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Max Graham, Sandra Collins, Matt Darey @ Buzz
by Raven: 04-12-2002

Buzz boasted a stellar lineup for this Tranceport vs. Transport party, with some heavy guns and a veteran producer on his way to making a comeback. However, signs that things may go awry began when the evening started off with the announcement that one of the headlining DJ’s, Matt Darey, has cancelled due to an illness.

To the chants of the crowd, Canada’s much toted boy wonder, Max Graham along with his good mate, Sandra Collins, took to the decks at Buzz for a decently full house. Turning the decks, almost theatrically, like a valve wheel to release the flow, Max unleashed a never-ending barrage of beat-driven, tenacious tribal house. But what promised to be a night to remember soon diminished into an evening with Max’s ego. Basically, his set was weak – but he seemed to enjoy it. After a strong showing for the first 15 minutes, it became apparent that the song would remain the same. He overindulged himself in his signature gimmicky expressions that are undoubtedly rehearsed. The tell-tale acts include the evil grin and hand rub, the innocent shrug, the pondering look, the wink and winning smile. He seemed more akin to a performer than a DJ. Still, there is no doubt that his skills behind the decks are second to none. The man is a true turntable genius and he has no problem showing off his abilities by tweaking, teasing, scratching, fading tracks in a manner that is second nature to him.

Noticeably absent were Graham’s signature melodic breakdowns and emotive passages. In their place was an endless flurry of repetitive loops driven by a relentless, gut-wrenching kick, that kept the young ones in a frenzy, but left the rest of us unimpressed. Except for a tongue-in-cheek insertion of his own remix of Barakka’s “Song to the Siren”, and his own smash “Airtight”, there were no real surprises or magic moments to speak of. Unfortunately, it was a long ride on an uneventful journey. Sandra Collins followed suit and did better in the opening half-hour of her set, but quickly drifted into an unimaginative funk that left plenty to be desired.

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