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Velvet NYE 2003 Party, Auckland, NZ.

by hardyshrub 

Posted: 15 September 2004
Word Count: 640
Summary: A review of the new year's eve party by club promoters, Velvet, held at the newly refurbished landmark building, the Civic Centre in the heart of Auckland, New Zealand.

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Velvet NYE Party
Auckland New Zealand

It is commonly said that New Zealand is the most remote nation on earth. With this in mind, it would be only natural to assume that the scene here could be quite easily labelled and filed as somewhat provincial. In fact, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. Indeed, as the new year loomed, Aucklanders were faced with a healthy choice of club nights offering a wide range of music from hard house & trance to drum ‘n’ bass.
The Velvet crew have been throwing spectacular parties for five years and have gained a well-earned reputation as the most upmarket and glamorous events in NZ. Catering for a more discerning ‘grown-up’ clientele, Velvet place a great deal of emphasis on environment and as a result they seem to have adopted a ‘no expense spared’ attitude towards their choice of venues! This kind of situation is somewhat inevitable – as the bar is raised with the quality of each venue, the expectations of the punters will rise in accordance. With this as a pretext it was only logical that Velvet’s 2003 NYE party would be held at the beautifully renovated Civic building.
With their usual emphasis on music of the deep and funky variety, it seemed very apt that Velvet had chosen to name this year’s bash ‘The Funk Factory’ which I later found out is also the name of their new record label. However, there was to be something for everyone as Velvet utilised the fantastically labyrinthine venue to offer harder-edged beats, live bands, hip-hop and deep house, often supplemented with live percussion and sax. Two thousand dressed up and loved up partygoers were greeted with champagne and a choice of four levels of fun: the Wintergarden featuring USA’s Austin Leeds with live acts The Funky Reverends and House of Downtown, the Safari Room, featuring London’s Hardy.S (myself) and Fresh Funk from superb local radio station George FM and the Taj Mahal Room, with DJ Booth from London alongside Darryl Milne. In addition, the top floor offered three more rooms; The Foyer, Veranda and VIP Room, hosted by a variety of local DJs, most notably Brother Trav, co-organiser of Velvet and member of the aforementioned Funky Reverends.
From a DJs perspective it is always refreshing to play for a crowd who are as knowledgeable and open-minded as they are up for it. For a scene set so far apart from the rest of the world, Auckland’s vibe seems to be a healthy and vibrant one. Perhaps it is it’s very isolation that breeds an inclination towards a more funk and jazz orientated musical quality rather than the inane banging hard house or big buck commercialism of the northern hemisphere’s club scene.
A joyful atmosphere permeated the whole night punctuated by some exceptional sets of music. Local hero Soane, or ‘The Tongan Prince’ as he is affectionately known, played a fine set of chunky house as did fellow local Paul Dean. The Fresh Funk duo mixed up a lively set of happy funky house; Coalesce resident DJ Booth was enjoying himself in the Taj Mahal, as indeed was I in the Safari room where the crowd rocked!
Velvet have certainly set a high standard over the last few years by delivering a marriage of gorgeous locations, quality music and a lovely crowd. However, it is with a tinge of sadness that I have to report that ‘The Funk Factory’ NYE party will be the last Velvet event for the immediate future as they regroup to put all of their energy into the promotion of the Funk Factory record label. It is probably safe to say that if their parties are anything to go by, the music released by these guys will come with the assurance of quality. Now, there’s something to look forward to.

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