Shore Thing @ Bondi Pavillion

January 9 2008


Running in its third year, Shore Thing is one of those Fuzzyevents that has become legendary. With Fatboy Slimheadlining the first ever Shore Thing back in 2005, it quickly became one of those big-ticket events for NYE. The second event saw us bring in the New Year to the tunes of Basement Jaxx and this year was no disappointment either when it come to headliners, with Groove Armada hitting our shores from London to join in the party and usher in 2008. Set against one of Sydney’s most famous backdrops of the Bondi waters with the sea breeze in your hair as you dance, the setting could not be more ideal.

Walking down the streets of Bondi we were joined by masses all heading towards Shore Thing. Short lines made for a smooth entry and you could feel the excitement in the air as people shouted, jumped and danced into the crowd. PTY LTDstarted the night off with their live 5-piece set. It was not a pumping set, but still a good start to the night. Live sets are always interesting to watch as the precision that’s required to achieve the correct sound needs to be spot on. But unlike an event like Field Day or Parklife where groups of people camp out on the grass for hours, Shore Thing is all about dancing. Being only a 6-hour event it is short and you need to make the most of your time and money, so the punters need to be engaged at all times.

DJ Ember followed PTY LTD and got the crowd going, playing many tracks from the naughties to bring the old groove back. This seemed to be the theme for the night with Sneaky Sound System following on and taking us back with a 90s wedding vibe with Twist and Shout. And with Sneaky, there were no surprises. With their influences ranging from The Beatles toMichael Jackson to Daft Punk, their sound is quite unique. Based originally from Bondi and now playing at such big scale events like Shore Thing, they’ve come a long way from their days at The Bourbon and Sounds on Sunday. FrontwomanMiss Connie’s vocals were smooth as always, and the boys did a good job. As a live band these guys are always great and the crowd got what they expected. With less than half an hour to go till 2008 the crowd went insane when they played UFO. Punters sang along, mostly out of tune but having a great time.
The Funktrust DJs came on for a 20-minute stint before Groove Armada. Probably the shortest set I’ve ever heard from them, but it was funky and it led us into the main act. The crowd was well hyped up for the beginning of 2008 and of course Groove Armada! At the stroke of midnight Shore Thing’s own private firework show began, greeted with the obligatory shouts and whistles. And the anticipation was high for the main act to come on.

There’s little doubt that Groove Armada have made a massive impact on the world of music while they’ve been around. Ten years in, with five studio albums and a bunch of mix CDs to boot they’ve achieved more than they ever dared dream. And they still know how deliver. It was slow start with snippets of their many tracks mashed up all together. I See You Baby, Get Down and Superstylin were mashed and merged into medleys, sounds and resonance. The lead in was slow with no beat, but this built up the anticipation to a massive level and when they finally lead their set into The Girls Say and the crowd went off, with the screaming dying down as everyone started moving their feet (except for some guy who kept up with his native Indian howls). The dancefloor started pumping, the crowd started swaying and the New Year had been officially welcomed in.

Their set was fantastic, with the band playing many tracks from their recent Soundboy Rock as well as some of their old favourites. A classic is a classic, and Groove Armada have a lot of classics. Many of their hits have been featured in ads or movies, and with such a broad range of people at a 15,000 strong event, the crowd loves it when they can sing along to something they recognise. And they got the chance to do that for the majority of the set, which maybe wasn’t so great for those just trying to have a dance but hey, it was all part of the Groove Armada package. Some may argue they like to hear different stuff but the reaction of the crowd is always the best way to decipher the general feel and the crowd loved hearing what they knew. By the time it had wrapped up, it had all felt just too short.

Tom Findlay from Groove Armada took over at 1:45am with another classic selection of tracks including We Are Your Friends by Justice and Born Slippy by Underworld. His set was not as upbeat as the Groove Armada one, but you always expect the main act to be the highlight. He played a lot of fairly predictable electro, but with the big festivals the aim is not to surprise, but to please. Tom played till close and finished the night off with a bang. By 3am most punters were ready to go home, and those who weren’t were wandering the streets in search of kebabs.

Overall, the event was enjoyable. Fuzzy might not put as much effort into Shore Thing as far as diverse and sizeable lineups go, but this is still one of the better selections to attend on New Years Eve. The weather was perfect with no rain to dampen the mood, and the visual effects were well planned out and created something to watch as well as listen to. The sound was OK but with Shore Thing, it’s never really been crystal clear. But at the end of the day, the crowd was up for it and going with the music. The poor fella that got impaled on a metal pole trying to jump the fence never made it into Shore Thing, which highlights a valuable lesson; buy your tickets kids, don’t jump the fence. It’s usually is a laugh as you see a security guard chasing a kid who’s tried to jump the fence, but in this case some poor bloke ended up with skewered on a metal pole and all over the news the next day. But the other 15000 people had a ball, and that’s the way it should be: after all it’s the time New Year resolutions, though most people make an exception to them on the 1st.