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Review: Hed Kandi Opening Party 2013

A night of soulful sax, dazzling trapeze artists and lots of glitter...

Walking into the Hed Kandi Opening at Es Paradis last night was, quite fittingly, like walking into paradise. I joined the cream of the White Isle crop in San Antonio to welcome back this long-standing, long-loved night to the island and to say I was blown away is not an overstatement.

On walking in, the soothing sounds of Disclosure's ‘Latch' filled the huge room which was a mix of theatrical Grecian glamour, starry graphics and red carpet charm. Vines and flowers crept up the white pillars to the roof (a look that was somewhere wonderfully between Midsummer Night's Dream and Jumanji) and it seemed OTT was the norm wherever you looked, from the fish tanks behind the bar and the sly waterfalls in the corners to the scantily-clad dancers and the trapeze artists swinging gracefully from the ceiling. The girls from Kiss My Fairy Body Painting were providing the notorious Hed Kandi ‘Glitter Eye' for those who wanted to really get in the carnival-style spirit and the ‘Mojito Bar' was packed all night as expert Es Paradis mixologists created tasty bespoke cocktails that got your taste buds in the party spirit.

The club was like a huge adult playground and the crowd thoroughly embraced it, lapping up the pyrotechnics, confetti and huge disco balls hanging from the ceiling. It was really refreshing to see such a diverse crowd of various ages, holidaymakers, Hed Kandi veterans and season workers all enjoying the night and dancing together to house, disco and all kinds of dance music. It was also great to see the DJs really enjoying themselves; in this style of venue, with the DJ booth set out like a stage, personality and performance is equally as important as good tunes. In such a visually impressive venue the DJs are under pressure to play an equally impressive soundtrack, but they were on top form, blasting anthems such as ‘Born Slippy' and Fedde Le Grand's ‘So Much Love' which filled every sequined corner of Es Paradis.

A highlight for everyone was when the infamous Lovely Laura came on at three, opening her sax set by playing Layo & Bushwaka's hit ‘Love Story'. Nothing says soul like a bit of saxophone and the crowd were treated to plenty of it as she swung back and forth in an ornate gold vine-adorned chair (as you do). Dean Oram aka Drum Warrior provided some epic percussion and bongo drums all night, the two of them accompanying each other and creating an atmosphere that I've yet to see in another club.

Hed Kandi at Es Paradis is definitely a night you have to see yourself to believe. Expect plenty of stunning visuals, great music and memorable moments (and if you succumbed to face paint like me, a lot of glitter on your pillow the morning after!).

Photography: Matt Morgan

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