I’ll start by saying that Ben Pearce is one of the best underground house DJs I’ve seen in a very long time.
The UK producer made his Australian debut at Melbourne’s New Guernica on Friday, February 7. As a mate and I entered the venue, we were greeted by a delicious deep, minimalist house remix of Steve Angello and Laidback Luke‘s 2009 dance floor hit ‘Show Me Love.’
The support did an excellent job of whipping the crowd into a hot and sweaty mess, although a not too difficult task considering Melbourne’s current weather. Soon emerged the man himself. I have grinded and slut-dropped countless times to Ben Pearce‘s oddly anthemic deep house track, ‘What I Might Do.’ The combination of smooth vocals, soulful melodies and screaming synths has made huge contributions to his success, both in the underground scene and mainstream.
As punters kept piling in, I was surprised by the amount of nonchalant, selfie-taking, straight white kids. I had thought that Pearce’s production would have attracted a much more diverse crowd – one of homosexual tendency. Why? Deep house along with other dance music genres were fostered in gay discos and thus have firm roots planted in the queer scene. Arguably, it was the result of gay taste-makers and overall LGBTI community support that kickstarted the success of ‘What I Might Do’ and Ben Pearce.
It should be noted that the gay community has a greater appreciation for the dance floor and treats it as hallowed ground, respecting the space and the people on it. In my opinion, Pearce’s talent was wasted on the teenage girls clearing areas on the dance floor for poorly lit group photos, and the incredibly drunk lads only interested in finger-bashing said selfie-takers. For me, a gay venue/club night would have made more sense.
Although the overall experience wasn’t a positive one, Ben Pearce himself was exquisite and effortless. He’ll be soon recognised as one of the modern underground house greats.
Ben Pearce: ★★★★★
Take a listen to Ben Pearce’s latest EP, Lego.