If you’re as reputable a brand as Ministry of Sound, you can expect the critique to be strong when putting on a show. According to the punters, Ministry’s recently held Orchestrated production, in Kings Park, Perth, was “wonderful”, “awesome”, and had a “fantastic vibe”. Yep, the adverbs in citizen journalism aren’t exactly the most enlightening. But the point is a lot of folks in the crowd had a great time.
Sure, the concept was wonderful – as enjoyable as previous symphonic experiences witnessed, most recently Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra’s big gig in Melbourne.
Certainly, the trip down memory lane was awesome.
And definitely, the sight of old-school clubbers partying hard to classic tunes added to a fantastic vibe.
But given that these ears have heard just about everything under the sun when it comes to live music (yep, been to that many festivals and that many symphonic shows), I must say the quality of sound at this gig wasn’t all up to scratch.
While mixing by a live DJ (thank you Groove Terminator), performance by a live band and the coordination of a grand orchestra to play in time to the beats per minute is an impressive feat, what was missing was the added oomph of amplification and surround sound. Unlike being in a club, where the music is booming from every corner, here it seemed to stem from the front of the stage mostly, and kind of got lost up the back. Indeed, my guest and I trekked the entire periphery and realised that if you weren’t up front at this gig, you weren’t getting the full aural experience. And if you’re going to put on a show this big, you’ve got to make sure your Marshall stacks are massive.
The selection of songs was fairly good – and we know it would have been a real challenge to pick from so many decades of great music – but the choice of guest singers left us somewhat unimpressed. I don’t actually recall having seen Daniel Merriweather’s name on a Ministry CD, and as for Alison Limerick – perhaps she had two hit club singles in Australia, at most. If the producers were really clever, they’d have gotten some Australian singers, beyond the dude from Potbelleez, to deliver some killer vocals – especially since homegrown talent is so highly celebrated these days (re: all the talent shows raking in ratings on television).
The dance-music-goes-symphonic thing is truly huge at the moment. Every DJ from Armand van Helden to Armin van Buuren is turning their dance to trance into something bigger, bolder and more brilliant.
For Ministry to pick up on the trend and put on its own grand show, we’d have expected the spectacle to be better than just wonderful, and the sound to be far greater than just awesome.
It is called the Ministry of Sound, after all. Antonino Tati
SOCIAL SNAPS – MINISTRY OF SOUND: ORCHESTRATED