Every single Saturday, every single week, 52 times a year, 5:01 pm becomes an amazing time for yours truly. Having gone through a number of second winds throughout the 5 day work week, there always seems to be one more creeping up on me the second it ticks over 5pm. For the next two days, I can do whatever I please, because I’m free from the daily ramblings of the 9-5 existence. But what exactly should I do with said time? Read a book? Go to the beach? Stay in and catch up on some puroresu? They’re all viable options, but going the more social route is where I usually start these next 48 or so hours. Melbourne has a handful of places to rest a weary head, but two weekends ago, a dozen or so well educated spinners getting together at the Coburg Velodrome to present: Freedom Time 3. A suitable name for those interested in bobbing around a field in Melbourne’s outer north, as freedom like this, most definately, shouldn’t be taken lightly. The third chapter in this ongoing series, the Freedom Time Family, have invited some other heavyweights to kick-start the ongoing events. Well know Canadian spinners Invisible City Sound System and Eglo Records co-founder Floating Points, have already been hand-plucked to help kick start an endless amount of shenanigans at previous events, with a trio of carefully selected jockeys joining the mix for 2016.
Tropicano flavour picker Hugo Mendez, French funk machine Jeremy Underground and (my personal favourite) the king of soul, Sadar Bahar rounded out this one-of-a-kind event, alongside some talented locals to boot. While I can’t suggest supporting locals at any given event enough, I unfortunately missed the majority of them (due to the previously mentioned work commitments, mentioned above) for this event and found myself arriving some 10 minutes into Sadar Bahar’s incredible set. Despite that, the vibes seem to have been right from the get go and the crowd (assumably due to the efforts of the aforementioned local line up) was in readily high spirits for what was ahead. Plonking myself to the right of the main stage, as close as to the speaker one can get without tearing a pair of listening drums, I watched as one of house musics true legends set us on a direct course to Planet Funk, picking up brothers and sisters from House, Hip-Hop and Disco along the way. How he manages to juggle that many genres and BPMs, set to nothing but vinyl, is something I may never know, but it’s certainly motivating to say the least. Realising that there was more on offer, I left Bahar with 30 minutes to spare to see what Sofrito Records boss Hugo Mendez had on offer. While there were no fences dividing the stages, walking from one to another was like skipping between continents, as we swapped the basslines of America for the high energy of Latin rhythms, African soul and along with everything else in between. Mendez is yet another wizard behind the wheels and the crowd hovering around his smaller stage, myself included, were on another level. The night closed with the selections of Jeremy Underground guiding us through the suns demise, with a suitably colourful sunrise on exit. Underground capped off a fun day, making full use of the crisp soundsystem, as house music steadily flowed through it until it’s last beat, just after 10pm. Despite the early finish, the crowd respectably dispersed towards their next destination, musically educated from the experience.
I’ve been around Melbourne’s house and techno scene for a number of years now, from the last days of HonkyTonks to Rainbow Serpent, countless warehouse parties and everything in between. While Melbourne’s scene continues to be healthy, despite some road blocks, along the way, it does suffer from a nights of conformity. While I could (and have) enjoy nights of the usual suspects, a bit more variety is always greatly appreciated. Variety in itself, has been a word I have always related to freedom, as it disables constraint and again, conformity. Melbourne’s landscape seems to be heavily influenced by the sound and culture of Berlin, maybe too influenced for 2016. In a time where we can research the whole world of music in the palm of our hands, it only seems natural to integrate outside influences to extend and educate audiences with more music. Looking at and experiencing Freedom Time 3, it’s comforting to know such thoughts are being distributed via these promoters, as introducing and progressing people onto new music is essentially what this is whole scene is all about.