Ninajirachi was homecoming queen at Dark Crystal III

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Ninajirachi was homecoming queen at Dark Crystal III

Photo: Edward Schlaghecke
words by kaya martin

I'll be honest, as much as I love my girl Nina, I didn't think I was going to make it through Dark Crystal III.

After a long, chilly week at work and a few mulled wines on the comfy couches of Fifty-Five, my friend and I were seriously doubting our ability to make it through hours of intense EDM.

We missed the openers – our loss, as the lineup was well and truly stacked – but we gathered our strength, shotgunned Redbulls from the 7/11 and went forth down the stairs into Max Watts.

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“Where is she?” my friend asked, as we weaved our way through the party-people. The room was packed tight with everyone from Millenial acid heads to piercing-studding, fishnetted Gen Z ravers, but the stage was empty. Then I caught a glimpse of her signature red hair.

“Down there!” I pointed to a spot in the crowd, where a set of decks sat in the middle of the action. When Nina jumped, the crowd jumped. When she waved her hands in the air, so did we.

Tracks from her freshly-released EP Girl EDM shone especially bright, with hard-hitting kicks, candy-coated melodies and a BPM so quick fans hard to jerk around like maniacs to dance to it. Despite our chilled vibes, we were quickly caught up in the fervour – it was a treat to see such a dedicated group of fans.


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From the layout of the stage to the little shoutouts she did between tracks, Nina’s sweet, welcoming radiated out from behind the decks. As well as being filled front to back with straight-up bangers, her set was teeming with positivity, and in this day and age, we could all use a bit more of that.

It was clear she was enjoying herself as well, claiming this was one of her favourite shows ever before handing over the decks to New York producer, singer-songwriter and DJ Doss. As a long-time Doss fan, it was disappointing to see the crowd thin out for her set.

Perhaps it was due to the lateness of the hour or the more leisurely BMP she opened with. Nonetheless, the group that remained was sparse but dedicated. She spent most of the set with her head down, focused on the task at hand, which she did with meticulous precision.

Each track was expertly mixed, peppered with trap and retro pop samples. Beside us in the crowd, Nina bobbed along to the music, thanking fans who came up to congratulate her.

Doss’ recent remix of Caroline Polachek’s Bunny Is A Rider received an excited “woo”. Hearing it live made me realise Doss is uniquely good at remixing tracks in such a way that the spirit of the original remains, even though the song is almost a completely new animal.

Doss never rests on the laurels of the OG song, instead crafting her own hooks and melodies that don’t just compliment the song, but transform it. That’s DJing, baby!

When the set was over, Doss walked off without a word and the lights came on. Sweating, gulping down water, spilling out on the street with cigarettes tucked behind their ears, the crowd was satiated. Can’t wait for Dark Crystal IIII!

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