We close out the summer with a roundup of the remaining finales.
For everything you need to know about the island in 2014, take a look at our comprehensive Ibiza guide.
Marco Carola's big-money defection to Ushuaia was unquestionably the story of the closings. Over the course of five successive summers, the Music On chief has become the keystone of Amnesia's marathon finales, but with him out the picture, it was left to the San Rafael superclub to find a viable alternative. At first glance, the team appeared to have excelled, as the all-star cast of tINI, Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Eats Everything, Seth Troxler and Maceo Plex assembled for what looked set to be one of the best wrap-parties in years. Unfortunately, though, due to persistent sound issues, the event never quite lived up to expectations.
That said, things got off to a bright start with tINI in the Terrace. Mindful of the hours ahead, she interspersed big-room cuts from the likes of Head High with dubbier, moodier numbers. The same can't be said of Seth Troxler and Eats Everything. The duo shifted the party straight into fifth gear with three-hours of bass-heavy house and techno, dropping classics from Tim Deluxe and Daft Punk while their entourage dished out an array of party paraphernalia (green and blue hats, wigs, garlands). At this stage, the energy in the room was palpable. That, however, gradually receded. Quite what happened to the sound system was never made clear, but both Maceo Plex's two-hour throwdown and Villalobos and Luciano's closing back-to-back were lacking the necessary clarity and power. It proved a deflating end to what is typically such an explosive finish.
After an intense ten-hour shift inside Amnesia, Space closing feels, literally, like a breath of fresh air. Like Amnesia, the lineup looked, on paper, the healthiest it had done for years, as Richie Hawtin took to turning out razor-sharp techno on the outside Ultra-branded stage. True to tradition, Carl Cox followed, leading on from Hawtin with several of the summer's biggest techno tracks (among them, Alan Fitzpatrick's remix of Trus'me's "I Want You"). From there, he moved housier, bridging the gap with Kenny Larkin's remix of Radio Slave's "I Don't Need A Cure For This," before closing with two bona-fide Space classics: Dennis Ferrer's "Hey Hey" and Lil' Louis's "The Conversation." While volume issues meant the atmosphere outside wasn't at its usual heady peak, Cox's ever-infectious demeanour made sure spirits were still well above average.
When Space erects the Flight Club, as it did at the opening and at the 25th anniversary in July, there's a tendency for the party to lose steam once revellers are forced inside. Not this time, though. Despite being underpopulated, Terrazza sets from Visionquest and DJ Tennis dealt in a wicked brand of catchy, sleazy tech house, while John Talabot pushed the party in a more cerebral direction, tempering his inherent melancholia with warm grooves and sunshine synths. Elsewhere, Paul Reynolds was in his element in El Salon, dropping hit after hit to a packed and gyrating floor, and even Deep Dish, who were dire at the opening, looked more at home in the confines of the Discoteca. I can't claim to have been present at Cox and Nic Fanciulli's five-hour finale in the Terrazza, but as reports came through of revellers dancing on the bars until midday, I can only imagine that Space bowed out of its milestone season with fitting wild abandon.
Only at the opening and closing of DC-10 do you realise just how powerful a brand Circoloco is. With a lineup befitting of most festivals, punters find themselves in an adult's playground, with a dance music tuck-shop at its centre. This year the party resisted the urge to bring in any external headliners, relying instead on its unrivalled roster of residents. One of this summer's new additions, Kevin Yost, was the first to make an impression, guiding The Garden through sunset with his tight blend of rolling grooves, airy keys and dusky synths. In the Main Room, Jackmaster played early to a packed floor, dropping Luciano's edit of Lumidee's "Never Leave You" among other heavy-hitting numbers.
