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Carl Cox @ Billboard - 4.5.2007

Author: melhart
Thursday, May 10, 2007
If there was going to be one event in 2007 that you had to miss for one reason or another, Carl Cox's gig was not the one you'd want to sacrifice. Although his club gigs are few and far between (this one being the only Australian club gig since early 2006 and the only one for 2007), the anticipation was totally worth it.

Waiting in line to get into Billboard, you could feel the excitement. People walking past could sense it too, for many of them stopped to ask what was 'such a big deal'. What's the big deal- It's CARL COX, man!

The thing about being a DJ legend like Carl is that he attracts people from all walks of life: old school hippies with dreadlocks down to their butt-cheeks; inner city yuppies; hardcore ravers; regular clubbers and people like me - the ones whose outings are few and far between, yet well worth the wait. Seeing hippies, yuppies and clubbers bouncing harmoniously together.

I got there a couple of hours before Carl came on, in time for Eric Powell's set. I have to hand it to the guy, Eric did an awesome job of warming the crowd up with some pumping, bouncing tracks, the bass shaking me right to my very bones. The vibe of the Billboard didn't wane, building to an almost palpable atmosphere.

At about one o'clock there was a distinct shift in energy as Eric cranked the music up a notch (or five!) You could tell that Carl was on soon, because the crowd on the dance floor thickened quickly and all eyes were on the three decks set up on the centre of the small stage.

I think I must have blinked, because all of a sudden Carl's unmistakable form was there, the vinyls were on and the crowd went ballistic. Carl didn't waste any time, getting right into his favourite scene of playing intimate gigs in clubs. This was his way of giving back to Melbourne - a virtually free gig with the most well-known international DJ on the planet.

He greeted us in his cheerful, bouncing voice and we screamed back at him in reply. Carl had the extraordinary ability to connect with the crowd, talking to us like we'd been mates for ever (I guess in a way we have), making us feel like he was playing for our enjoyment only. "Come on!", he'd be yelling out to us, "let's get this club bouncing!"

From my vantage point at the top of a short flight of stairs, I was mesmerised watching Carl mix three decks, blending house, electronic and trance seamlessly and giving a hybrid that only the rare extraordinaire can do.

It was obvious that Carl loved what he was doing with an intense passion. A few familiar mixes were teasingly thrown in, psyching the crowd up. When Carl threw in a tantalising few seconds of Green Velvet's La la Land, I thought my ears would explode with everyone screaming so loudly, but that disappeared as quickly as it had been heard and left us begging for more.

The VJ for the night, Rob Ride, did an awesome job at complementing the music without detracting from it. At one stage, pictures of the earth from space stared at us from many large screens surrounding the club and from behind Carl, matching his Global compilations perfectly.

Billboard's intimate setting made for a cosy place to watch the king at work. The only downfall of the night was being unable to squeeze onto the dance floor with the other hundred or so people. The dance floor was too small to be able to dance, at least as energetically as I'd have liked. But really, what would I prefer- A cosy gig with Carl in a club, but no dancing- Or a gig where Carl is miles away, dwarfed by a massive stage, but with plenty of room to move- Really, it's a no-brainer.

It's just a shame this only happens once a year!