Having been relatively slow in discovering the highly-charged techno onslaught that is Cocoon, I've been amazed by the freakishly loyal following that the crew has managed to amass from their futuristic Ibizan hub, Amnesia. Having had my Cocoon virginity snatched from me at that very club one year ago, I can't imagine how I'd feel if I'd been around to witness the previous eight too. I also didn't imagine that—in a summer in which I'm too skint to visit the white isle to witness the tenth anniversary celebration of Cocoon—my neighbouring city, Leeds, would manage to bag a date with this very night, and set it in none other than the glorious 16th century grounds of Temple Newsam.
Credit to promoters System for choosing this apt setting for their summer shindig. However, with the main stage facing up a hill and the festival area only reaching part way up it, it seems that many a wily Yorkshire man and woman anticipated the opportunity of a free day out, and so a fair few deck chairs and Stella six packs had settled just beyond the fences for a view of the proceedings.
Photo credit: Nik Torrens
Having missed Steve Bug on several previous occasions, I had been looking forward to seeing the Poker Flat boss flaunt his stuff in a big open air setting, but my joy was short lived as he was superseded by Luciano far sooner than I'd expected. Not that I could complain. The sheer ferocity of grooves unleashed by the Chilean maestro kept the swelling crowd bouncing, and they lapped up every second of it. With saxophones-a-plenty and the Balearic-tinged beats seeping in, this was the perfect complement to a sweltering summer evening where the rain was teasing but just not quite ready to drop.
Actually that metaphor could just as easily be used to describe Sven's set on the night. Taking the reins of the Cocoon monster in his more-than-capable hands, he wrestled and teased his drawn-out mixes into submission, only unleashing them when the crowd was on the verge of pure ecstasy. Epic techno filled with huge builds and bass cuts were just the start, the next move being a tech-house showcase that included Reboot's "Ronson" and Anthea and Cellar's twinkle-eyed anthem "Caedmon Loop" amongst other bangers. Approaching curfew and, with the recent death of Michael Jackson having being the hot topic on everyone's lips, it only seemed fitting that the Cocoon tribute was an extended version of "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough," a funky nod to the long-serving pop icon.
Photo credit: Nik Torrens
With rain now falling as a sober reminder that we were in fact a long way from Amnesia and the rest of Ibiza, I joined the rest of the Leeds crowd in trudging back down to the entrance. The late downpour aside, the Cocoon posse had transformed Temple Newsam into a chunk of the white isle, bringing a party spirit unrivalled by any I'd ever experienced and giving the North a fitting reward for their dedication to all things techno.