Friday nights in Ibiza are notoriously slow, and none more so than the Friday night of club-closing weekend. In direct competition with Privilege's 10,000-people-plus finale, and with Ushuaia, Amnesia, Space and DC-10 all shutting their doors in quick succession over the subsequent three days, Flying Circus couldn't have picked a more problematic date to call time on its debut season. Hoping to make use of Sankeys' two main rooms—a move that has repeatedly seen guests perform to paltry crowds—Audiofly invited Hector, Geddes, Lee Curtiss, Acid Pauli, Lee Burridge and special guest Anja Schneider to join them in seeing out the summer.
Unfortunately, numbers were low. While Geddes spun muscly, warm-up house to a lively Basement, it wasn't long before The Lab was struck from the agenda, with Hector, Schneider and Pauli relocated to the more intimate Spektrum. Taking over from Geddes, Lee Curtiss continued in the same vein, albeit inflecting his choices with more of a vocal lean. The Fog's "Been A Long Time," for example, made a significant splash. Next door, Hector was pushing things in deeper and dubbier directions, faced with a dishearteningly sparse floor. Anja Schneider, for reasons not made clear, never played, leaving the Desolat-affiliate more room to expound his tastes. His set, all things considering, was impressive, and worked well as a precursor to Lee Burridge's driving, druggy excursion in the Basement. Across the season, the music at Flying Circus has been good—great even—but the venture never quite learned to appreciate that less might actually be more.
For its wild, no-holds-barred climax to the season, Amnesia brought together several of the summer's most striking performers. Eats Everything, Maceo Plex and Steve Lawler would all spin, headed up none other than Ibiza's most in-form jock: Marco Carola. Matthias Tanzmann was the first of the big-name acts to step up, playing low-slung tech house to a packed and vibrant Terrace. At 6 AM Eats Everything, this year's surprise (but deserved) inclusion, took over, coming through with what was arguably the set of the evening. Kicking off with a slew of cavernous basslines, he soon moved towards deeper, more streamlined selections, showing the kind of progression that made him a favourite across the island in 2013, from Dirtybird to ENTER. The emotive flair of KINK's “Bitter Sweet” provided a particularly standout moment.
Steve Lawler followed, taking the Terrace through to daybreak with a barrage of upfront summer hits, including his and Detlef's edit of LNR's “Work It To The Bone” and Ninetoes' “Finder.” Solid enough from the VIVa boss, if a little risk-free. Here the party took a dip, with Mar-T, one of the Amnesia residents, hosting the 9-11 AM slot. As a warm-up DJ he has his merits, but his brash, mash-up style felt out of place at peak-time, paling in comparison to the sets either side of him. Eventually Maceo Plex assumed position in the booth. Despite going in too heavily on the filters, he rocked the room with a flurry of epic cuts: Jaydee's seminal “Plastic Dreams," the best of them. A further programming flaw saw the Terrace forced to endure an hour of tedious, grey-scale techno from Marc Antona before Marco Carola hit the decks. Following Antona's lead, the Music On man started harder than we've come to expect from him, slowly moving into his trademark swinging grooves. It wasn't the best Carola's played, but regardless he delivered the goods, keeping the weary hordes swaying until late on Sunday afternoon.
Stepping into Space soon after having departed the feral madness of Amnesia is as near to a culture shock as you'll get in Ibiza. Compared to the latter's grotty, gaudy interior, the Playa d'en Bossa mainstay feels polished, coming across all the more refined thanks to the fluorescent geo-dome stage erected in the car park. Unable to secure the services of Carl Cox at the opening, the stalwart made sure he was present for the end, seeing out the Ultra stage with a set of dynamic techno. Starting smooth, he soon delved into thick-set, warehouse grooves, putting the impeccable Funktion-One system through its paces. As sparklers glistened across the expanse, and confetti rained down from above, Cox dropped the Bobby Konders classic “Nervous Acid” to rallying cheers. As entertaining on the mic as ever, it was impossible to suppress a smile as you watched thousands of revellers get down to the veteran's feel-good vibes one last time.
