When good weather kicks in, Berliners seem to have little trouble rising early and heading out to make the most of it, and this was no exception. With a 10 AM start time, and a dedicated shuttle bus ferrying people to and from the venue, the beach filled quickly, although the expansive dance floor took longer to really get going. While the sun was out, many people seemed more content to work on their tans than their dance moves, which was a shame, particularly seeing as there seemed to be no running order behind the decks. Ricardo and Zip took turns to spin a few tracks each, and with most oblivious to the fact they were both on so early, this warm-up set offered a rare chance to see Villalobos without having to share him with a few thousand other people.
Photo credit: Chelsea Faith
Presumably, this wasn't normal for Villalobos either and although he seemed to be enjoying himself, he looked as bemused as I was to see so few people dancing, a fact mirrored by a soporific but delightfully off-kilter set. After retiring for a bratwurst and a dip in the lake, we were lured back by the sounds of Thomas Melchior. Unlike Pronsato before him, Melchior jumped right in at the deep end, playing hard and fast with an aggressive track selection, coupled with an obscene rave horn sample dropped in at will throughout his set that somehow worked amazingly well.
Wearing a rude bwoy gold chain and wizard's hat, he galvanised the crowd, which by the set's end was baying for more. As the sun set, Ricardo stepped up for a back-to-back set with Fumiya Tanaka that adhered to the aggressive tone set by Melchior, but paired it with generous lashings of funk. It was great to see "Baile" so well received by the bronzed and boozed crowd who descended into an ad lib sing-along. It wasn't the cheapest day out, as exemplified by the glitzy-for-Berlin crowd, but not exorbitant, and the cost was more than offset by Stadtstrandfluss' ability to cover all the bases.