Review: Pitch Music & Arts 2019 (Part Two)
Amber De Luca-Tao continues our Pitch review with a look at days three and four - or the day Denis Sulta conquered Australia (check here to read about day one and two)…
*Pitch Music & Arts operates on Djabwurrung Country, and we acknowledge the Djabwurrung people as the traditional custodianes of the land and pay our respects to elders past & present.
Is there any point to reviewing the last two days of a festival? Well yes, it turns out there is. Arriving to a festival while it’s already alive and kicking is like turning up to a barbeque when the snags are already sizzling: It’s all ready for you to enjoy. Sure you may have missed a few good bants here and there, but boy are things only starting to cook.
Our road to Moyston was just shy of a three-hour drive. We experienced only one light shower as we neared the festival site, but it was over not long after it started. We arrived to the site early Sunday afternoon, and it appeared that the punters had definitely experienced a couple of light showers, but tents and marquees still looked well in tact. As we drove through the site to locate our digs for the next couple of days, punters emerged donning their festival finest and it was clear that there wasn’t any kind of weather that would pose as a deterrent for the good times to roll.
As we pitched our $12 K-Mart tent, the distant sound of heavy techno carried on the wind and our eagerness to join the party was only increasing by the second. Finally we were on our way to discover the stages and all the vibes.
Fuel before pleasure
First things first, we hunted down a bite to eat. Faced by at least 20 food trucks and spoilt for options, a long weekend away at Pitch definitely doesn’t mean going without food, despite what my parents probably think. We opted for a grilled chicken panini. Well-nourished and ready for anything, we made our way over to the festival’s main stage, Pitch One.
Like the many things at Pitch that are mesmerising, stage design definitely sits atop of the list. Paired with world-class techno, losing yourself and all track of time is very hard to avoid. Of the three stages, Stage Two (Resident Advisor), was the most exciting stage to engage with visually. What was an unassuming large red box by day transformed into a hot furnace of fiery techno by night.
6 hours of Âme and Dixon
It was around 5.30pm and Âme and Dixon had kicked off their 6-hour B2B set. The 6-hour set transported punters to the bowels of an underground rave straight out of Berlin, where relentless intense beats met climactic deep drops. The B2B set took the crowd from daylight to dusk and a strong set highlight featured a techno-infused take on a euphoric vocal sample from the Time Of The Gypsies soundtrack. Âme made sure the pairing was a match made in heaven and if the energy from the crowd was anything to go by, he had definitely nailed it. As expected, another Âme and Dixon B2B, another success.
At this point, enslaved to the Âme and Dixon B2B, I was faced with a predicament. With DJ Harvey taking stage at Resident Advisor from 7pm, how was I going to juggle them both? Despite the fact that each act was scheduled to play a satisfyingly lengthy set, it’s harder than it sounds to be able to catch a solid amount of both. You never know who you’ll bump into or where you’ll end up on your way to another stage.
You can never go Wrong with DJ Harvey
The decision to get down and groove to DJ Harvey paid well in disco dividends, with the legendary DJ delivering pure electricity. One of my favourite memories about the set (outside of the aural side of things), was catching a glimpse of a guy in the front row. He was just chilling with his legs over the rail and supported by his friends. No phone in hand and wearing a smile from ear to ear, absorbing all of the DJ Harvey goodness. It made me think about the level of attention an artist like DJ Harvey is able to command from his crowd.
Sometime around 2am, we found ourselves in the presence of the one and only Oliver Huntemann. It certainly was the after hours shift and at this point Huntemann’s dark, yet upbeat offering had punters fending off the bed bugs with no questions asked. A heaving set of immense techno warmed our souls and we only became aware of how freezing cold it was as we ventured away from the main stage in pursuit of the enigma that is Mall Grab.
Mall Grab is turning into Australia’s biggest techno export
Over at the Resident Advisor stage Mall Grab had things well under way. The stage was red hot and doof sticks were lit. It was a spectacle to say the least. Mind-bending techno was on the 4am menu for Mall Grab’s closing set of day three, and punters had taken all the necessary measures to ensure they were getting every last drop—perched on eskies, camping chairs and shoulders, it was Mall Grab or nothing.
For majority of the long weekend, Pitch’s three stages were occupied simultaneously. It was a really special moment when all eyes were on Mall Grab who was the only DJ delivering music ‘til 6am that morning.
Right from under our noses, we found ourselves staring down the barrel that was the final day of Pitch 2019. Early morning mildew had formed, breath was frosty. The start to the morning was a sombre one, given most punters had been running on 3 hours sleep (if that) since Friday night. Bacon and egg rolls demolished, smoothies knocked back, everyone was rearing to give the final day of Pitch one bloody good crack.
The main stage would be the only stage in action for the concluding day of the festival. Slowly but surely, everyone reconvened to Pitch One. Unfortunately we missed Boogs who kicked things off at 11am, but we made sure we got stuck into the eponymous four hour set from Four Tet.
Spirits were lifted with an entertaining set and it was almost like Four Tet was priming us for the arrival of Denis Sulta when he dropped a moody remix of Ariana Grande’s 2018 pop track, ‘No Tears Left To Cry’. Like the dust particles floating in the air (always a sign of happy ravers), a vibe of anticipation was definitely lingering.
The Denis Sulta show has begun…
It was finally 5pm and the moment that absolutely everyone at Pitch had been waiting for had arrived—in the form of a certain blonde-headed DJ, Denis Sulta. Sulta enthusiasts knew they were in for an absolute treat, and it turns out, that wasn’t even the half of it. After four days of intense, demanding techno, Sulta’s set delivered a means to alleviating the intensity. The man had come to throw a party that was all-time.
If you happened to catch a glimpse of Sulta behind his decks, you’d know what I mean when I say it was actually hard to tell if it was him or the crowd who was having more fun. Everyone was dancing, especially when he dropped an instrumental version of Vengaboys ‘We Like To Party!’. Everyone was partying like it was fucking 1999.
Among the 90’s and noughties throwbacks incorporated into his set in only the most sexy way possible, including Duck Sauce ‘Anyway’, I remember thinking to myself, “how is it possible that this set keeps getting better and better?” And I clearly wasn’t the only one thinking that, ‘cause I’m 100% serious when I say that I saw genuine tears of joy being shed.
Sulta brought his two-hour set home with Empire Of The Sun’s ‘Walking On A Dream’, the song’s title being an overly accurate indication of how everyone was truly feeling. It was an overwhelmingly bittersweet feeling when it had all come to an end and we were only left wanting more.
On paper, Pitch Music & Arts may still be in its infancy, but this year punters were left with zero causes for complaint and a whole lot of memories made on and off the dance floor. Coupled with this year’s techno-elite line-up, the festival has undoubtedly cemented itself as a serious force to be reckoned with for the years to come. Talk about a glow up. Pitch 2020, who’s ready?