There has been a rather peculiar mystery on the local music front that punters have noticed over the past few months when attending gigs at The Corner. Upon looking at the upcoming events in the window, one couldn’t help but fail to notice the three sold out shows by Netherland’s The Vengaboys. This was usually followed by an exclamation of “What the fuck?”
Tonight was too intriguing a proposition to refuse. Curiosity killing the cat and all that. A band well and truly past their fifteen minutes of fame. A night of Euro house music in the form of a DJ playing tracks from the era. A support act called The Herbs playing rock versions of Spice Girls tracks. This had the making of either a completely brilliant night or an utter train wreck waiting to happen.
First of all, the most interesting aspect of the night was what type of crowd was there to see The Vengaboys party. This was one of the more incredibly diverse crowds that The Corner has probably seen in its lifetime, featuring all shades of gender, sexuality and general misfits, in the most positive way possible. Surprisingly, it was a primarily very young crowd in attendance this evening, having grown up on this kind of music. The feeling of anticipation and excitement in the place was electrically palpable.
After an hour or so of DJ Algorithm playing early nineties house, especially of the one hit wonder, Euro kind, local act The Herbs took the stage. While competent enough and able to get the swelling, sold out crowd singing and getting into the night, playing well known Spice tracks such as “Two Become One” and “Say You’ll Be There”, the band were beset with constant technical issues. After five songs, the set was abandoned by the band. Amazingly, the crowd seemed rather understanding and forgiving. The joke, by this point, was starting to wear a bit thin. This ended up being the train wreck component mentioned earlier.
To their credit, the current lineup of The Vengaboys made no pretence whatsoever to play live. Backing tapes and miming, to various degrees of believability, were the order of the day. The crowd reaction was nothing short of astonishing. With a mixture of hipster irony and genuine love for The Vengaboys and their music, the crowd sounded like they were at a soccer match, such was the loud and enthusiastic passion on display. This scribe has honestly never heard a crowd this loud at The Corner before.
In their fourth lineup since their incarnation in 1997, the group, with a classic Abba-style two man, two woman formation, are the focal point for Dutch production team Danski and Delmundo. With songs such as “We’re Going To Ibiza”, “Sha La La”, “We Like To Party” and “Boom Boom Boom Boom”, the quartet tonight basically danced and revved up the crowd in an incredibly short forty-five minute set. A general comment heard after the gig is that it could have been longer.
The crowd was what really made tonight fly; they were loving every minute of it. In a short set, which featured the title track of their ridiculously titled last album Rocket To Uranus, and a cover of one hit wonder “Sex On The Beach” the four obviously love what they do and showed a great amount of enthusiasm and gratitude to the utterly mental crowd before them.
Personally, this type of music has, in the past, made this scribe run a mile in the other direction and brings back horrible visions of early nineties suburban Melbourne nightclubs such as Stylus and Jooce . A vision of nineties urban hell, to which Euro house music was the soundtrack.
Even worse, it reminded one of the infamous Twister, which this scribe is convinced, is one of the seven circles of hell that John Milton talked about in “Paradise Lost”. While still standing by a general revulsion and distaste towards this particular type of Euro sleaze and cheese dance music, there is a strong level of respect for the fact that it can make so many people as happy as the ones assembled at The Corner on a Thursday night like tonight.
This was a walking contradiction of a gig. Backing tapes, miming, performing songs twice (the encore consisted of the previously heard “Sha La La” and “Boom Boom Boom Boom”), a gratuitous “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” chant or two, a support act that crashed and burned.
Yet the crowd seemed oblivious to any flaws or faults tonight. They really were there for the music; out of what seemed a genuine love of nineties Euro house music. More power to those who love this sort of thing and the positive energy it creates for them.
– Neil Evans