This week, we take a look at the after hours scene and review Paul Kalkbrenner's live show.
Among the many changes that have taken place this summer, one we haven't talked about much is the more tolerant atmosphere regarding after parties. When we spoke to Cocoon's Johannes Goller last week, he mentioned a few beachfront locations that have allowed for events beginning before the 4:30 PM start-time rule, enacted in 2008. While the rule generally applies to nightclubs, the advent of beach venues has given parties a place to keep the show going from about noon on, usually ending at around midnight.
One of these new beach locations is La Sal Rossa, where Cocoon's after party (and Loco Dice's birthday party) took place this Tuesday. The party kicked off around 11 AM with Dice, and when we got there at about 4:30, Ricardo Villalobos and Alexkid were going strong. What struck me most was the intimate nature of the show, no doubt provided by the smaller venue, something unique to after parties. I cut through the crowd on the floor and found a spot to dance on the left of the booth, and immediately noticed Sven Vath reveling in the adoration of his many friends and fans, dancing and hugging them just a few feet away.
Dancing right next to me were tINI and the gang, grooving along and promoting her new free Wednesday party at Sirocco beach. Later I headed to the bar to see a friend, and one of the Martinez Brothers drifted by, looking like he was fully feeling the Cocoon spirit. Finally we saw the birthday man himself, rocking out to the right of the booth with sunglasses on, clearly enjoying the day.
Source: Cocoon Facebook
All I could think was, "where else can you party this close to some of the best techno artists in the world for free?" And forget about over-priced club drinks. Here you can bring your own vodka combo shooter and hang out just outside the dance floor, relaxing with your friends in the sand while enjoying the music and sun. That's not to say that a beer there will empty your wallet though—they're only 5€.
Aside from La Sal, places like La Plage de L'elephant, more commonly known as La Plage, also throw free after parties on the beach. Located just down the beach from La Sal, La Plage offers a more open-air, but less casual experience than La Sal. It has a second floor restaurant and balcony, and even while on the dance floor downstairs—with its high roof and wide entryway—you never feel like you're far away from the beach. However, once off the dance floor, clean white beds and chairs extend several meters onto the sand, making it difficult to bring your own drinks and enjoy the music.
The parties aren't always at places like La Sal and La Plage. Cocoon, the biggest after party institution, used to change its locations from week to week, going from villa to villa, even using restaurants La Escollera in Es Cavallet and Sirocco in Playa d'en Bossa to keep things fresh and intimate. These days villas are still used, but unlike organized beachfront bars, they're reserved for people in the know—friends of friends or people with wristbands. This year, whispers have been floating around about a few Australians who have a lavish estate somewhere on the island and enjoy throwing a post-fiesta fiesta now and again.
Source: Richie Hawtin Facebook
This being a beautiful island with perfect weather, secret beach locations get the after party treatment too. Aside from natural beauty, the fact that they aren't in highly accessible locations means that even if your average punter gets wind of the location, without transport, it's unlikely they'll make it out. Places like the stunning yet remote beachfront restaurant PK 2 in S'Estanyol, Toro Mar in Salinas or any random cove in San Miguel have been privy to after parties like the one for Richie Hawtin's ENTER. last week. Boat parties are an option as well: Marco Loco's 80 passenger Passion Cat sets sail on Friday mornings around 7:30 AM, making for a few wild post-Space hours at sea.
Aside from exclusivity, natural beauty or simply being able to keep the party going at a great little location on the beach, there's one final thing that makes after parties special—familiarity. Since it's the same crews heading to the same parties every week, after DC-10 and Cocoon on Monday and ENTER. or Paradise on Thursday, the same crowds wind up making Tuesday and Friday mornings the days to keep things moving. Unlike Cream or Guetta, underground parties are much more likely to attract those who want to keep things going all night and into the next day, fostering a community of like-minded clubbers who simply aren't content with calling it quits just because the discos shut their doors.
Paul Kalkbrenner at Ushuaia
German superstar Paul Kalkbrenner took over Ushuaia last Friday as part of Sasha's Never Say Never party, in what was arguably the strongest turnout for the night yet. Sasha was looking more comfortable on the massive stage than he has all summer, clearly enjoying himself and the elated crowd, and it reflected in his energetic set, which included classics like Slam's "Eterna."
The main event for the night, however, was Kalkbrenner. As soon as he took to the stage, the dance floor took on a festival-like atmosphere, with bodies pressing up against the barriers in order to get closer to their hero. Cameras were up, as the German producer smoothly made his way through trademark grooves like the bass-heavy yet melodic "Kleines Bubu," "Sky and Sand" and a euphoric rendition of "Aaron."
Before he left the stage, he couldn't help but jump out from behind his setup to high-five the loyal fans in front. By this point we had moved behind Ushuaia's giant amphitheater to cool off, when suddenly I was knocked a good few feet back by an envoy of handlers surrounding Kalkbrenner, escorting him from the stage at top speed. I couldn't help but wonder if it was really necessary, but after the success of his film and music, who knows?
Photos: Paul Kalkbrenner at Ushuaia
The week in pictures
Apollonia Showcase at DC-10
Dan Ghenacia, Dyed Soundorom and Shonky took over DC-10 last Wednesday for their very first label night on the island.
ENTER. at Space
One of the delights of Richie Hawtin's new nights at Space is seeing how his team transforms the venue each Thursday.
We Love... at Space
The Sunday institution helped bring in Space's 23rd birthday in typically festive fashion.
Circoloco at DC-10
Willie Graff is among the many underrated jocks who keeps the party going at DC-10 week after week.
Cocoon at Amnesia
Alexkid played live on the terrace in between two giants of house: Loco Dice and Ricardo Villalobos.