There’s nothing quite like a free party. Without the stress of having to have as much fun as you paid for and then some, the mood of all present yesterday evening was noticeably rosy at this large-scale gratis event provided by Radio 1.
Broadcasting kicked off at 8pm with DJ Fresh providing the beats and Annie Mac hosting. Fresh rolled out an eclectic mix of crowd-pleasers whilst the sun was still high, including the Tetris theme remixed, Pendulum’s Island pt 1 and a nod to the legends still to come with Groove Armada's Superstylin'. Whilst waiting for the next act Annie Mac had the crowd bouncing in unison to the left and right like eager land-salmon… we’ll really do anything we’re told, won’t we?
Next to the stage was performer Iggy Azalea, a gorgeous tall, blonde Lara Croft type, who I assumed would be singing in silvery tones about how much she loves her man or the music. . . I was super wrong. Booming through the speakers came the old electro staples syncopated siren and manic mosquito, over which Azaela aggressively spat out rhymes whilst whipping her plait around threateningly, performing what I discovered was her single ‘Beat Down’ in collaboration with the infamous Steve Aoki.
Continuing with the electro theme, Redlight took the reigns for a few songs, accompanied by an amiable but superfluous MC. Firm, bouncing bass lines were the theme and Redlight had everyone dancing as he aired a brand new single called Lost In Your Love. At this point I spied a hilarious little encounter with a slightly-to-extremely ‘jolly’ male reveller, insistently trying to get an Ushuaïa bouncer to dance with him. Respect to the bouncer for not accidentally-on-purpose kicking him in the pool - your patience is infinite.
As the sun went down over Ibiza (an event eagerly publicised by Annie Mac to those unfortunate creatures she called ‘listeners at home’) the beats strayed more towards my territory, the next act, Disclosure, being one of the highlights of my night. Disclosure’s laid-back two-step garage has a distinctly English feel – which struck a chord with what was a predominantly British crowd, after all. Though incredibly mellow in timbre, the syncopated rhythms these London lads threw down were perfect for dancing. Their final song was a remix of Jessie Ware’s ‘Running’ for which Miss Ware herself emerged on stage to provide some top quality live vocals.
Living legends Andy Cato and Tom Findlay were next in line and it appears even Groove Armada have been caught with the deep house bug that’s spread over Ibiza of late. The musical chamelions delivered a funky set which the masses lapped up greedily, throwing in tasters of well-known tracks like Party Non Stop (Pirupa) and using vocal samples from the seductive Nina Kraviz. Oh – and a remix of Superstylin’ (SURPRISE!!)
And now the big names were rolling through thick and fast – Axwell stepping up for some large-scale house madness that Ushuaïa seems made for as a venue. Though not a big fan of The Axe, I was pleasantly surprised when he mixed in a favourite track of mine Silent Shout, by The Knife. Following in the progressive theme, Pete Tong popped on for some tunes and played Tom Staar’s Home, which received a rousing response and sounded more Pryda than Pryda, if you ask me. Tong continued to drop anthems, the next one being Infinity Ink’s Infinity (cue 7000 strong sing-a-long), which was a perfect seg-way into the next act of the night – Eats Everything.
This was another highlight of the night, Eats Everything delivering quite slow, but irresistibly funky tunes, including the Joe Goddard remix of Shining Star, by Nneka. All too quickly he was over, and Tong was back to throw in some more Ibiza anthems with Dusky’s Every Day and, of course, Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know. Then Maya Jane Coles took over, slightly raising the BPM and bringing in the bongos, with a deep and percussive set which was very well received. There was a flurry of action in the skies during MJC’s set, as several planes flew low over the beach. In traditional Bora Bora fashion, we at Ushuaïa gave a rousing welcome to those on board arriving to join us for a bout of revelry (too late for this party, suckers!) Last on the bill was Joris Voorn and although I thought his deep grooves were excellent, it seemed a comparatively down-tempo finale to what had been such a rager of a party.
It seems as though we chewed through every time signature available at this eclectic party (except, sadly, waltz time), and I can confidently say there was something here for everyone. Although peppered with a bit too much radio-style spruiking for my liking, Radio 1 have once again hosted a very successful party that those present will be going on about for weeks to come . . . try and bear with us.