You are here

Review: Epica - Dirty Dutch Crew, 12th August

DJ Chuckie presents his personal brand of spiralling Dutch house.

This season - as it celebrates its fortieth year of iconic operation - marks a time of change for Ibiza's silky white superclub. Acknowledging the shifting vibe on the island Pacha's directors have presented an experience which is more musically focused - and less concerned with the previously prevailing VIP culture. As the club flirts with its newly found eclecticism Monday's 'Epica' remains a pillar of irrepressibly energetic house, darting weekly between a self-titled more electro-based affair and DJ Chuckie's meteorically successful Dirty Dutch brand.

Since 2009 Chuckie - birth name Clyde Narain - has been relentlessly pursuing an insistent manifesto angled towards definitive global domination. Constant touring and a prolific production output has seen his signature 'dirty dutch' sound - chracterised by complex Latin influenced rhythms and relentless pitched synth leads - garner an avid following. Entering Pacha the atmosphere was altered: the lights were comparatively dimmed; the writhing crowd seemed attentive, focused and the air was thick with smoke and a certain flickering sensuality. Dirty Dutch's season roster consists - unsurprisingly - of almost exclusively Dutch artists, after an animated warm-up set from Amsterdam duo Glowinthedark sibling pair Showtek - Sjoerd and Wouter Janssen, part DJ part MC - took to the booth. Mic play seems to be an integral part of Chuckie's thick, electro fare and none were more enthusiastic then Showtek spending more time clambering atop the decks than rooted to floor level. Working the room with fluctuations in track structure and a heady variation of sonic styles - from winding Arabic synths to murderous hip-hop excursions - the pair continued to orchestrate the ever-rising energy levels in the room. Exposed to whirring, scythe-like synth sounds and flashing melodic jaunts it was refreshing to witness a Pacha that seemed so intently focused on a strain of music less-seen on Ibiza.

An abundance of soft red lighting heralded the anticipated arrival of party head Chuckie - the Suriname-born European-based profiteer responsible for bringing a Latino-inspired hip-hop attitude to the commercial house realms of both the US and global scenes. Beginning with more classically-minded strains of electro house - treading a more linear route instead of the epileptic troughs and crests of the genre - Chuckie willed the enamoured crowd to engage in vocal interaction. Narain seemed to struggle with volume continuity throughout his set - it is doubtful that this clumsy disjointedness was deliberate - which meant constant semi-preventative intervention by the in-house engineer. As the latter half of his set approached Chuckie drifted into vocal-driven territory dipping into crowd-pleasing samples and hits of the moment - sadly this departure towards unoriginality left the lingering impression of a popular youth disco. This aside, his steely anthems - infused with a Latin-Los Angeles timbre - were geared to present himself as the undisputed centrepiece of the party - there was no false modesty afoot.

The downside to such physically engaging performances is that no man is a terminator. A DJ set from Paul Harding and Ben Mount of Pendulum - DJ and MC respectively - was awarded the last headline slot. Half bearded and leather clad the pair struck a dark contrast to the surrounding confetti showers. Immediately both lively and insistent the pair delivered a rip-roaring arrangement of past Pendulum tracks, employing minimal EQ-ing and multi-deck layering to create a weighty broadside. After the electro-graded style of the night, although the introduction of a rich drum and bass aesthetic caught the majority by surprise, palms still remained sufficiently raised. In Epica's Dirty Dutch guise then, Pacha's Monday evening soiree can be labelled a resounding success - the crowd is willing, the music relentless and the atmosphere thick, heavy and very much alive.

Related content

from 00