Offering more bang for your back than any of the other finales, Space is more of a festival than a club closing. As you meander through its sprawling interior, you could catch disco sounds in El Salon, raucous commercial fare in the Sunset Terrace and a plethora of house and techno acts across the Terrazza and Discoteca. Josh Wink performed early in the latter, laying down punchy techno, before Guti put together an engaging live set comprised of the more musical, melodic side to his repertoire. At one point, amid all the prancing piano lines, the vox from his ubiquitous hit “Hope” reared its head. Over in the Terrazza, the mood was slightly less agile, with Shaun Reeves playing flat tech house to a busy, squirming floor. That aside, Space offered an easy, entertaining pit-stop before the carnage continued at DC-10 the following day. You were always able to dance without difficulty, and surrounded by a cool, relaxed audience.
In what proved a wily move, Circoloco pushed back the opening time of their fiesta from midday to 4 PM, extending the overall length by five hours. However, as rain poured down on the Garden, and early-birds were forced to dance to Richy Ahmed's opening set under cover of the Main Room, it looked to be a potentially slow start. And yet not long after, the showers cleared, making way for one of the most spectacular events in recent Ibiza history. A total of 35 DJs played across DC-10's three spaces, with Apollonia setting the tone for the first of two back-to-back sets from Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler via a steady flow of tough, upbeat house. Fusing dirty, driving selections (Ragga Twins, Miss Kittin & The Hacker's “Frank Sinatra”), a captivating laser show and some prime fancy-dress, the pair conveyed a real carnival vibe. As their set drew to an end, it was time to defect to the Terrace, where Kerri Chandler was edging into fifth gear.
Expecting the usual crush, I was surprised to find the Terrace spacious and the sound system the right side of booming. Tailoring his set to suit the visceral energy in the room, Chandler span angular cosmic techno to begin with, before indulging in a couple of piano-led monsters. Each record was as sublime as the next. A technical hitch meant there was a lengthy, awkward pause as Marco Carola took to the decks, making his eventual serving of muscular techno all the more well-received. Expertly crafted and collated, his set rollicked through the likes of Technasia's “I Am Somebody” and a rampant refix of Vanilla Ice's “Ice Ice Ice Baby." As Carola receded, I craved something a little harder, with less swing. In the Main Room, Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock seemed likely providers, with the latter arguably turning in the performance of the night. Anyone that keeps you throwing kung-fu-style shapes after 15 straight hours of dancing deserves at least some plaudits. Rarely too busy, more affordable than the other establishments and proffering a non-stop tide of fantastic music, DC-10 closing was far and away the best party of Ibiza 2013.
As you return home after DC-10, and begin engaging in some serious R&R, spending a full 24 hours in Sankeys is a somewhat unappealing prospect. Billed as a Roman-themed toga party, the UK-run club packed a sea of DJs across the venue's three rooms, keen to make the most of their enviable (or is it unenviable?) position as the last great party of the summer. Everyone from Âme and Andrea Oliva to DJ Sneak and Skream were booked, with headline appearances from several Sankeys regulars. Only managing to make it down for the final stint (the party was extended to 30 hours), it was only the Basement that remained open. A strong police presence in the area had meant that the Terrace was unable to host any music, so Darius Syrossian, Hector Couto, Steve Lawler and special guests Dan Ghenacia and Dyed Soundorom were told to take it to Sankeys' signature floor instead.
What was immediately striking was the attention to fancy-dress, or lack of. Few had made the effort, while the club set about decorating the Basement in an oddly premature Halloween get-up. The party itself, at the time under the guidance of a back-to-back set from Syrossian and Couto, was animated, especially considering its sizeable lifespan. Lawler, who couldn't make his set earlier in the day due to illness, arrived 30 minutes late, leading on from his fellow VIVa warrior with some fast, bass-heavy tracks. It was a sound that, by that point, didn't suit the system, with the low ends drowning out any accompanying elements. As a result, the vocals on Romanthony's “Let Me Show You Love” didn't have quite the impact they could have. Closing out the summer with a six-hour set would be Apollonia duo Dan Ghenacia and Dyed Soundorom, who were announced as special guests. Playing a little deeper and more subtle than Lawler, they soon had the speakers emitting a more balanced sound, before choosing to round off the marathon party with an foray into tribal and techier territory.
Amnesia - Amnesia Photo Team
Space - Space Photo Team
All others - Tasya Menaker