Reviewed on Thursday November 21

Legendary Detroit techno and house producer Carl Craig returned to our shores to help The Spice Cellar ring in its second birthday. In the two years since the venue first opened its doors in 2011, it’s firmly established itself as a go-to destination for anyone looking to escape the usual depressing late-night haunts that litter the Sydney CBD. I had a feeling this birthday was going to be a big one.

Added to this was the fact the night was ‘Harajuku Neon’-themed, with a strict ‘no effort, no entry’ policy (a fact I didn’t ascertain until moments before the gig… cue mad rush to find a last-minute costume, the results of which were, umm, interesting). Despite the fact that I felt a little oddly dressed for the bus trip over, I needn’t have worried once I set foot in the venue – absolutely everyone had wholeheartedly embraced the theme. Glancing around the room I saw pastel-wigged Decora/Kawaii girls, cyber goths, glow sticks, a blood-splattered nurse, a dude with Buzz Lightyear wings on and little else, lots of fluoro body paint, more glow sticks, cage dancers on both sides of the DJ booth, and a unicorn – all dancing along to tracks spun by the likes of Murat Kilic, Simon Caldwell (whose set was a personal favourite of the night), Michelle Owen, Robbie Lowe, Space Junk, Morgan and Myall High.

In addition to a cracking lineup of DJs, Spice had taken immense trouble to transform the venue for the theme. Multicoloured Chinese lanterns hung from the ceilings, maneki-neko ‘lucky cat’ statues waved hypnotically in the indigo-tinged light, fake cherry blossoms adorned the walls and all the staff were decked out in wigs, clashing neon prints and glitter.

The man of the moment, Craig, took to the decks around 1am and was predictably awesome, wowing the crowd with a well-integrated, largely instrumental tech house-focused set, which left everyone wanting more and partying well into the morning.


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