Phat 09 - A punters account

25 February 2009 - , , , , , , ,

Well Phat lovers, it's time to peddle our hazy memories back a couple of notches and dip back to the madness of the festival that was Phat 09.....for those that find the task challenging, worry not!!! The blank spaces shall be filled (Or we will just make something up which will be just as interesting)

Regardless of which direction you come from, it is always a welcoming reminder at how beautiful the scenery is surrounding the West Coast. It's fair to say that although the rain can be somewhat of a challenge at any outdoor festival, this area of landscape just wouldn't be the same without it. As far as Phat 09 is concerned, the journey is definitely half the fun.

First things first, get the camp set up!!! This requires little narration as we don't need to be reminded of the tedious nature surrounding such a task, which was obviously performed after you knocked back those last few beers before being hit up by the authoritar.

Our group arrived in the mid to late afternoon, so after catching the last of Urban Terror Unit's set, we got to enjoy the sounds of DJ Majika laying it down proper for the crowd. Already it seemed that there was a growing energy as everyone sipped on their Tasman Bitters and danced in the sun. Everyone was dawning on the last few arrangements of their campsite that needed to be sorted and all that was left to do was get inebriated.

Like many around me, it was still a feeling of awe to take in the environment and realise that for the next few days, we were all part of a community that were going to celebrate a New year in Style.

Skipping forward to the highlight of the evening, the mood was set for something big when Noisia stepped on stage at midnight. Opening with Dipplodocus and offering a slick mix into Concussion, this set was paving itself to be big. Having production talents in many dance genres, it was no surprise to hear a generous Electro and House section to the mix. Well worth mentioning would be Dr Oizo's flat beat, tearing up the dance......floor? More like a rural take over as that bass driven sound system tore up the local farm community.

With darkness came the alter-egos and it wouldn't be hard to believe you were in some kind of circus as everyone tore loose with proper flare and theatrics...the night drew on with nothing but excitement and anticipation as our thoughts drew onwards to the many acts that we were about to see, having mostly sampled New Zealand acts only at this point, it was obvious that this country has a lot of talent and what better place to filter through them than at Phat.

It was easy to peel your eyes open and believe that you had only been a sleep for a couple of minutes on the morning of the second day. Check your watch...."Sh*t, I have only been a sleep for a couple of minutes...." No rest required when you have spent most of the year resting away at a manically mundane job when placed in comparison to the environment you still had plenty of time left to enjoy.

After spending some time recollecting our sanity around the campsite we decided to head back up to the main areas and get some kai. Despite the fact that Phat graced itself in the middle of nowhere, there was a huge arrangement of different food to choose from. Some of the options included Hot Dogs - American Style, Bacon Sandwiches, Nachos, Falafel, Sausage Rolls, Pies etc...given that our appetite's didn't seem to match what we knew our body's needed, we hit up a hot dog and some Nachos and then headed to the Stages, both of which were open at this point. It doesn't take much time at all dancing in the sun to get really rinsed, so after hearing Snax lay down some proper deep downbeat vibes, a disarranged voice reminded us that there was a f*%king river to swim in!!!! ‘Amazing’ is the word that comes to mind when you have seared your body in the unforgiving heat.

After some time there, we doubled back to catch Optimus Gryme with Charlie B & Billy Fluid in the mix. This, simply put, was wicked, proper grimey dubstep to cap off the afternoon. Fluid and Optimus seemed to complement each other well and hearing Jehova by Rusko getting dropped on that rig went down a treat. With a reasonably big crowd in attendance, things were shaping up to be a mad New Years and with Andy C and Dieselboy on the tip of everyones tounges, it couldn't go wrong.

