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DJ Harvey at the Opera House was the perfect party Sydney needed

Originally published on Pulse

“Looking for tickets - have cash, kidneys and will do your tax returns”* reads one of the many, many desperate pleas on the event Facebook page after DJ Harvey’s GoodGod Super Club session for VIVID sells out two weeks ahead of his arrival.

Harvey proves to be the living, grinning exception to the rule that nothing kills a party faster than too much hype. Anticipation for the return of true DJ culture’s most eloquent and eccentric champion is so high that those without tickets are offering dinner, hugs, ‘good moneys’, mars bar pods, semi-serious nude pics and of course the aforementioned fiscal advice/kidney combo for a chance to attend a party that somehow we all just know is going to be The One.

With Harvey at the helm for the duration, we get in shortly after doors open at 9pm to enjoy the full caper. Goodgod Super Club makes an impressive first impression as we descend the stairs into a high ceilinged, industrial style space with a centred DJ booth and tantalisingly climbable scaffolding supporting staircases to nowhere as if we’re below an Escher. The dance floor is flanked on all sides by a geometric grid which forms the walls of a second level gallery; lights dance across the space and Harvey stands in the midst of it all like The Doctor in his Tardis.

Deep in the bowels of the Sydney Opera House, this red-washed, subterranean disco vessel is the club Sydney has been waiting for. In equal parts impressive and devastating comes the knowledge that the GoodGod/VIVID team erected this as a temporary ‘pop up’ venue in just 48 hours - and that at time of writing it is probably already gone.

Harvey’s wading through a beatless intergalactic soundscape and his eager disciples are already streaming in (plenty of sympathetic Harvey moustaches in sight). He soon drops his first danceable beat, Grace Jones’ slow disco take on ‘Send In The Clowns’, as if heralding that the mischief may now begin. It does. The club fills in minutes (busy but with enough room for spontaneous flailing) and Harvey’s grooves go deep to the point of sexual.

The musical journey that follows is an incredibly dynamic one; disco is the accessible centre path from which Harvey diverts on multiple tangents, each woven more expertly than the last into a united soundtrack so that the night’s momentum never slackens for an instant. From the hacking bass slap of Gwen Guthrie ‘Seventh Heaven’ (Larry Levan remix) to the euphoric chorus of Cerrone ‘Hooked On You’, Harvey’s momentum is so perfected that once locked into the beat, one might blink and find five hours have passed.

Sure enough, five hours - or is it five minutes - later the final tune plays out and the lights come on. But we’re having none of it. Such is the ruckus when the music stops Harvey is compelled to drop another one, the house lights are banished from whence they came and by sheer determination we juice another five minutes out of this fabulous night. Rinse and repeat. This process happens three times until we’re finally hustled (politely) to the exit.  

Everything to do with this event was done in good form and surrounded by good will. From the sense of humour of those looking for tickets, to the fact that, despite demand, no one was selling above cost price. The friendly security and bar staff, the fabulous sound, which was perfected by GoodGod after responding to constructive feedback at an earlier Super Club party, the free cloakroom, the constant positive interactions with strangers and the tune, after tune, after tune that Harvey laid down made for a supremely satisfying session, just when our city needed it most.

The only question left in anyone’s minds was ‘why couldn’t it have gone for longer?’ Seriously though, it’s not rhetorical a question.

*Pulse would love to know if this enterprising would-be punter made it to the gig or not. If anyone has information on him or his kidneys, please come forward.