We conclude this year's column at Amnesia, Space, DC-10 and Sankeys.
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It seemed as though every party on the island extended for a week this year, and almost all the major clubs stayed open a week longer. But did all the extra partying wear everyone out? Not really. The closing parties were still wild. At one point Marco Carola was forced to make a one-handed catch of an errant, silver cowboy hat headed directly for his face at Amnesia. And for the first time in several years, we weren't squeezed in like sardines; something no one can argue is a bad thing.
Though he's best known for playing at Space, this year Steve Lawler chose the Amnesia terrace instead. It couldn't have worked better. Lawler's slightly darker, deeper style in The Basement at Sankeys is great, but I was excited to see what he would do in the big room. Upbeat, and jacking, he kept the energy up from start to finish with tracks like Skylark's remix of "Westworld," one he's been rinsing all summer long. After Lawler, crowd favorite Marco Carola was on, and he slammed home dubbed-out bombs like Chris Wood & Meat's "Triple S" and an edited version of Stefano Noferini's "Koro Koro," only letting the saxophone riff come in and out at his command.
Possibly having learned a lesson from Music On closing with "You Spin Me Round," towards the end of the night he dropped in INXS's "Need You Tonight," bringing the room to a complete fever pitch. I've only seen Amnesia tear itself apart that hard one or two other times this season. After he finally wrapped up at around 6 PM, several in the audience began to chant "Music On!" over and over, reminding us why he was picked to finish the season off.
Photos: Amnesia closing
Unlike Amnesia, when we first arrived at Space, the inside seemed like a slow night in June, so we headed to the car park where the action was taking place. And though not as full as the opening, the chance to see Carl Cox do his thing in an outdoor, festival-like arena in early October is something special. Dubfire and Carlo Lio were already at work, performing a massive techno set, with giant Matrix-like visuals flashing behind them. The two kept things dark, dirty and bass-heavy early on, picking up the energy mid-set with tracks like Agent!, Vito and Danito's "Dopeman," and heading back to deep and twisted territory later with tracks like Ovi M's "Point of No Return."
Cox was up next, and predictably brought the car park to its knees, with wild screams echoing out of all corners of the place. Cox kept the dark techno vibes rolling along with tracks like Hollen's "Crossroads" as he urged the crowd on with his trademark "oh yes, oh yes!" I couldn't help but get a bit emotional every time he said that, realizing I may not hear his voice again for some time. Later he headed into house territory with the piano-laden, Salsa-tinged groove "Transformation" of Tim Deluxe, then traveled back into techno towards the end of his set with Paco Osuna's "Transheet." Needless to say, Cox was on form.
Once the car park closed, things picked up in the club. Over in the terrace, Joris Voorn and Nic Fanciulli kept things bouncy and fun for most of the night, throwing in classics like Lil Louis' "French Kiss." In the discoteca, Richie Hawtin played a rare closing set at Space after a fantastic season at the club with ENTER. He weaved his way through more minimal grooves than I've seen most of the season, with rolling bass and tripped out synths, a la fASTER's "Fatima," Fabio Florido's "Dipendence," and BaAus' "Bombolone."
Photos: Space closing
One party that wasn't lacking in attendance or energy was DC-10, which saw the garden totally rammed by early evening. Though the club has a reputation for being the most overcrowded opening and closing party spot on the island, this year things were just about perfect in the terrace and main room, though the garden got to be a bit much from time to time. Early on, however, Soul Clap kept things relaxed and grooving out in the garden with tracks like "Lost In Music" by Sister Sledge as clubbers laughed, bobbed and got in the mood. Over in the terrace, those who were already in the mood held up inflatable planes, while others wore neon clown wigs and red clown noses as Andrew Grant and Sossa played tracks like Markus Homm's "Take Off" and Lomez's "Real People" to get things going. One girl even brought a homemade sign that read "God Save This Club," which Andrew took from her to hang on the DJ booth, where it stayed almost the entire night.
Later on The Martinez Brothers got the terrace absolutely jacking, playing tunes like their own twisted house bomb "H 2 Da Izzo." Over in the garden, Seth Troxler kept it melodic and groovy, fitting the warm festival vibe out there perfectly. Closing the night out in the terrace was Maceo Plex, smashing the place with what I've seen as somewhat of a DC-10 anthem this year, Barnt's "Geffen." And just before him, Derrick May absolutely rocked the main room with the disco treat "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer. Crosstown Rebels boss Damian Lazarus finished off the night with tunes like the forthcoming Claude VonStroke remix of Infinity Ink's "Infinity" to a still-packed house as Claude himself celebrated the night behind him, clearly enjoying the end of a great season.
Photos: DC-10 closing
Just hours later (or what felt like it), we headed over to the first part of the Sankeys closing party. This year they threw down the gauntlet with 24, a 24-hour fiesta split into two 12-hour parties with 24 DJs in total. The big news was that Danny Tenaglia made a special appearance, and though the place wasn't quite as packed as I've seen it earlier on in the season, the crowd was ready and up for it. Tenaglia kept things upbeat and pumping throughout. The roof terrace, meanwhile, gave you the chance to plop down on a couch and watch the iconic raver film Human Traffic on a projector screen. (Shouts of "Nice one bruva!" echoed from around the roof.) Part two took a while to get going, and though it didn't quite reach part one levels, the ability to watch DJ Sneak and Cajmere in such an intimate setting was an experience unto itself. Despite most of the clubbing tourists having gone home for the winter, it rounded out the season nicely.
Photos: Sankeys closing