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Review: Wax Da Jam opening party at Las Dalias, 31st July

Nightmares on Wax celebrate their 25th birthday at Wax Da Jam Ibiza carnival, every Thursday at Las Dalias.

Far away from Ibiza clubland's well-trodden path lies the the funky heartland of one the island's best loved nights, Wax Da Jam at that iconic Ibiza venue - Las Dalias, San Carlos.

Sure, Las Dalias is usually associated with its huge, colourful hippy market and is generally known as the unofficial Bohemian headquarters of all things tie-dyed and flowing. Unbeknown to some, the venue also has a great little restaurant, a couple of bars including a ‘sky-bar' on the roof and a small, cosy onsite club.

It's a far-cry from the million-dollar lighting rigs, scantily clad, sweatily writhing podium dancers and €12 beers of other well-known Ibiza clubs. It feels more like a local hang-out (which indeed it is) and the bare walls and minimal lighting of the interior give a dark, underground feel to the place. Aside from a huge glittering discoball suspended in pride of place right in the centre of the club's one room, there is little else to detract from the serious business of getting down to some hefty grooves.

In contrast, the open-air, tree filled and fairy-lit courtyard where the market is usually held was transformed into a large, outdoor festival-style stage for the live band. It's hard to imagine a better setting for Nightmares on Wax, who for 25 years have been producing some of the planet's best-loved, chilled-out, mixed-up, funk-laden sounds. Intimate, up-close and personal, there didn't seem to be much separation from the giving-it-loads performers and their rapturous audience.

The night starts at 9pm, But we rocked up to the packed out courtyard at around 11pm, just in time to see the Nightmares on Wax band begin their live outdoor set, with DJ Ease on the decks, cutting, chopping and slicing beats with his usual ease-y flair accompanied by 3 live vocalists and some masterfully deep percussion. The crowd was absolutely loving it.

The smell of Jamaican jerk chicken wafted over from Stevie's soul kitchen, whilst a queue formed for the delicious 7 hr slow-roasted pork ribs served with Nepalese momos and Bakpau (filled dumplings similar in consistency to Chinese dim-sum). Nobody was going hungry at this gig that's for sure!

The atmosphere was carnival-like with grinning faces and swaying bodies taking in the gorgeous tuneage beneath a large marquee whilst dotted around the courtyard were oversized paintings paying homage to great musicians. We were told that they had been painted live earlier on, by Babylon Beach DJ and excellent street-artist Chapter (aka Scott Gray) with the proceeds from the final piece later going to charity.

We could barely move a metre without bumping into someone we knew or recognizing some famous face or other. Mike Manumission strode past me to my left, Ibiza Global Radio's DJ Diva Jess pulled funky moves to my right as We Love... promoter Andy Livesy headed over to the bar. I saw deep-house duo Loop Alley getting into the Waxy beats, along with Carl Cox resident DJ Callum, Pikes Hotel resident Howard Hill and numerous other well-known island Djs, promoters and musicians. The whole event had a real inclusive Ibiza family vibe - a breath of fresh air through the much touted and heavily guarded VIP ‘exclusivity' of many events that flourish here in Ibiza. Everyone was really, really into the music.

The Nightmares on Wax band finished their set at 1am. The sublime ‘Nights Introlude,' stood out in my mind, iconic opening track of what is still to this day one of my favourite albums EVER, that piece of ambient trip-hop magnificence that is ‘Smokers Delight'. I was transported back, on a jazz-tinged fluffy cloud back to the smoky back-room chill-out zones of the mid-nineties UK rave scene. It was a beautiful moment, dear reader.

Following the stream of music-lovers inside to the indoor club, the Babylon Beach DJs then took to the decks and the room quickly filled, the crowd's appetite for soulful sounds having been by this time tickled into a dancing frenzy.

Uncharacteristically for Ibiza, I noted a roughly even male-to-female ratio, with the dancefloor in particular filled with vigorously bumping and grinding ladies, really loving the classic rnb tracks that Babylon Beach DJ George Solar was dropping mightily upon them. The age range of the average punter was around 30 years-old, a slightly more mature crowd than your average Ibiza clubbing mix and the only grinding of jaws was by virtue of the array of gorgeous food on offer.

Your Spotlight reviewers had a blast. Utter exhaustion drove us home at around 3am, leaving a still packed-out dance-floor and yours truly already looking forward to the next event.

Speaking of which, you can catch Wax Da Jam at Las Dalias for their 2014 8-week residency. 9pm - late every Thursday until Sept 18th with free entry till 11pm. Our advice? Get there early and make the most of this musical feast. It's what Ibiza is all about - truly high-quality music, a beautiful environment and lots of happy, dancing people having a ball. No attitude required. An absolute classic.

WORDS | Jane Charilaou PHOTOGRAPHY | Wax Da Jam

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