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REVIEW: Ibiza New Year's Eve + Day 2013/14

Same again next year then yeah? Cool.

I'd been sulking on and off since I'd left Ibiza at the end of October in the knowledge that I just couldn't justify the 300 quid cost of return flights to Ibiza for New Year's Eve. Things slow down for many Ibiza heads over the winter, myself included, so was blowing that amount of cash really sensible? In the end I decided to be a good little boy, say no, and spend New Year's at home with my Mum and Dad, drinking embarrassing amounts of Smirnoff Ice whilst playing Jenga.

Cut to early December and I was around £250 poorer, my phone bill hadn't been paid for a month, and that new ‘Jenga Boom' game had been returned to the hell hole that is Argos… I had decided not to be sensible - Ibiza New Year's at Pacha, Amnesia and DC-10 was on! Mummy and Daddy were devo'd, but as a Spanish guy once said, “Vamos!”

I arrived at Ibiza airport to what our Spotlight clubbing bossman described as ‘the busiest I've seen the airport in months'. Ok, so the buzz about the place and on the plane wasn't quite that of peak-time summer season, but this was the biggest New Year celebrations the island had seen in several years… game on.

The first thing you notice about Ibiza in winter is how peaceful and green the place is. It looks healthy and you almost feel bad about lowering the tone with your impending poor behaviour. Nevertheless, midnight clocked and before I knew it I was partaking in the craziest Spanish tradition I've ever heard of: with every strike of the bell at midnight, you must eat a grape, that is 12 grapes in 12 seconds. I don't know why, I just know that I did it, nearly choking in the process. Composure regained, the next step was Pacha for a Riva Starr headlined gathering that we treated as the pre-party.

Pacha is the only club that stays open all year round and so the Spanish contingent was out in force. The dress code seemed to be high fashion, with an average age much younger than the norm. The club was stunning, something akin to that scene in Avatar where Sully is running around the jungle in awe of the beautiful glowing vines surrounding him. Whilst, sadly, there was no semi-naked alien lady about, the music was cool and fairly mainstream until Riva Starr came on. Launching into things with the much loved Noir & Haze ‘Around', out on Defected, the atmosphere picked up and the dance floor filled up nicely. A couple of drinks later and that was it for our Pacha experience and I waved goodbye to the place for another 3 months.

Amnesia began with a man on the dance floor chewing a toothbrush. My notes say nothing more than that and my memory is of no more use. I presume it was odd and hilarious, else I wouldn't have taken the time to make note of it. Moving on then, Jamie Jones warmed up for Marco Carola, providing the best few hours of music I've heard him play all season. Honestly, I'm a Jamie Jones fan from a few years ago. I'm not trying to be cool or hip (although I am both, I even have a moustache), he's just not my bag so much these days, but I really enjoyed his induction to the Music On New Year's atmosphere.


Jamie Jones, Marco Carola, Pan-Pot, MartT and some of the Spotlight Clubbing team at Music On, Amnesia.


Carola made a fairly subdued entrance to the booth in his typically emotionless fashion at the 6am mark to much fanfare. 3 flights from Italy were chartered especially to cope with demand for those wanting to attend the party and they formed much of the rabble in the first 10m of the dance floor who were very much up for it. Carola launched into his trademark style of rollicking bass line driven techno from the off, but for me he was at his peak at the 8am mark onwards where the energy was absolutely peaking. Classic tracks, nice long buildups to deafening drops and a fast but steady pace made this also the best I'd heard him all season. Again, I'm not as big a Carola fan as, say, a Carola fan; perhaps it is the hype, the lack in smiles, I'm not sure. But the guy played a blinder, and with his hopefully impending return to the Amnesia terrace in 2014 I shall greet him with a renewed sense of appreciation. It's always nice when you rediscover a love for an artist you thought you were past.

I, like the vast majority of the impressively large crowd that had made their way to the club for this special event, was all about the terrace, particularly as daylight breaks through the roof, but the main room spent the whole morning having its V-Prof Soundsystem pushed to the limit. Admittedly the crowd was significantly smaller, but room to manoeuvre, friendly faces and Pan-Pot fuelled techno/tech-house rockets blasting towards your face meant the place was absolutely going off! An example comes in the form of Mario Ochoa's ‘Lockdown', released back in March 2013, with the build up, the vocal, the drop and that synth line combining to form what we in the business call ‘a well good tune, like.' More than happy I took in some of the room before making my way to the exit and a much needed sit down in a taxi, pity the journey was soundtracked by Miley ‘bint' Cyrus and her god damn ‘Wrecking Ball'. Get me to DC.

I suspect I arrived at DC10 the next day in a considerably better state than most - I'd slept, eaten and felt fresh, which is a rarity when on a multi-day bender. Much of the outdoor garden terrace had been closed off, but both main and terrace rooms of the club were open to accommodate the increased numbers. Cassy, an artist I've not seen much of at all, was fantastic. Mixing in old dance classics with some fresh off the production line stuff, she provided a set that was perfect for that NYD wild feeling you want. I don't know about you lot, but I don't want a straight up house or techno set at a party like this. I want the track selection to be wild and unpredictable and to make me smile - she did just that. The Ones ‘Absolutely Flawless' and Paul Johnson's ‘Get Get Down' were welcome alternative tracks, with the former getting the best reaction in the room from the whole night.


Tune of the trip for me - The Ones with the appropriately named 'Flawless' - as played by Cassy at DC10.


Cut then to the second major highlight of the night - Sven Vath. In DC-10. On the terrace. On New Year's Day. Many of us were initially disappointed that Sven wasn't playing longer or closing the night, but he played later and longer than initially planned so that was just fine. His opening track was one of our favourites at Spotlight - DJ Yellow & Flowers And Sea Creatures ‘No One Gets Left Behind' (Konstantin Sibold Remix). An absolutely stunning track that poured pure emotion out of the VOID speakers directly onto your face. If you weren't an emotional wreck already, you were now. I remember being stood in front of one of the massive fans that keep you cool, hoodie on (such a revelation to rave in warm clothing in Ibiza by the way!), wind blowing through my hair like some overtly sexual L'oreal ‘Because You're Worth It' advert, eyes closed and being ridiculously happy. What a moment.

The night was finished in the main room with two thirds of the Apollonia massive - Shonky and Dyed Soundorom back-to-back. The Apollonia crew are Circo Loco/DC10 for me - a party there wouldn't be right without them. Jaydee's ‘Plastic Dreams' rang out across the air with those iconic echoed chimes acting like some form of call to arms. The dance floor was particularly packed and particularly up for it for the five or so minutes this was played, proving to be a nice flashback memory moment for many people back to the year 1993 when the track was originally released.

4am had arrived and the taxi queue called my name. Someone outside could he heard muttering the words ‘that was fucking insane” over and over again but, all things considered, there is every chance it was me. Please, let it happen again next year.

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