If you went to Sugar Mountain Festival at the Forum Theatre in January this year, no doubt it lives in your memory as a wonderland of experimental dance music and visual art. From its success, festival co-creator Peter Keen has devised Sugaryama: Sugar Mountain’s roaming ‘little sister’ who’s all about bringing local musicians and artists to the rest of the world. Her first stop will be Mexico’s NRML Festival in 2014.
To get things going, Sugaryama put on a all-night, candy-fuelled dance fiesta at Boney, Pony’s slightly fancier– but no less raucous – reincarnation.
Suitably, the line-up was crammed with an all Melbourne-based bill of DJs, producers, and live acts. DJ Edd Fisher, the man set to bring in the New Year at Let Them Eat Cake, eased things in with some booty-shaking groove, funk, and disco-infused beats. Underneath a pod of dolphin balloons, indie-electro singer Chela took to the stage with her two-man band of keys and drums, and her synthy alt-pop rained down like glitter on an energetic crowd. To bring the people a taste of the world music which beckoned the Sugaryama artists, Julien Love and Jamie Bennett laid down some chilled-out funk and soul, and Andee Frost, the man responsible for the Toff’s Saturday night weekly disco resurgence, did not offer, but demanded everyone’s presence on the dance floor.
There had been talk of the ‘secret headline act’ weeks before, and party animals rejoiced when it was announced as NO ZU (pictured), the Melbourne-based six-piece who are quickly building their reputation as one of the best (and most indefinable) dance act in town. The first song from their 2012 album Live locked the punters to the d-floor with an undeniably funky bass line, and proceeded to transform the stone-lined walls of the Boney band room into a primal dance cave of tribal house.
And when things finally came to a close in the wee hours, the candy might have run out, but the sweet taste of young love remained. Sugaryama, you are a total babe, and you’re going to kill it overseas.
By Rose Johnstone