The bass was pumping – hard. Bodies swaying, drinks flowing – this party on Auckland’s infamous K Road was definitely rocking. Oh, and I had to be at work in an hour.
This also probably requires a bit of an explanation. Despite what some people may think, my life isn’t always hedonistic misadventures filled with enough debauchery to make Dionysus blush. I had not been out all night doing God knows what, I hadn’t had a drop of any substances requiring valid government ID to purchase, and it had been a whole three weeks since I got any new tattoos. At this particular gathering, the drinks were coffee and juice, the munchies were fresh fruit, and more than a few people in the crowd were wearing suits.
Morning raves have been all the rage in places like New York, LA, Austin, Silicon Valley, London, Tel Aviv, Dubai and my previous home of Berlin (though in the latter it’s mainly because you’ve been out all night and most of the previous day already and might as well keep the party going, because when else are you going to get into Berghain?) for a while now. Allegedly, they help with concentration and give you a massive energy boost to get through several hours at the office, because you’re up at an insanely early hour doing something physical and sweating out any and all toxins you might have been storing up in your body.
But Auckland? Morning People are the City of Sails’ original morning rave aficionados. As their website proudly claims, they send guests “into the day with sparkly eyes and endorphins to burn every second Wednesday.” Boasting a rotating roster of top DJs, along with free-flowing Altezano Brothers coffee, organic fruit from Ooooby, side-of-dancefloor massages, and “big bass and ridiculous fun – all for (the frankly, very reasonable price of) $10,” I was sold not long after one of my actor flatmates added that he was a regular attendee. But there was the matter of getting up early enough to hit the dancefloor by 6.30am. Let it be known: I hate mornings.
— Ben Mack (@benmack_nz) December 13, 2016
My eyes were still half-shut as I rolled out of bed, threw on the clothes nearest to me and shambled into my flatmate’s car, affectionately dubbed the Silver Fox. I was too tired to know or not, but I was hoping I remembered to put on trousers. The streets were nearly empty. It was as if an occult hand had scooped all the traffic up and deposited it elsewhere as it pulled us along to our inevitable destination. By some miracle my flatmate found a parking spot without plowing into any of the cars in front of us or mowing over any pedestrians (seriously, what kind of masochist gets up early enough to actually jog before work?), and together we stumbled into the bowels of the St Kevins Arcade and into the Whammy Bar like two twentysomething white-collar zombies. There was no turning back now.
This was the last Morning People event of the year, and Auckland progressive electronica/hip-hop act Yoko-Zuna was playing a guest set. The place was packed, but I was still half-asleep. My flatmate handed me a banana and a piping hot coffee with cream and sugar, both of which I practically inhaled.
Turning around, a long, hard bass riff nearly knocked me clean off my feet. I don’t know if I’d ever woken up so instantaneously.
The next 90 minutes passed in a blur. Though there was no alcohol, the all-about-the-music vibe in a small venue was almost enough to fool me into thinking I was back in Berlin – though the fact everyone had their clothes on reminded me I was not. The crowd was from the proverbial all walks of life – young professionals, creatives, students, older people, and practically anyone and everyone else. While some people were in collared shirts and blouses and slacks, others wore workout gear and singlets. Playing a mix of their own stuff and Daft Punk covers, Yoko-Zuna’s set was solid.
The whole thing was definitely a lot more wholesome than what I was used to. No-one was doing cocaine on the bar – or anywhere really. Strangers were not asking if I wanted to “be their friend” as they made their way to the bathroom. Nary a pacifier, brightly-coloured pill, or pair of homo sapiens so itchy they need to cancel out that itch by rubbing vigourously against another person with a severe itch (otherwise known as grinding) was to be found. Uncovered genitalia was not waved in a general direction. In all, it was like a really intense workout, but with music exponentially better than listening to Taylor Swift talking about shaking it off (sorry, all you Swifties, but not sorry).
I was disappointed when the music came to a sudden end. My flatmate was kind enough to explain why: “Alright, dude, time to go to work!”
Thank God I was able to shower beforehand.
Addendum: The author of this story can report that he did feel higher levels of energy throughout the workday. Whether or not that was from the dancing or ingesting enough coffee to kill a horse, however, is a matter of debate.