With The Martinez Brothers, Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler drawing the bulk of the crowd outside, both of the inside spaces were comparably roomy affairs. Ellen Allien, one of the summer's star performers, threw down a fantastic 90 minutes of feel-good, sultry house in the Terrace, winning the award for track-of-the-night with Mathew Jonson's "Typerope." Next door, though, curveball booking Morphosis sounded more than a little out of place, spinning difficult, fractured techno to a baffled audience. Back in the Terrace, Dixon closed out a set of orchestral, stormy techno with a flurry of Afro-house, with one record in particular, Culoe De Song's new single "Y.O.U.D.," sending the room into raptures. Moments later, I caught the eye of the man standing next to me. Exchanging smiles, he lent over, cupped his hands, and shouted two words in my ear: "good music!" Last year's DC-10 closing was the best party of the summer, and it's hard to think of anything that's topped the 2014 finale.
Next Wave closing at Sankeys
So epically draining is running the gauntlet of Amnesia, Space and DC-10 closings, it's hard not to feel that Monday's blowout at DC-10 should call time on the Ibiza season. More to the point, opening the doors to your season finale while the Circoloco afterparty is still in full swing sounds, at best, like a foolish idea. But then Next Wave is lucky enough to hold a relationship with Ricardo Villalobos, the kind of DJ that all but guarantees a packed dance floor. As has become custom over the years, the Chilean joined forces with Romanian trio a:rpia:r for an all-night back-to-back, held this time at Sankeys. True to form, The Lab was packed top-to-bottom from the moment I walked in to the moment I left.
Though there didn't seem to be any particular method to their approach (the club was so dark you could barely make out who was on the decks), the set moved cohesively through the gears. For the first couple of hours they kept the pace slow, leaning on warm, mellow grooves to ease the crowd in. Personally, at this stage, I didn't need easing in, so was pleased to find the night edging in a tougher, more propulsive direction come 2:30 AM. Across the next three hours, the ensemble explored various textures, subtly joining the dots between earthy, US-inspired deep house, sturdy techno and sizeable, classic grooves. It's been another season of ups and downs for Next Wave, and they'll still be looking for a time when the success of their parties doesn't depend on the popularity of one DJ. That aside, both the opening and closing parties rank amongst Ibiza's best this summer.
Since it opened in 2011, Sankeys closing has come to officially mark the end of the Ibiza season. The past two years have seen the club sign off in style, hosting 24-hour themed marathons that pull together the venue's top acts from across the summer. Kind of like an end-of-year school play. This year was no different, except the party was cut down to eight hours. With the likes of DJ Sneak, Duke Dumont and Darius Syrossian leading the charge, the club purposefully left plenty of room for a secret headliner or two. Despite rumours of Steve Lawler and Apollonia, they eventually settled on Andrea Oliva and a back-to-back set from Hector Couto and Cuartero. Whatever you make of the latter, you'll agree they're hardly headline material.
Regardless, the party more than held its own. In the course of its short history, Sankeys has grown intimate with its crowd and their tastes, and this finale was very much for them. Early on in The Basement, Tribal Sessions resident Sidney Charles span hefty, danceable house, drawing on one of the room's standout summer tracks: Phil Weeks's "It's The Inside That Counts." Upstairs, Andrea Oliva slowly built his floor with a medley of no-nonsense tech house, while back downstairs DJ Sneak strutted his way through cut after cut of his trademark jackin' sound. However, it was in the Spektrum, a room that's famously difficult to fill, where the party's top performance took place. Here, Hector Couto (Cuartero, for reasons unknown, was struck off the bill) played upfront throwback house, including Brawther's "Gem's Life." Keeping the atmosphere bubbling away nicely, the Spaniard did what Sankeys does best: no-frills, feel-good clubbing.
Amnesia - David Pareja
Space - Nel G Photography
Insane - Jordi Cervera
Privilege - Privilege photo team
Ushuaia - Roberto Castaño
Ibiza Rocks House - La Simal
All others - Tasya Menaker
For more information on what's happening on the island in 2014, check out our comprehensive Ibiza guide below.
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