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Published February 17, 2019

After a particularly obnoxious hangover, I made the decision to do “Feb Fast” and forgo alcohol for the shortest month possible. It was only after I’d made this commitment that I came across Crap Music Rave Party.

I had the suspicion that this wasn’t the kind of event designed to be done sober. But my love of crap music wasn’t to be undone by self-imposed prohibition. I’d first heard about Crap Music Rave Party from my trendier friends, the kind of friends who attend festivals, and can get away with eschewing the Melbourne uniform of black on black in favour of an actual colour palette. Having never been to a rave before, I was nervous about attending for the first time. What does one wear to a rave? Is one required to dance? What if one has no sense of rhythm?

I nervously decided to wear the only colourful dress I owned and some sensible flats. I’m not very good at being cool, you might have gathered.

The venue was a trendy location in Brunswick that took me 20 minutes to find even when I was standing less than 100m from the door. Once I made it inside I was ushered through to a soundproofed room at the rear of the building where it seemed like they had collected the only Melbournians who had any energy left after a week of above 30 degree days.

My dance companion ordered a glass of prosecco, which was delightfully served in a plastic tumbler, and we made our way to the furthermost corner of the room.

When I turned my eyes to the stage I beheld the eponymous Tomás Ford in an ill-fitting blonde wig and hi-vis tradie outfit. I didn’t recognise the song that was playing, but it did feel appropriately crap. I commenced a gentle sway, trying to affect an “I recognise this song, but am too cool to dance to it” attitude.

The words “hardest working man in showbiz” are thrown around a lot these days, but in all honesty, I can’t imagine it has ever applied to anyone more than it does to Tomás Ford. The sheer volume of energy that he brings to his on-stage persona is, to be honest, mind-boggling. Every song necessitated a costume change, a spontaneous dance performance, and impromptu sing-a-long from the audience.

When Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ started playing (because how could it not), we were instructed to drop to the floor, “Good job year sevens!” he declared, before creating a makeshift helicopter with his arms and leading us through a military evacuation from our sitting positions.

Tomas Ford's Crap Music Rave Party
Shot by Karen Lowe

Understandably the Macarena was played at some point. With minimum effort, Tomás had the entire room dancing, reminding us of the moves with delightful verbal cues. It felt like a spiritual experience of collective consciousness, for a room full of strangers to be united in choreography learned in primary school. Seeming to be testing us, at one point the music was turned off, and nearly 45 seconds later, when it returned we were all still completely synchronised. It turns out that this wasn’t at all planned, but that Tomás in his exuberance had accidentally knocked out the power and simply kept time by shouting “Hey Macarena” at random intervals.

Midway through the evening, when we were told to “Call your Review: Crap Music Rave Partymum, tell her your life is peaking” the dancefloor was well on its way to becoming a moshpit…at least I assume it was, having never seen one before. I have to admit though, one of the true stand-out moments of the night was the arrival of a trio of “professional” dancers who insisted on taking up a large section of the dancefloor so their friend could turn the spotlight on her phone and film their thoroughly mediocre performances. At least it helped to take any attention off my truly subpar efforts to dance.

True to my highest hopes, Crap Music made sure to feature a bevvy of pop starlets from the late 90s and early 00s as well as a few unexpected delights such as ABBA, Tubthumping, and some band that Tomás declared, “Someone asked for the good song from these guys, so I’m playing the crap one.” I may have only lasted two and half hours of pretending to know how to dance, but the atmosphere in the room was one of daggy community spirit. No one seemed to be there to judge anyone else, either on their appearance, their dancing skills, or their encyclopedic knowledge of lyrics to crap music.

Crap Music Rave Party is a thoroughly enjoyable event for the inner dag in all of us. You can leave your pretences at the door and spend an evening swaying, toe-tapping or downright dancing your heart out to music you thought you’d relegated to the bargain basement of your brain stem. It’s wholesome fun with a DJ who will make you feel like you can try harder to be biggest, dorkiest self.

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