Once again, Move, Polyrhythmic and Outer Body have opened up the audiovisual wonderland of Planet X through their second instalment of the event, Planet X – II. Arguably Perth’s most hyped up rave of the year (I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen Facebook and Instagram advertisements for the event, on top of the promoters’ consistent posts), Planet X – II definitely did not disappoint.
Whilst the event was heavily advertised, the crowd seemed as edgy as they would be in any underground Perth rave; it’s just that this event started at 4pm and was in a public inner-city venue with an open bar and a food truck.
Entering the LEISUREPLEX was an experience in itself – an X shaped outdoor corridor of neon orange string welcomed you to what seemed to be another world. Gloucester Park was transformed into a colourful techno haven with three different interacting stages (one outdoor and two indoor) joined together by an open air space and winding staircases. The outdoor setting meant that partygoers darting between stages were given the chance to cool off, something I found extremely beneficial as the night went on. Overall, the space provided an incredible setting for the intersection of music, dance, visuals and design that culminated in the Planet X experience.
Arriving at a rave before sunset felt strange. The first few acts were attended by only a handful of people but the music was nevertheless good. Upstairs at the Hyperspace, local artists Takeo Kameoka x Andre Vass played a selection of galactic techno that created a chilled yet intriguing atmosphere within the area. Backed by gridded lasers of alternating colours, the space provided a perfect futuristic and heavy environment for people to party in.
This was followed by LNS’ eclectic set, with music ranging from dub techno to electro to ambient fast reggae with a techno bass. Her song choices and transitions left the audience craving more and more, and I was almost sad when her set was over. Her presence within the event was further symbolic of the international representation of women within the techno industry, and the rise of the Perth techno scene.
Just after sunset Norwegian house music legend Bjorn Torske played a fun, funky and playful set outside in front of the racecourse that had the small but growing crowd moving. Dancers appeared during Rok Riley’s set, adding to the ethereal, almost magical quality it gave to the music and the glow of pure passion and joy on her face as she was performing. While I was quite distracted by the intensity of the lights during her set, I remember being mesmerised by her presence and enjoying the additional visual component of the dancers moving to the music.
Downstairs in the Subspace, the area had a sweatier, more ‘traditional’ warehouse vibe to it reminiscent of garbage city raves in a tight, dark environment. As my friend mentioned, the grungier environment of this setting suited the local line up and gave a completely different vibe to the other stages.
Next to it, the Open Space provided a more chilled atmosphere in the concrete walkway of the WACA. In addition to the dancers, the setting provided a more international, Berlin-esque vibe, reminiscent of repurposed European outdoor clubs and raves. It was a nice change to have an open stage with a DJ where people could move and have fresh air, or smoke whilst dancing.
Local beats queen Toni Yotzi started her set in the Open Space with 80s euphoric disco, which gave homage to the earlier Perth dance scene (2010–2014) that she dominated and will most definitely continue to dominate. The intensity of her performance was exacerbated by the extremely strong bass line that she consistently used, which would have perhaps suited a different space.
Later on, enigmatic British producer and DJ Lone was another drawcard, delivering one of the sets of the night. His lush breakbeats and atmospheric tunes were perfect for the time of the evening, with everyone really getting into it. Respect to Planet X for bringing over these acclaimed, yet underground artists who might not come to Perth otherwise.
Whilst my experience was mostly positive, I could not help but notice the presence of a few creepy men lurking in the shadows and eyeing women up and down. In our particular case, a drunk older man was breathing down the necks of women, almost as if to absorb their scent(s). My friend immediately informed the staff, who were extremely helpful and did all they could to prevent him from repeating this behaviour. Nevertheless, sexual harassment and the provision of safe spaces is a huge issue that both venues and the Perth music industry should prioritise, as the organisers of Planet X have done.
One of the final acts, Fred P played until the closing at 2am on the Open Stage. He brought in an acid baseline halfway that, ever so slowly, brought the set to a climax. Through this slow yet steady change, the audience were left in a trancelike state that I can only imagine amplified the effects of the substances many were coming off by that time.
Playing last upstairs was Detroit techno original DJ Bone, and the big man locked in and took it home. Masterful mixing and uncompromising, deep, relentless techno, pounded through the room as the vibe moved up a notch. The hazy, strobing visuals and dark silhouettes of the writhing dancers behind him, enhanced the intensity of Bone’s set, as he stood firm behind the decks, in complete control.
Planet X is definitely an experience, and one I look forward to enjoying again.