Review: Hot Dub Time Machine at the Forum Theatre, Melbourne, 13 July 2018
Billed as the Best Party Ever, Hot Dub Time Machine rolled back into Melbourne’s Forum Theatre on Friday night for the first time in too long. It’s been a while between drinks for Tom Loud, the brains and body behind Hot Dub, and when he hasn’t been performing at festivals from Adelaide to Edinburgh, he’s been steadily expanding his presence back home with the hugely successful Hot Dub Wine Machine series and Sydney’s NYE In The Park. And while these events are no doubt highly enjoyable, they just don’t compare to the full Hot Dub experience – an experience that always exceeds expectations.
The Hot Dub Time Machine proper – that is, the two-and-a-half-hour experience – is the ultimate in time-travellin’ tunes and both the Hot Dub faithful and the first-timers were primed for a night of fun. Paces played support and put the crowd through their paces, appropriately, before a giant clock behind the stage counted down to lift off. Moments later, we were in 1954, Rockin’ Around the Clock with a crowd of punters that were born 45 years after Bill Haley & His Comets first had dance floors heaving.
The crowd twisted, shouted, bumped and ground their way through both the evening and the decades. For those not familiar with Hot Dub, the DJ works through his favourite songs from every year beginning, in this case, in 1954 and continuing to 2018. He’s supported by a range of visual effects including Lu Lu Loud – his wife – who captains the time machine from a giant screen behind the decks. Banger after banger is laid down and whether you’re Crazy in Love, Jumping Around, Livin’ on a Prayer or just Like a Prayer, one thing’s for certain: you’re dancing.
After eight years of time travel, Hot Dub knows how to get a crowd going. Giant red balloons dropped from the Forum’s ceiling during Nena’s ‘99 Red Balloons’ and sent the crowd into a frenzy, but it’s perhaps Hot Dub’s more subtle moments that make the biggest impression. Take, for example, his song choice for 2017, a year in which Ed Sheeran dominated and ‘Despacito’ just refused to die. Forget the big names: the evening’s penultimate song was ‘Marryuna’ from Indigenous artist Baker Boy, which came in at #17 on last year’s Hottest 100 countdown and judging by the crowd’s initial reaction, has not had the same reach as, say, ‘Shape of You’.
Hot Dub is a vocal advocate for what really is a phenomenal Aussie music scene. His commitment to featuring Australian artists, particularly in the back-end of his set, is commendable and it’s the little things, like exposing a sold-out Forum Theatre to the prodigious talents of Baker Boy, that help not only to build a strong industry, but to also throw the Best Party Ever.