NYE Block Party @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW Australia 31/12/2017 written by Brendan Lewis.

Come one come all, step right up for this circus in the sky! This jaw-dropping not-to-be-missed experience, will feature headlining musical acrobats, BLISS N ESO, who will swing us into 2018, as skies alight with both fireworks and thrilling music!

Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats and nabbed standing positions, fill your hands with a cup of your favourite beverage, and get ready to party like it’s 1999….. again. The show will commence momentarily.

As I walk into this open-air setting surrounding The Cambridge Hotel, I anticipate a slow entrance into the grounds, which are already packed with high-spirited party animals, as the show started over an hour ago. But as I’m fashionably (if I do say so myself) late however, instead the entrance into the grounds on this glorious sunny afternoon is quick, crowd free and stress free… It’s quiet, too quiet…

Wandering on down to the source of the current performer on the spectacularly large and well equipped stage Kwame, who runs rings around the casual, laid back bunch that are here with his confronting hip-hop punches, sprucing up the vibe and drawing peoples’ attention, the area layout is simple and easy for even a blind punter like myself to navigate. All food, drinks and first aid in tents lined up on the right of the clearance, and… well I can only assume toilets and area’s to sit and relax on the left, I honestly don’t know, my attention is focused on the drink tents, I mean, music.

After Kwame busts out his final hard-hitting beat, which concludes the set that isn’t my personal cup of tea, but was good for what he’s going for, the house DJ takes over before musical acrobat Touch Sensitive spring on to the stage. Touch Sensitive dances on the trapeze of electronic music, balancing between retro funk, and modern rave which with the forthcoming of wild lights dancing in the open air as the sunlight fails, sparks my attention. As refreshing and uplifting as this sound is and draws the crowd in and closer to the front, as the third song rolls in, my attention is starting to wander as it’s starting to get a little too repetitive, being all instrumental grooves. Sure, the music is catchy, vibrant and easy to boogie to at a night club, but I feel I’m way too sober and analytic, for me to fully appreciate it. The audience on the other hand seem to be enjoying it, oddly though are still very calm and laid back, and after Touch Sensitive only now speaks to his audience for the first time leading into his final song, reminding me that there is actually someone on the stage flipping switches on a deck not just an MP3 player up loud, a couple of people in the audience try prompting an encore, but no sorry guys, we now have to make way for Asta up next.

The sound mixer for the event has so far done a pretty darn good job with the mix, a little too bass dominated, but all in all it’s clear and enjoyable for each acts sound respectively.

As Asta leaps out onto the colourfully lit stage beneath a freshly starry night sky, the audience is instantly dazzled and captivated with stunning powerful vocals from the get go, like those acrobats at a circus on those big swinging rope things… ok, I haven’t been to a circus since I was like 8, just roll with it. Asta swings from one song to the next, sustaining her powerful and stunning vocals, engaging her audience confidently between, dancing and twirling around bringing the hype up dramatically! The crowd is getting quite full now as the night sky has now fallen, and the party has truly started, which is all the more shocking that everyone is well behaved and respectful. This is not often the case in Newcastle on any given night of the year, let alone New Years Eve…. Newcastle, are you alright?

The area is reaching critical masses with patrons getting lively and a wee-bit rowdy now, and party house electronic outfit Kilter are up now! Kilter may be a DJ and does all his magic on the decks, but he mixes things up by incorporating drums and guitar into the set, along with Kilter engaging his audience well between songs as the stunning lights reach their full capacity, it keeps everyone very much locked in focus. Although even I’m enjoying it as it’s fresh and unpredictable, but the unexpected is starting to become expected, and is seeming a little too laborious and repetitive sadly. Still, I do admire his originality for the genre, and it has gone down nicely with the audience who now have gravitated towards the front, making the area around me start to look like a proper concert mosh pit.

Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the act we all paid to see, Bliss N Eso!….. wait for it….. keep waiting… maybe the boys have enjoyed a few too many New Years Eve cocktails and are passed out? Nope, at last after being thirty minutes late, here we go! With a thunderous roaring cheer from the audience, the set is kicked off with graphics (of some sort) nostalgic commentary, and snippets of different Bliss N Eso songs all playing on the on-stage screen, building the excitement and anticipation. The boys burst onto the stage like crazy hyped up monkeys at a circus, ready to put on one hell of a show, and then swing into the set starting with classic party anthem ‘Woodstock 08’. As the band bounce and swing from one song to another in a perfect mix of old and new, the crowd around me are still quite relaxed, calm and well behaved despite the band revving us up and racing around the stage like clowns on turbo charged tricycles…. something’s not right? As we near the countdown to the new year, we’ve been wowed with songs like ‘The Sea Is Rising’ feel good young at heart track ‘Act Yr Age’, ‘Down By The River’ and more, and now the band pause the show and start the countdown. 3,2,1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Confetti and lights fly around the night sky which is sadly empty of fireworks (or at least visible from here) but Bliss N Eso’s aura and killer performance makes up for it a thousand times over! After the excitement of it being a new year, I’d expect the crowd to get a little more rowdy and wild especially with the band playing their biggest heavy-weight tracks at the end, but no, if anything they’re more relaxed….I’m really starting to worry now. With anthemic masterful hip-hop tracks like ‘Addicted’, ‘My Life’ and lastly ‘Friend Like You’ which the band dedicate to the guy who sadly lost his life in Newcastle during the filming of the video clip, it closes the incredible and memorable set with a bang!

I’ve seen Bliss N Eso many times before tonight and they never disappoint, but tonight they brought it up to a whole new level! The sound was great, the energy was amazing and the atmosphere of the show was at a buzzing high! All in all, this was a brilliant memorable way to bring in the new year, and all the artists on the bill added a unique complimenting touch to the enjoyable evening!