Let me get this out of the way real quick, yes, I work at King Street Hotel as a DJ so you may consider me biased for this article, but as I stood in a room full of people on Thursday (Good Friday eve) last week I had a discussion with a good friend and fellow passionate music lover about other big electronic music artists that have toured Newcastle in recent years or ever and it had me thinking 'wow, this really is a big deal'.
There were a handful of artists we could think of that you might consider as big or bigger, plenty of Aussies would fit the list including Peking Duk, a shorter list of internationals such as Dillon Francis. Mind you, we are only considering artists playing in venues such as: King Street Hotel, Argyle House, Newcastle Workers Club (or whatever it is called this week) or the Cambridge Hotel, not festivals like Fat-as-Butter or This That. Why not festivals? Because people are buying a ticket to see a variety of acts rather than paying to see just one headline act show, it's a different dynamic.
But who is Boys Noize and why is this so important to electronic (dance) music in Newcastle?
From Wikipedia: "Alexander Ridha (born 22 August 1982), better known by his stage name Boys Noize, is a German electronic music producer and DJ. It is similar to the name of Ridha's label, Boysnoize Records, which he established in 2005...Ridha himself is known as one of the most valuable electronic artists, awarded with the Independent Music Award in 2010 as well as 3 years in a row as Best Electronic Artist on Beatport. His music is known to merge various styles and has a unique and innovative sound, with influences of hip-hop and disco roots as well as heavy noise and electro house sounds. His DJ sets are equally praised and have gained worldwide recognition for the mixing and visuals."
Often dance music can get a bad rap, clubs are notoriously evening pursuits in Australia and can be seen as hand-in-hand with drug use and possibly violence to many outside the community (or even inside it) but the music itself is the driving force for people young and old for entering into these establishments and creating a culture for a city. Having international level artists such as Boys Noize visiting the area highlight an economy that has reached a pivotal level, one that can sustain such touring means that it must have mass-reach in the region, basically enough people are willing to pay to see this act means there is a thirst for it.
I acknowledge I am biased in this statement, they pay me and it is in my best interests to be nice to them, but long before I played there, when I played at potentially competing venues I was able to acknowledge what they were doing for a music community in the city I love.
Prior to playing there they even supported a fledgling project, Hunter Music Production Collective, that I ran in their venue for 3 years hosting local and national electronic music producers and developing a supportive culture within the local community. Without this support the project definitely wouldn't have lasted that long and multiple artists may not have developed as a result.
As people in this city fight against music culture, going so far as to seek the silence of a Ukelele group at Lowlands Bowling Club several weeks ago, they seek to silence the creative community, potentially the lifeblood of this city. With more working creatives (32% at last census [the last one we believe that is] working in creative roles) there is a role to play from venues such as King Street Hotel in inspiring and assisting the pursuits of the next generations.
You might not always enjoy the music that a group or venue is playing, but from my perspective that is the best part about music, how one person can hear a song and be captured by it so fully that it helps to transcend their life, just the same another person hears that same song and is equally repulsed by it.
Watching along on Thursday night I am sure I was not alone in being captured by the eclectic musical set that Boys Noize threw at the several hundred strong crowd. Who knows, somewhere in that room might be the next "Flume" or the like, captured by what someone else did and pushed them on their own musical path.
These things are important, music, like all creative pursuits are important, they unlock who we as a people are and make the journey that is life worth living.
So Thank You King Street for helping me to continue to believe that Newcastle truly is the best place on Earth.