We round up a host of parties as the season starts to wind down.
Luciano and Richie Hawtin
Luciano. He's possibly one of the most difficult big name artists out there to classify these days. Is he techno? Kind of. Is he underground? Not compared to someone like Seth Troxler or Richie Hawtin. But is he commercial? Well, he certainly isn't Tiesto or David Guetta. That's why it was a bit of a shock when it was announced that he would be playing side-by-side with Richie Hawtin at both Ushuaia and ENTER on Thursday of last week. Would Luciano play like he did in his DC-10 days, keeping things edgy and unique, or would he keep it light and easy like he does now?
After good hour-long wait in the queue, we finally made our way into a totally packed Ushuaia, heading to the back to get a full view of the action. Luciano was absolutely banging it out, keeping the tempo and energy high with rolling basslines, bongos and funky drums. So far, so good. Next it was Richie's turn. Though a bit deeper than Luciano, he kept things pumping, putting the high pass filter to good use to add tension to tracks like Dubfire's remix of Plastikman's "Spastik." But as entertaining as it was, something still felt just a bit off. The duo didn't quite seem to have a consistent groove yet. As one clubgoer remarked, it was kind of strange to see Richie in such a large, posh, open-air venue like Ushuaia, and I had to agree. Nonetheless, the two seemed to be having a fantastic time, hugging, laughing and high-fiving as the confetti cannons covered the crowd with black dots and pink rectangles, plugging their respective nights at Space and Pacha.
Over at ENTER. things were much the same with the two, though the crowd's energy levels were most certainly higher. Richie picked it up with tracks like Spektre's blazing remix of Alex Di Stefano's "Ride the River" and the Belocca's funky and energetic "Way Of Thinking," and the two of them started to really groove off each other. It was around 4 or 5 AM when it seemed that Luciano had finally fallen back into the swing of things. By the end, it had me wishing I could hop in a time machine and head back to the old days at DC-10.
ElRow finished its season on Saturday, with a bouncy tech house lineup that fit the vibe of the party perfectly. When we last visited for the opening party, I was not only surprised by how chaotic the scene was, with inflatable swimming pool toys and drooling clowns, but at the seeming randomness of the lineup. (As I've come to learn, ElRow really isn't so much about keeping a certain musical theme.) For the closing party, however, the lineup and vibe couldn't have been more consistent. Musically, one could hardly notice when Sebastian Leger finished and Oscar Aguilera began. The same went for Joseph Capriati and Raul Mezcolanza. Their upbeat, snappy tech house and techno flowed together perfectly, each breakdown seemingly more complex and energetic than the last.
Per usual, the atmosphere was wild. Confetti blasted everywhere, performers bounded about and when the sun started coming up, it was obvious that you weren't just at any party on the island. Just before closing, I noticed an acrid odor, which turned out to be a small fire, possibly started by an errant cigarette dropped on the confetti-filled floor. Somehow it seemed in keeping with the over-the-top vibe.
Mambo In The Mix
In one of the more heartwarming things I've seen on the island this summer, Café Mambo held a charity event this week in support of the Red Cross called Mambo In The Mix. The general idea was to use the pulling power of DJs serving drinks and cooking hot dogs to generate donations, starting at 10€ a pop. As anyone that has visited a charity event can tell you, things can sometimes feel a bit cheep and plastic. That wasn't the case here. Seth Troxler and Jamie Jones crafted sexual innuendos while putting together hot dogs, and sang along to Florence and the Machine while Armin Van Buuren served drinks with a smile.
The high point in my opinion was giving punters the option to pitch in a 20€ donation to DJ a track in the legendary booth at Mambo. I couldn't imagine a better way to cap off a holiday than being able to tell your friends you not only got served a drink by Guti (who worked like a maniac behind the bar, by the way), but then got to play Armand Van Helden's "U Don't Know Me" as the host of the party and original lyricist for the track, Duane Harden, sang along.
Carl Cox closing
After Mambo, we headed over to Space for the closing of Carl Cox's The Revolution Recruits, and the good vibes persisted. It was one of the biggest nights that Space has ever done (close to 10,000 people), and it certainly felt like there was a sense of occasion. The owner of the club, Pepe Rosello, was making the rounds, handing out drink tickets to anyone who seemed like they were having a great night.
Loco Dice and Cox played back-to-back to finish the night out, and it couldn't have made for a better cap to Revolution's season. Fun, upbeat and underground for the majority of the set, the packed house smiled wide and kept their hands up. Rumor has it that the police showed up at 6:30 AM to shut things down, but the club kept going until 8:30 AM and simply ate the fine. You got the sense they made the right choice when the two started playing classics like Inner City's "Big Fun" or Joe Smooth's "Promised Land" to finish the night out. If you didn't have goose bumps, I don't think you were paying attention.
ViVA Warriors closing
With a dedicated crowd of both a young, post-Channel Zoo crowd and Steve Lawler's older, dedicated fanbase, ViVA Warriors has kept things packed and pumping throughout their first season at Sankeys. Unlike most other label showcase nights on the island, Lawler puts himself on before the guest DJ, giving them the closing slot, which has made for some very memorable experiences. (Watching Kevin Saunderson absolutely blast the roof off until sunrise earlier in the season is a prime example.)
For part two of their closing party, things didn't disappoint. ViVA right hand man Darius Syrossian kicked things off with his brand of classic, '90s-style house, including tracks like his remix of Hector Couto's "Creampie." Lawler kept it grooving and bouncy with his signature tech house style, and Butch closed things out with surprisingly driving techno. It couldn't have worked better, as the floor stayed packed and happy till close—a fantastic end to a strong first season.