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Review: Cream Opening Party 2013

The longest running club night on the island flaunts its eclectic raving roots.

Born in the glowing depths of Britain's early 90s dance music boom, the Cream brand holds one of the most internationally successful and resilient narratives in the industry. Named the Best Club of the Last 25 Years by long standing partner Mixmag and holding the eminent position of the longest running club night on the island Cream's Opening Party at Amnesia was received with dizzying enthusiasm.

Creators and curators of the 'Creamfields' conglomerate mean that Cream remain with their finger firmly on the fluttering pulse of the EDM scene. After the success of their evening Boat Parties, the Opening line-up reflected a long standing mix of regular trance titans alongside the brightest rising stars of the progressive and electro house scene coated in a lavishly bountiful production aesthetic.

'Super Me&You', creation of former graffiti artist turned DJ phenomenon Laidback Luke hosted the sprawling Terrace which seemed like an entirely different beast due to a comprehensive layout change. Intricately mapped projection lasers were new to the Terrace this season and instead of the usual modest and embedded booth at the far end of the space, a mammoth production stage was erected at the opposite end by the Terrace entrance. Fronted by a full-width visual screen and backed by a towering 15ft LED screen the stage brought a unique sense of festival occasion which would be well utilised by Amnesia for future visually arresting events.

Lambent, writhing inhuman creatures - be they superheroes or villains - hung from the ceiling as on the giant screen, a sickly comic strip charted the luminous attack of dance music's plotting adversaries. Fresh from the release of album, 'Rock This Dream', DJ Henrix delivered a style of electro house thick with a thundering low end and stomping rhythmic marching. A teeming array of melodic crashes and pulsing elements saw morphed vocals, saxophone and binary clicks come together to soundtrack what looked like the boisterous inner workings of a madman's imagination.

In the main room trance tinged techno thundered through a web of panning lasers and colossal clouds of CO2. Trance pioneer Paul Oakenfold lashed together an arresting mix of hard rave and warehouse electro to an enraptured crowd. Interspersed with dramatic haunting pauses, Oakenfold swung from staccato frenzies of closed hi-hats over driving bass lines via his signature murmuring Balearic chants with a sound which paid tribute to the insatiable warehouse raves of the fanatical British audience.

Back on the Terrace Laidback Luke, caped, masked, and above a sea of foam fingered ravers twisted the crowd around his fingers and immersed the room in the buzzing insanity of a delirious scientist on acid. Fukkk Offf's remix of Icona Pops' hit 'I Love It' was one of many hard hitting remixes heard as Luke's fast-paced mixing style created drop after drop in what was a tour de force of death electro house rinsed in wonky synth patterns. Paul van Dyk, with his hard style excursions into moody techno territory filled the Main Room with a sea of exuberant sweat. Above and Beyond's cross over hit 'Sun and Moon' and a moon walking van Dyk pulled every grasping hand skyward as the scene veteran - who now shirks the label of 'trance DJ' - pushed a varied high octane sound.

Whilst others tended towards a more bass-orientated sound Special Guest - young Dutchman Hardwell - named as Best Breakthrough DJ of 2012, layered his brand of rising melodic synth chords over rushing washes and break-beat bridges. The EDM giants big room progressive house style with its delicate piano breakdowns - encapsulated by his edit of heavyweight Tiesto's Lethal Industry - has swept the American and international soil by storm inspiring a wave of notable producers.

Of ASOT, Armada Music and Armind fame, John O'Callaghan - who comes fresh from van Buuren's 600th episode earlier this year - closed the main room with a dynamic and driving set laced with acidic 808 clicks. On reflection, something that seemed oddly unique to the Cream party was the level of interaction between DJ and crowd. Where many artists are accused of stoically avoiding the duties of the 'performer', all acts - none more so than Luke - maintained an unbelievably animated rhetoric throughout. Hands akimbo; held in a cliché heart-shaped sign or playing imaginary keys those watching felt directly involved in an explosive performance which was exactly that. Perhaps the sullen eyes of many an underground example can first be lit with a tentative smile.

It is deathly apparent that so many years on from its hopeful inception as a haven for a wandering youth Cream remains a 'lifestyle and not just a source of entertainment' for many a die hard raver. With Dirty South, Calvin Harris, Nicky Romero and giant Michael Woods amongst their upcoming guests Cream and their effusive style will continue to infect the island and beyond - left right and centre.

Photography by James Chapman

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