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Live Review: Nina Kraviz and FJAAK headline just about Sydney's biggest club night ever

10 March 2020 | 3:56 pm | Parry Tritsiniotis

A lineup to die for, Nina Kraviz and Fjaak at Sydney's best club Universal. 700 keen punters engaged with potentially the strongest lineups of 2020. 

A lineup to die for, Nina Kraviz and FJAAK at Sydney's best club Universal. Despite multiple clashes of Days Like This Festival, Pitch Music and Arts and also a range of other club nights across the country, 700 keen punters embarked on the Oxford St dance haven to engage with potentially the strongest club night lineup of 2020.

Finer Things and Finely Tuned know how to throw a club night. It's more than just lasers and loud music, the best club nights always create an unmatchable energy that evokes community and togetherness. Rather than the traditional high up stage at the venue, the decks were situated much closer to the crowd. Metres away from some of the largest DJs in the world, the crowd was heavily engaged and equally as important in creating the atmosphere on the night. With 360° access, three tiers and, of course, lasers and great music, Universal was transformed into a fully fledged, hedonism-fuelled, gladiator-esque arena.

Opening the main part of the night's formal proceedings was FJAAK. While unfortunately due to illness the group was turned into a solo act, the relentlessness of noise was not compromised. FJAAK are excellent at providing what they're known for: turbo selecting at its finest. Roaring through countless originals, the set was comprised of thumping four-to-the-floor techno with a fierce energy and tempo. Highlights included their 2018 originals 'Drugs' and 'Keep the Funk' as the lo-fi vocal samples with aggressive percussion negotiated perfectly to the club's environment.

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Then came the globally renowned Nina Kraviz. A pioneer of contemporary techno, the tension in the room grew as Nina's unmistakable stage presence was felt among the punters. Her set was mind-melting and her mixing was hypnotic. A set that could only be described as taking no prisoners, she rattled through big anthemic dance movers. From stripped back gems to rave-fuelled synths and long buildups, the set was a masterclass and an insight into the lens of the Kraviz mind. This wasn't simply a set with a single tempo/energy or aura, it was a multifaceted novel described by dance music.

As the night grew older, the crowd did not budge. The room, full until about 5:30AM, is not just a sign of an excellent one-off evening, but a sign of a changing of the guard of the perspective of dance music in NSW. Let this not just be known as a large club night, but a massive timestamp in the setlist of post-lockout Sydney. Clubs roaring until 6AM would have been unheard of six months ago, but it's left no doubt that a new chapter is being written.

Image by Oliver Minnet