What happened in Wee Waa
Daft Punk didn’t beam in as holograms and Thomas and Guy-Man certainly weren’t around as guests of the Wee Waa Show Society (or were they?). Instead, the real stars of the Random Access Memories launch party were the locals, who transformed a country town into an international event for one night. From the edible robot helmets at the cupcake stand and the Daft Dogs doing a roaring trade to the GraviTron ride, Wee Waa Showgrounds warmly embraced electronic music’s enigmatic heroes. Australia’s last encounter with Daft Punk was a string of arena shows in 2007, the final run of the ‘Alive’ world tour. Now, six years later, fans came from all corners to a paddock in Wee Waa, population 2000.
After the dog high jump and David Russell’s death-defying motorbike show (cut short by the star ambulanced out with an injury), the countdown was on. In the centre of the showground, a giant disco ball hung above a circular dancefloor of LED panels. While the light show was soon obscured by dancing feet, the video below was captured in a fly-over. Daft Arts, the production house behind Daft Punk’s endeavours, conceived and designed the space. Its look and feel was Saturday Night Fever meets Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, with searchlights beamed into the sky around the show-ring.
The dancefloor filled up early in anticipation of the fireworks show overhead. The man in charge of the fireworks was a pyrotechnician priest from nearby Moree, who runs the company Holy Smokes. After much “ooo”-ing and “ahh”-ing, the last firework exploded overhead, and right on cue Give Life Back To Music cut through the night air (louder than some festivals inthemix has heard recently, too). With the dancefloor ringed by speaker stacks, the party lit up. For an album playback – gaps between songs and those home-listening jams included – the atmosphere was still euphoric.
The party made for some great, surreal moments, like the history lesson of Giorgio By Moroder accompanied by girls on shoulders and dance-offs, and when Get Lucky rolled around, it was on. Eight-year-olds danced next to super-fans in DIY Daft Punk helmets and Wee Waa locals met fanatics who’d flown 24 hours to be there. Our pick of the Random Access Memories tracks that sounds best through a big soundsystem? Probably the slinky, feelgood Lose Yourself To Dance. After the Contact send-off, it was then over to a DJ to keep the French house anthems rolling. The police reported a hassle-free event with no arrests.
We were accompanied in Wee Waa by star photographer Dan Boud, so check out the full official inthemix photo gallery below. We also spoke to a cast of characters across the day, so check out our full robot report below.