In a season that has come to be defined by its top-tier DJ swaps, none has had Ibiza salivating quite like that of Marco Carola and Carl Cox. Why? For one, the Italian has, on the whole, shied away from the practice, more concerned with maintaining the buzz of exclusivity around his performances at his own Music On venture at Amnesia. Cox, meanwhile, is simply one of the most popular house and techno DJs in the world. As a result, following Carola's debut at Space back in July, the return leg at Amnesia on Friday night was lauded by many as the season's apex event.
A little after 2 AM, Amnesia was already fit to burst. The first couple of hours on the Terrace are often uncomfortable: you struggle to find a spot, and everyone appears more interested in running laps of the club rather than standing still and dancing. But Cox was able to sharpen the focus of the 5,000 or so revellers more than most. His set carried with it a more guttural thrust than usual, using the likes of Late Nite Tuff Guy's "I Get Deeper" to really work up the crowd. Moving from quintessential rave stabs through to African-inflected house, the ever-smiling jock closed with several rounds of thick, bleepy techno, his cries of "fantastic, fantastic Amnesia" resonating jubilantly around the room.
For the next couple of hours, Carola joined Cox in a back-to-back. Cox had won out last time at Space, treating the crowd to more upfront and better-received selections. On home turf, however, Carola levelled up, edging out Cox's more direct, banging approach with heavy doses of his swinging grooves. After a while, the two embraced and Cox sank into the background. What followed was another classic Carola performance, and easily the best set of the night. Nowhere on the island does a symbiosis between DJ and club exist quite as powerfully as in the early hours of Saturday morning at Music On. Dropping in samples from Coolio's "Gangstas Paradise," and closing with a full-frontal edit of Green Velvet's "La La Land" around 9 AM, Carola showed just why he's so happy to sit tight while his peers club-hop to their heart's content.