My love for Calvin Harris became deep founded when I saw him perform to a packed Boiler Room at Big Day Out a few years ago. His live set was the highlight of the day and his vocals and interactions with the crowd made for an unforgettable festival performance. Calvin then continued to impress me with his set at last year’s Foreshore festival, which was one of the more memorable acts of the day. So I had high expectations for Calvin’s DJ set at Academy Nightclub on Saturday night and happily the king of electro pop did not disappoint, getting the whole crowd moving with the power of disco.

Like the last two Alliance @ Academy events, this was a sold-out affair. The night was a nice change up from Academy’s regular Trash Thursdays and RnB Heats and provided a much-needed dose of fun for the venue. With recent performances from the likes of Flo Rida and Havana Brown, Academy’s ability to draw big name acts like Calvin Harris is certainly on the up.

A long line formed outside Academy as people eagerly awaited the chance to get their hands on the last few tickets. The lines into the event for pre-sale ticket holders moved quickly, which meant no waiting outside in the Canberra cold (which may I point out should not exist in January).

Once inside however, waiting was just part of the night. Lines to the bathrooms and the bars were long, as was the wait for Calvin to appear; he didn’t grace the stage until well after 1am. However UK producer Burns distracted the expectant crowds, keeping them dancing with his upbeat set of synth and electro tunes.

Calvin’s appearance was met with a deafening roar from disco and electro lovers who were well and truly ready to dance along to his huge anthems like Bounce, Not Alone, You Use to Hold Me and Acceptable in the 80’s. The mosh madness in front of the stage surged back and forth as people packed into the downstairs dance-floor to get close to Calvin. The set featured Calvin’s collaboration with Dizzee Rascal on Holiday as well as his hit song with Rihanna, We Found Love.

The venue emptied out immediately after Calvin’s set ended, making me pity the Alliance @ Academy DJ Search winners XOXO, who played their 3am set to the dregs of dancing bodies that remained. I left with a noticeable limp, my feet crushed by the gangs of girls in killer heels who had stomped through the crowds, breaking toes as they did their best disco-diva dances. But if seeing killer DJ sets like Calvin’s means running the risk of becoming a cripple then so be it. Sometimes great disco requires great sacrifices. Like a toe or two.

Photography by Photox – Ben Appleton