If you’ll allow me, I first have a bit of personal history to divulge. When I first moved to Sydney, I had just turned nineteen and wasn’t much of a gig goer. I liked music, but hadn’t caught the gig bug. My first friend at Sydney University was a girl named Leah who was big into ska and reggae at the time, and so my first gig was in a suburb of the city I don’t even remember, at a tiny little pub, and it was some sort of mini ska festival. This was before there were smoking restrictions (or before they were strictly enforced), so what I remember is a smoky pub, cheap beer, and a bunch of people doing a funny dance I later learned to be called skanking to some great ska music.
Fast forward seven years and last night was almost exactly the same, apart from the forgettable suburb part. Temple Livehouse is smack in the middle of Gulou East Street, inside a complex I didn’t realize had become so built up over the last year (when I was there last, it was a temporary art gallery and largely empty). It hasn’t been open long, but already has the feel of a grungy livehouse, with sticky tables and thick smoky atmosphere and everything. The bar at the back is extensive, and while the stage is small, it seems to project a much bigger feel. There are couches and long wooden tables with chairs, and it feels like the sort of space that is easily both a music venue and a bar. The only thing I would say is that when a show is billed as a dance party like this one was, get rid of some of the tables.
But what really brought me back to my first gig in Sydney was the music and the dancing. Skarving is a great party band, and they have rounded out an evening at Dos Kolegas more times than I can officially remember. They got a large portion of the people off of the couches and out of their seats and onto the dance floor, which is an impressive feat in China. (You should have seen the stoic crowd during Buyi last week at Dos Kolegas… it was bizarre.) They really have an infectious sound, and it’s nigh impossible to keep still while they’re playing. However, as much as I love the band, and really liked the venue… sometimes, a band is just better at a certain venue, and Skarving will always be a Dos Kolegas band for me.