What Went Down: Zouk@Sepang @ Sepang International Circuit

Video Uzair & Saph

By now there are only 2 reasons for anyone to travel all the way to Sepang; F1 and raves (sorry Golden Palm Tree Resorts). And if you’re lucky enough, sometimes they’d overlap and you’d get a rave pre-event to the race. Really, it seems like raves happen there almost every month of the year… not that we’re complaining though.

Zouk@Sepang continues this tradition of turning Sepang International Circuit into a field of manic-eyed ravers to such an extent that we hope Zouk@Sepang will become a yearly tradition in itself. While they might not be as grand as the preceding event there, their scaled-back ambition works better. Featuring only a single stage, 7 acts, and located at the welcome centre and half of the mall area, the event manages to fit just enough air-punching punters to fill the space at all times (except the beginning due to our infamous Malaysian timing).

Because JUICE is not one to conform to national stereotypes, we got there early enough to witness Nasty Hype (a DJ combo of Mr. Nasty and Hypembeat) behind the decks spinning a set worthy of a capacity crowd. Unfortunately other punters were satisfied with being the typical Malaysian and only arrived much later into the night. Thankfully We Love Techno (Terence C and Xu), whose collective name is representative of what they played that night, was met with a trickling crowd filling in the venue as they spin their way to the first international DJ performing – tyDi.

The Australian DJ was adept at recognising what the crowd wants in an outdoor rave setting, catering to the mainstream and pseudo-independent by playing anything from Gareth Emery’s ‘Tokyo’ to Tiesto’s ‘Traffic’ to even Gotye’s ubiquitous ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’, metamorphosed as a dancier number. tyDi himself was quite a presence to behold, this wasn’t just another deckmeister who stays behind the familiarity of his console hoping to get crowd support just from playing hits after hits. Standing on the console and speakers, and jumping to the barricades, giving high-fives to the audience along the way – this guy proved to be a proper rockstar. As if the crowd weren’t already crazy over him, tyDi declared that Kuala Lumpur as “one of his favourite cities in the world.”

As impressed as we were by his set and pandering skills, we wished he had some of his recent original numbers (such as ‘Worlds Apart)’ in his playlist. Although, admittedly, their sombrer and pop song-quality might not work so well in an outdoor party setting.

Malaysia’s favourite DJ duo Goldfish & Blink took over the stage with their own expected hit ‘In the House’ and a not-so-expected Alesso remix of DEVolution’s ‘Good Love’ as well as the uber-crowd pleasing dance remix of Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s ‘Otherside’. If you ever doubted our local DJs appeal to a crowd of their own peeps, it would disappear immediately when Blink’s authoritative “make some f*cking noise” is greeted with a roaring cheer.

Indonesian DJ Angger Dimas was up next with a schizophrenic playlist that appeased everyone, and we mean everyone. So much so that we would capitalise the word to accentuate our meaning but that’d be too idiotic to publish. From trance to techno, Angger was the first to include dubstep into his mix, which consequently resulted in a bro-out among the many shirtless muscular men in the crowd. This was all very amusing.

Bobby Burns fed our ear buds with electro by way of dancy tech in tracks like his own ‘Next’ and David Guetta & Nicky Romero’s new track ‘Metropolis’. Good as he was, Bobby ultimately served as a warm up to the night’s real treat – Afrojack.

Opening and closing with ‘Bangduck’ to fireworks both at the beginning and end, it seemed like Zouk must have saved up all their pyrotechnic budget on him because that ish just refused to stop throughout the whole duration of his set. The audience, already inebriated post-6 other DJs, immediately went fist-pumping as soon as Afrojack stepped behind the decks. Enough to start chanting “Afrojack!” like an afro-haired cult figure had just been born from a huge explosive bonfire.

When he got to ‘Can’t Stop Me Now’, we were convinced that the song was the first instance of meta-commentary at a rave. There’s really no stopping the towering figure, both literal and metaphorical, that is Afrojack.

Zouk@Sepang had all the mainstays of a good rave. People who weren’t afraid to get silly (and go topless, but all were men sadly), concurrent fireworks and pyrotechnics, good international and local DJs sharing the same stage, and no one meeting an ignoble YouTube appearance at the end of it all.

‘twas a good rave.

Zouk@Sepang was on Saturday 7 April 2012. For pictures of the event, click here.