks, hip hop and house music. Renaissance has always been associated with the sounds of house music, so it was an interesting choice to put on the likes of Pigeon John and Lyrics Born on the bill.

The main stage situated in the amphitheatre played host to a range of acts throughout the heat of the day and night. Local DJ’s James A and Terry Waites laid down some light yet undeniably funked up house grooves. It was the perfect way to get the sounds moving for the gig, and those who braved the heat to get there early enough were treated to two of Perth’s best house locals laying down their selection of beats. The first of many jilts in the music program came when Pigeon John graced the stage. Yes he is talented in his own right, sure. But having him play at a Renaissance gig was a little leftfield, and definitely didn’t fit in well with what it seemed the crowd was expecting nor the theme of a traditional Renaissance gig.

Accompanied by his DJ, Pigeon John sang and MC’d his way through a myriad of tracks, which had the attention of about 10 eager fans for its entirety. And it didn’t seem to dampen his spirits at all, that there was only a handful of people watching him. He went on to deliver a professional and quite humorous performance, with funny jokes, stories and even a trademark pigeon dance highlighting his energetic performance.

Easily the biggest disappointment of the day came by way of Andy Smith’s set. His set could best be likened to elevator music at the best of times. Quite a few punters were even overhead as being mistaken; questioning when the next DJ was coming on as they figured that Andy Smith’s mediocre set was just a filler. Lackluster mixes, bland music and well, the enthusiasm of a blind goldfish with Alzheimer’s to be honest.

Lyrics Born Live lifted the vibe quite intensely but this was in contrast to the previous set which isn’t really saying much. However, as the tracks progressed, the energy from the vocalists and instruments seemed to emanate throughout the amphitheatre and before long, there was a relatively promising dance floor forming to the funked up sounds the group threw down.

The turning point of the day was undoubtedly Nic Fanciulli. His set was cut short which was blasphemous to say the least but in the time he had left, he proceeded to lay down by far the best, most quality set of the day. Layering his mixes out so well that it felt like one big track for the sets entirety, Fanciulli more than lived up to his skilled and quality reputation. As the sun began its final descent towards the horizon, the techy and progressive house selections Fanciulli was laying down were truly perfect in every way. He had amassed a substantial amount of punters to the dance floor area and by the end of his set; he had built up an electric vibe which was the high point of the gig hands down.

The legendary Derrick Carter followed on from Fanciulli and proceeded to play a fairly standard Carter-esque set. His mixes were safe and his tracks were of the jackin’ house variety. Remixes of newer releases plus some original back-in-the-day-walk-down-memory-lane tracks were featured evenly throughout his set which attracted even more people to the grassy makeshift dance floor.

The equal as legendary Carl Cox followed on from Carter. He played a set quite reminiscent to his previous appearances in Perth; which must be a winning formula as the amphitheatre packed out with punters dancing until close. Techno, house and more electro house sounding tracks got a play, all of which stayed too true to that trademark Coxy party sound.