Audioriver Festival 2007 (Saturday)

Imagine you’re in Poland and you run out of Vodka… Indeed that happened at the Audioriver, but to be honest, lots of thirsty throats gave that huge box of Vodka no chance to survive longer than the following two hours. Regarding all other things there was only one question in mind: “Holy! What was that?! We were rocking for 6 hours, non-stop…”

When speaking about a festival free of admission, some people might think that such festivals are usually a more or less funfair-like drinking orgy. Audioriver immediately demonstrates the opposite as it is about three things only: music, music and again music. Sponsored by Polish beer brand Lech, the line-up instantly made clear that having an uncompromising good time in Poland will be no problem at all. When entering the venue you surely would have been blown away by the great sound system and stunning visuals as well. In fact the magicians responsible for visuals, animations and projections created a perfect frame for the following live performances. Many people were sitting at the mountainside to enjoy the scenic fusion of river, stage, visuals and audio.

Audioriver literally appeared out of the blue. In 2006, its year of birth, already 20.000 people visited that two days lasting celebration on the beach next to Vistula River in Płock (pronounced like “Potzk”). The second edition even doubled its number of attendees as on Saturday the police spoke about all in all 40.000 partying people. Despite of the Friday “riot” at the Circus Stage (techno), there was surprisingly lots of room for one’s elbows and space to dance away the night. In general the line-up was one of the finest around this summer; the artists nominated to play the main stage on Saturday were the cherry on the already sweet cake though. For all of them it’s was the premiere to perform live in Poland: Spooky, Hybrid and Infusion. And those congenial guys showed no mercy to let our bodies rest, even not a single second.

First one on the bill was the live act of Charlie May and Duncan Forbes, better known as Spooky, who had been introduced by warm-up DJ Leon, a resident DJ at Warsaw based Klatka club. The performance of Charlie and Duncan was the perfect fundamental for all succeeding artists; they made the whole night to become something special by contributing a flawless lift-off. Their powerfully driving sound, spiced with sophisticated harmonies and some subtle vocals blew everybody’s head off in a mental way. Alpha leader Charlie had the raving main area firmly set in his sight, even when playing the keys. Next to him a heavily rocking Duncan was performing. His face communicated a clear message: I’ll make your bodies move. Because of being in closer touch with the people, Charlie and Duncan are actually preferring appearances in clubs, even gigs in smaller clubs. Certainly the atmosphere at Audioriver plus the giving and taking between artists and fans deeply impressed them though. “That’s an exceptional night with you all here at the river!” Charlie said, while Duncan tried to wind up everybody: “Yeah, the atmosphere makes me forgetting about all those mosquitoes here. I will look like coming back from a trip through Amazonia, not Poland… ;-)”

However due to Vodka-touched exhalations mosquitoes & co. had in fact no chance to badger people. The only buzzing was coming from the main area, but that was already the beginning of the next happenings on stage: the X-Press 2 guys took over the steering. They were intended to do a live performance as well, but due to Ashley Beedle being sick the planned live act fell through. Though both Darrens showed up in time to play a classic DJ set. They tightened the mental atmosphere Spooky already created by adding their characteristic selection of rib-shaking Caribbean influenced percussive techno. Of course they also dropped their own classics like Smoke Machine or Muzikizum; tunes that made the main area becoming a wild and exotic raving ground.

While the X-Press 2 was rocking the main stage Jamie Stevens of Infusion turned up: “Imagine you’re in Poland and they run out of Vodka! Where’s the b***…? Ah there. Holy… It is light beer!” Indeed the huge box of Vodka was killed quickly. Many thirsty throats gave it no chance to survive the night. While grabbing his light beer there was big “Hey!” going around: the Hybrid guys came along and together with them tour manager Leon Alexander (Hope), two vocalists (John Graham aka Quivver and Charlotte James), drummer Alex Madge and guitarist Tim Hutton plus their own sound engineer. After the sound check had been done on the fly, Mike and Chris & Co. entered the stage to let rain down that kind of music Hybrid is known for: driving broken beats with gritty breaks and cheeky noises, sophisticated harmonies and synth chords plus a kicking bassline paired with beautiful vocals and classic instruments played live. In an hour of Hybrid, new productions like Dog Star, Secret Circles or Until Tomorrow as well as classics like Kill City or the legendary Finished Synphony were hitting the crowd at full tilt. Behind, on and of course in front of the stage everyone was sweating, rocking or just simply visibly pleased.

DJ-wise Mike and Chris already visited Poland; Audioriver was their first live gig on Polish soil though. Same with the Australian Infusion guys, who haven’t been to Poland ever before. Right after Hybrid they got ready to take over the main stage and to make their debut. Jamie, Manuel and Frank – that night those three chief rockers from Down Under delivered a musical head shot. There was nobody who didn’t scream, who didn’t jump and who didn’t dance. Unique tunes like Infusion’s own kick-ass song “Legacy”, the legendary driving “Girls Can Be Cruel” or remixes like on Icehouse’s “Hey Little Girl” even made the Aussie boys jumping and heavily rocking on stage. Final point of a very outstanding pumping live act was one of Infusion’s number one anthems: “Love & Imitation”, whose lyrics “And I know, what I feel should be natural…” were joined in by everyone out there.

There was no chance to have even a glance at on-going things in the techno tent, but live performances by Robert Babicz and Jake Fairly plus DJ sets coming from Martinez and Matthew Dear, these are delicacies which cannot be uninteresting, not uninteresting at all.

Second Audioriver ends by coming to the realization that two aspects are counting. The one important aspect is to know that eating Polish sauerkraut soup BEFORE a gig may cause quite some annoying trouble. The other much more important fact is that second Audioriver underlined its quality. In its first year that event already entered the Premier League of European festivals, while its second edition demonstrated that Audioriver has to be ranked even among the top teams of global music meetings. The promoter was energetically supported by Sound Revolt, insiders who racked their brains when figuring out this year’s fantastic line-up, while also taking care about artists & co. Next year we surely can expect another amazing festival as their spinning heads already produced first ideas of another unique artist constellation: maybe Way Out West live…?

You surely know that feeling when having a big big smile in your face and when you want to tell the entire world about something outstanding you experienced; ready for collection at Audioriver.

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