A meal was forced down with plenty of fluids and it was time to head back to the main would be worth giving an apology here. Amidst my journalistic responsibilities, certain memories have faded to nothing or there was nothing there to begin with, but come was New Years!!! Things started blending back into formation around the time The Upbeats stepped up with Georgie on vocals and burlesque show featuring two ladies known as 'Turquoise Leopard'. With Provocative theatrics to give visual stimulation, this was pretty dam wicked. The ladies made me want to do naughty things and amongst this spectacle, we got to hear some fantastic versions of many upbeats classics. Worth mentioning, would be my all time favourite Upbeats tune, 'Oiled up' and an amazing version of 'Thinking Cap' displaying the depth of ability of Georgie's vocals. Absolutely beautiful!!!

3....2....1, HAPPY NEW YEARS BITCHES!!!!!

Stepping up stepping in, Mc Lowqui introduces the one like Andy C! Opening with a new one from Xample titled 'Remember' the vibe was set and Lowqui was winding us up for something wasn't long before we knew it was about 16 bars from the drop and sneaking in quietly was another tune, then BOOM!!! Noisia's ‘Stigma’ creates a rural onslaught which anyone could mistake for urbanised chaos. Instant rewind and the stage is set. All was what was expected in an Andy C set, proper party vibes with patches of the deep to keep it fresh and unmistakably the mixing of an absolute bad man. Ending on a Sub Focus tip 'Now Let The Story begin' it was easy to feel like that those two hours went by in a flash. It was still easy to remain excited as the anticipation was growing to see what America's number 1 Drum and Bass DJ could do to follow up such an act.

MC Messinian politely took over the mic from Lowqui and introduced one of DNB's darkest bad boys, Dieselboy. If Andy's flavour was the party vibes, then Dieselboy would have to be more about the dark and hard, slamming it right from the get go. With a tendancy to let tunes roll out a little more, it was any wonder he made the slection he did. With a disjointed and hazy memory as my source of info, I can flash back and remember such tunes as the Raiden remix of 'We Want Your Soul' Absolute smasher!!! 'Midnight Express' by Evol Intent, Ewun and Dieselboy owned the crowd without hesitation and a mammoth disillusion to any expectations, a house remix of the legendary 'Messiah' Already I could imagine conversations growing about the tune, but one thing is certain, the crowd loved it!!! A well warranted rewind took place and the rest was history.

The first three and half hours of 2009 went incrediably quick!!! But to be fair, how could it not!!! Whenever I have been greeted by such mind blowing sets, it's easy to get lost in the moment and time just drifts past without hesitation. This has got to be one of the stand out features of Phat parties. Every time I go and see an amazing DJ/performer, I have this over-whelming feeling that I do not want it to stop. At Phat, it never ends; it is just one wicked act after the other. The only risk is a lack of energy, but to be honest, I would rather know that the performance is happening and I don't have the energy to make it, than to be primed and have nowhere to go. At Phat, the boring and mundane are left very far away.

After one and a half hours of what Dieselboy had to offer, we were at a crossroads. Drumcorps or Breakfastaz? We decided to do both, and since both zones are weak girls stone’s throw away from each other, it’s not a bad option. We started with Drumcorps. Holy Shit! I had no real idea what to expect and what I got was an amazing performance! A proper heavy set delivered through industrial sounding madness and a generation of drums, layered to be cut with and manically controlled by the hands of a very talented man. This had to be one of the more passionate performances of the entire festival and it was very easy to see why. We left feeling inspired and headed back to the main stage.

Breakfastaz was absolutely bouncing!!! With a DJ who had a talent for hyping the crowd and a tune selection that kept everyone growing and growing in anticipation, it was absolutely going off! I will never forget the first time I saw Breakfastaz. It was like watching moths to a flame as everyone was magnetised to this wizard of break beat, as he danced just as much, if not more than any given person in the crowd that was there to see his set. This would be the hardest set for me to name tunes, but the whole time, it was one of the best displays of what I think break beat is all about.

