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Summadayze @ Rymill Park, Adelaide (31/12/2012)

New Year’s is always a conundrum. The unanswerable question of the big night out or the big nothing in usually leaves you feeling you made the wrong decision one way or another. However, this year the unanswerable question was answered for us. With Future’s Summadayze offering Adelaide a cracker line up of top acts across five packed stages, over eleven hours, it was the place to be to bring in 2013.

Ok, so lots to get to. Firstly, any event held at Rymill Park automatically has an advantage. It’s an awesome location with rolling hills, lots of much needed shade and easy access from the city. Thankfully, Summdayze was held there this year and it made all the difference.

The five stages on the site each focused on a slightly different style. The huge covered tent of the Summadayze stage concentrated on the big sounds of the electro and bass heavy boys such as Knife Party, The Chemical Brothers and Erol Alkan. Dancedayze hosted live acts such as the effervescent Kimbra and hard-hitting M.I.A. The Likes of You stage hosted the darker edged masters of bleep including Carl Craig and Scuba, Trancedayze was home to, you guessed it, trance aficionados John 00 Fleming and Solace and last but not least, the tiny Adelaidayze stage was where the local talent was at.

The site, though huge, was laid out with four of the stages within earshot of each other pressed up towards the East of the location. This could have been a real issue, but once you positioned yourself properly there was little bleed and it was easy to enjoy the acts. The attending crowds were the usual bevvy of skinny, blonde haired, party girls with half their butt cheeks hanging out of their short shorts and overly tall, muscle boys in fluorescent shorts and sunnies. That said though, the atmosphere was fun and inclusive which made for an awesome day and the perfect build up to New Year.

Once we entered we headed straight to the Summadayze stage to catch Knife Party wreaking their own flavour of havoc on the packed tent. The huge marquee offered much needed shelter from the burning sun and gave the area a club feel. With Knife Party’s Rob Swire MC’ing and working the crowd into a frenzy, DJ Gareth McGrillen punched holes in the dance floor with major tracks such as Centipede and Bonfire. It was a relentless powerhouse of a set and a great way to start the day.

Just before The Chemical Brothers started I checked the VIP area to see what the extra $50 gave those willing to pay for the pass. Not much was the answer. The area, though conveniently located next to the main stage, gave you next to nothing except a well-maintained toilet and a good view of the performers. This seemed a bit cheeky considering the expense. Surely it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to have a private bar and some seating there?

Back to the music though, and when The Chemical Brothers started you knew the next two hours were going to be a rollicking roller coaster ride. Starting with their intro C.H.E.M.I.C.A.L they gradually built layers of bass and bang. The first hour was a more measured set than Knife Party’s but it packed no less of a punch.

Inevitably clashes occurred and John 00 Fleming was on at the same time as The Chem’s so I decided to split my time between the two. The Trancedayze stage was woefully small considering the huge talent on show. Still though, that didn’t stop Fleming dropping the futuristic Trance he is world renowned for and smiling like a Cheshire cat as he did so. Large or small crowd he always puts on a performance so head down and in my own space I ‘tranced out’ to the sounds of Alex Di Stefano and Static Movement as Fleming showed us how it’s done.

Over on the Dancedayze stage the kooky Kimbra gave Adelaide a very individual performance. Dressed like a Goth bride and surrounded by her band of 80’s rejects she gave wicked renditions of tracks including Settle Down, Limbo and Come Into My Head.

I then headed back to catch the tail end of The Chem’s and there was all sorts of tomfoolery going off on the dance floor. One guy was walking round with two girls on his shoulders and some other guys wore American Indian headdresses while doing jump rope. Antics aside the brothers polished off their set with remixes of Swoon and Hey Boy Hey Girl which closed things out perfectly.

Next up the ever popular Eddie Halliwell was soon firing on all cylinders as he belted the crowd with his own style of pumped up Hard Trance. Looking ever the professional, flanked on both sides by huge screens carrying his famous Fire It Up maxim, Eddie was soon stood on the DJ table partying with the revellers and working them into a ruckus.

To take things down a level we went to catch French DJ/producer Aeroplane do his funk-disco thing. I was surprised how much I enjoyed his set as he took in elements of acid house, disco and jazz on his trip through the other side of EDM. There’s no doubt he is a talent and I think I’ll be checking out more of his stuff very soon. Another antidote to the chaos of the main stage was Carl Craig performing under his 69 moniker. Playing live and surrounded by hypnotic multi-coloured fractal patterns, sunbursts and erotic images Craig showed Techno can be a complex and multi-layered affair. Though it may have been a bit too deep for a festival there’s no doubt that he continues to be an originator.

After a brief interlude and a quick curry it was back into the action with the brazen and fearless M.I.A. Surrounded by all sorts of crazy dancers, refugee tents and political backdrops M.I.A rapped and smashed her way through gutsy renditions of Bad Girls, Paper Planes and Bucky Done Gun. Not one for the faint-hearted but definitely an unforgettable performance.

As we headed towards the big moment at 12 there was just time to take in the progressive/minimal sounds of Booka Shade as they performed live. Effortlessly integrating their new tracks with classics such as the ever brilliant In White Rooms and Mandarin Girl they built a deep and driving atmosphere for the large, appreciative crowd.

Roll on New Year and we headed back out to catch Mark Ronson dropping a funked out remix of Radiohead’s Just mixed with Missy Elliott’s Work It just before the big countdown. Ronson missed the big countdown so we had a rewind and he almost got it right the second time before we were into the big ol’ fireworks display to ring in 2013.

Clashes aside, Summadayze was well thought out and pretty well-organised. Drinks could have been cheaper, the VIP area really has to offer more for the extra money and food selection could be more varied, but all things considered it was a class act and a worth way to spend your New Year’s Eve.