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Review: VIVa Warriors at Sankeys, 8th June

Ibiza Warriors, come out to play!

Last night I was extremely hyped to return to Steve Lawler's night VIVa Warriors for the first time since last season. Sunday nights at Sankeys Ibiza have become notorious, particularly among workers on the island over the past couple of years. Lawler's party has a more of a ‘British' feel than others, and is famous for harking back to the gritty basement clubs that play bass-driven beats back in the UK.

Upon entering the club at around 2am, we headed straight for the basement to check out the sounds of Argentinian DJ and producer Guti. Guti was in full-flow by the time we made it to the front, and a consistent rolling-bass sound throughout his mix succeeded in keeping the masses glued to the dancefloor. Unlike many other DJ sets I have seen since arriving to the island, Guti's show did not feature much vocal work on many of his tracks – instead letting the punchy percussion do most of the talking. It seemed as though the crowd of the basement were split between those who loved Guti's set and those who wanted the pace of the music to pick up and required something a little heavier. Fortunately for the latter group, it was Steve Lawler's turn to showcase his music, and remind us who leads the legions of dedicated VIVa Warriors.

It's fair to say that by the end of Guti's set the crowd had livened up considerably in anticipation of head-honcho of VIVa Music, Steve Lawler. Lawler's parties have become a must-see event not just for the tourists visiting the island but more interestingly the workers who remain in Ibiza for the entirety of the season. If you see these guys out and about at the parties you're attending, you know the party is a good one; VIVa Warriors is one of the most popular events in the week for workers and certainly upholds that rule like no other. As the crowd built inside the basement, Lawler nonchalantly arrived on stage in a leather jacket, completely unfazed by the, shall we say, ‘tropical' air. Then the jacket came off, and we knew it was business time.

Lawler did a much better job at gauging the type of sound that the partygoers wanted to hear, instantly unleashing into a bass-heavy set that we've come to expect from DJs at VIVa Warriors over the past few years. Lawler's never been one of the extroverted showman type DJs, instead letting the music do the talking with his confident selection of crowd-pleasing tracks and flawless mixing style. His use of the echo effect in breakdowns to build up a massive crescendo, followed by the onslaught of bass and strobe lighting gives a boost of ecstasy that you'd be hard-pushed to match outside of Sankeys on the white isle.

The We Love opening party at Space just around the corner stole some of VIVa's crowd last night, but the party has the reputation any good event in Ibiza needs to survive such competition and after the brilliant mayhem of its opening party last week we expect that as the season progresses, more and more people will flock to Sankeys on Sunday nights. The VIVa spirit is as strong as ever and its regular attendees unwaveringly loyal. Same again next week then warriors!

WORDS | Janson Goldberg PHOTOGRAPHY | Luke Dyson

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