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Review: Cream at Amnesia, 11th September

Good old fashioned raving for the 21st century.

From interviews in magazines to speeches at this year's IMS (International Music Summit), artists and punters alike are constantly drawing comparisons between the Ibiza that we know and love today, and the 'glory days', when every club was open air, it was Freddie Mercury himself singing in his bathtub and the word VIP was blasphemy. Well for any Ibiza veterans stuck on the good 'ole days, get yourselves down to Amnesia on a Thursday night to see how the long-serving clubbing staple Cream has kept the rave magic alive through almost two decades, transitioning into a modern party with all the technological perks of the 21st century.

Frantic laser light shows, ravers geared up in neon, and a devoted crowd getting absolutely lost in the dizzying highs and dramatic drops cascading from the speakers; last night I made the trip back to the clubbing institution and was once again transported back to the hedonistic hey day of euphoric trance.

I veered right on entry, making my way into the Main Room where Cream resident Gareth Wyn was busy crafting the perfect build up set, teasing the crowd with the opening chords of London Grammar's Hey Now, the atmosphere tangible as mist filled the room as Reid's delicate vocals crept in. WIth moments like this, he kept the eager crowd on tenterhooks, slowly building up the sound, before finally getting them hot and heavy under the collar with energetic bass lines from the likes of Andrew Beyer.

Over in the Mixmag Terrace, the energy was on a far more steady high, with Dutch duo TV Noise dropping the bouncy synths of Juanra Matinez's Rescue Me and the dance fuelled track from Lay & Browne & Dylan Lewis, Ketosis. Usually a hallowed shell, decorated only with the sounds coming from the sound system, it's a nice change that for Cream Mixmag transforms the Terrace with an apparatus of LED lights running the length of the ceiling, and the retro TV images sat on the speakers, illuminating the balance between modern fiesta and classic rave.

Next door it was time for Above & Beyond to take to the Main Room stage for one final time this summer, and it was without a doubt the highlight of the night. Starting off slowly, they eased the crowd in with some lower tempo tracks, Nemphirex's synthy number Time To Go falling into Alex Vargas' haunting vocals in their recent release Sticky Fingers. With tracks like this they're a band able to make the hairs on the backs of your arms stand up, as well as bringing the roof (tent) down at a festival, and because of this they're an act I always look forward to seeing. Last night however, whilst not the first time I'd seen them at Cream this summer, was the first night I felt they managed to capture this spectrum I love them for in their set, coming into their own spectacularly.

This shift was perhaps down to the fact that last night they weren't overshadowed by chart giant Calvin Harris, and instead more evenly matched with Dutch dance duo Showtek. It felt as if they had more freedom to explore and play with their set, rather than fighting for attention. After a tentative start, they put their foot to the metal with some frenzied bass courtesy of Realtation with Ferrarium, and their own frantic offering, Walter White.

This change in mood was a constant throughout their set, taking the mood in the room on a roller coaster of a ride with a high turnover of songs switching up fast paced beats like Lord Sonah's punchy remix of Xantra's Hydraulic and Mazza's Summer (Klass Dub Mix Edit) with paired back piano solos and classical build ups like sections taken from Mischa Lefkowitz's Violin Sonata. The images gracing the screens were as weird and wonderful as the set itself, with flashing images that included a stone statue of a woman spinning round on a purple galaxy scene.

With just two weeks left, it's nearly time for Cream to bid farewell to Ibiza for the winter, but not before it goes out with a bang. Next week sees them welcome Paul Van Dyk, Eddie Halliwell and Steve Angello to the decks for Part 1 of their double decker Closing Party, so glow sticks at the ready, those two little words 'closing parties' can only mean one thing: this is going to be a big one.

WORDS | Joanna Wright PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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