Stepping up next was one of Drum and Basses newest bad boys, Lynx. This was a killer set and it was easy to see why. Having had minor skull fractures from the five hour onslaught we just managed to get through, it was time to hear things get rolled deep and it was awesome! This would have to be another set that was hard for me to name tunes, but I could only guess that many of them were likely to be featuring on his up and coming album. The crowd was grooving and even when we took a brief stop at our campsite; it was easy to hear why he has already made a lasting impression. Simply put, his production talent is tight as f*@k! And for those that may have missed him given that Evil was laying it down on stage two, do not miss his up and coming tour! For those lucky enough to be in Wellington, we get to see him at an outdoor festival once again. Summerset! Don't miss it.

OK, so my music reviewing 'skills' come to a standstill here......I managed to ignore him for the last two hours, but that god dam pixie was fishing for a good time and I couldn't ignore him anymore, so off I headed into the bush to come out a newly transformed figure! Fresh! Alive!

.......errr......I woke up around lunch time face down in a peanut butter sandwich. ‘How convenient’, I thought, as I grabbed my wizard staff and headed back to the main area. By this time the entire place was resonating with mud, the rain had its wicked way - but still we soldiered on! The majority of people around me were more than prepared for such unfortunate weather.

Most of the afternoon consisted of sifting around the background bush and seeing what mischief we could cause, so I think I might just skip forward a bit yeah!? Plus we still had mutually exclusive party supplies left so missioned it back to camp then made it back to the second stage around midnight.

Antiform where off the chain!!! A proper breaks slam fest. My intentions were to go straight to State Of Mind, but this set couldn't be missed. Primal energy, very in your face, I loved it. So we hit the D-Floor hard then bolted to the main stage to catch the last of State Of Mind's set.

We only caught the last five minutes before Matty C was lead on stage to take the reigns as Concord Dawn. This was the best set I have ever seen Matty C lay down. Seamless mixing and wicked tune selection. The fact that we witnessed dieselboy hand him a CD that we assume had Tech Itch & kemal's 'The Calling' remixed by Evol Intent and Ewun on it. This is one Bad Ass remix! As I wait desperately for the vinyl release of it, I savour those moments when it tore up the dance in Inangahua. He capped his set off with some ridiculously good tune then seemed to drop from clownstep into dubstep......all about the step! Setting the mood for what was going to be delivered by Benga and Skream.

Benga and Skream had the next four hours and although the tiredness of our antics was setting in, this was not to be missed. Skream holding true to his sound in his set, while keeping the party vibes active, laid down a mantis set. It was an added bonus to catch Benga MC'ing for him. Whilst it was made clear that he wasn't even an MC, he held the crowds attention something wicked. 'Eastern Jam VIP' and 'Saxon' by Chase & Status were a couple of stand outs (I would name many more if I knew their names). It was easy to see why dubstep is climbing higher and higher, every new baseline would completely destroy the crowd, leaving the punters going nuts and hungering for more. The styles were graced with a switch when Benga took to the decks in front of the few thousand crowd. With absolutely slick mixing and speed behind him his well, it was easy to see that his DJ talents were matching what he could also do in the studio. What we saw for fours, were two very talented DJs and producers ripping it up proper and having just as much fun as the crowd.

They say it's better to burn out than to fade away, but Christ I was fading. After a very disjointed sleep, our communal home was taken apart and we were primed to begin the exit. As I looked around, I could still see that everyone was enjoying themselves and that even though we all had to make our way back to the real world; we got to share something amazing here. For a few days a community is erected and within hours everyone within it begins functioning as one great organism. Connected to each other, equally sharing everything around us. Proper vibes inside the ride!!!

We hit the road and revelled in the excitement that we will grace the site a year from now, primed and once again ready for some action. One thing is certain; Phat always delivers and often excels expectations. For any break beat lover, Phat is definitely the place to be.

Bring on Phat 10!!!!

Written by J Morzog. All Photos by Matt Patterson. - New Zealands Drum and Bass, Breakbeat and Dubstep Community - © Bassdrop LTD 2001 - 2016

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