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Review: Ibiza Rocks opening party, 2015

Ft. Blonde and Years & Years.

Ibiza Rocks opened its season with two young, talented and electronic-led bands, showing, as always, a keen understanding for its market and an uncanny knack for picking winners.

The Rocks Hotel courtyard - scene of many a spilled beer and drumstick twirl - was already packed for support band, Blonde. The UK duo was fleshed out for the occasion with a drummer and two vocalists, lifting their synth and guitar game into a full live compliment and creating a storm of house energy on stage which was replicated tenfold on the ticket-holding side of the barriers. Their hit single All Cried Out predictably stole the show, as did a surprise rendition of Corona's Rhythm of The Night, fleshed out with modern housey dollops - the Rocks crowd always love a good sing-a-long.

When the Blonde lads and their energetic vocalists exited the stage they left the crowd still very much in gear; the support DJ and his house party classics were greeted with rowdy applause and plenty of shape throwing that carried through until MTV (who broadcast the show) paused proceedings to carry a surf board through the crowd with presenter Laura Whitmore balanced not-too-confidently on top. Cute idea, but the organisation made it pretty far removed from actual crowd surfing, plus any stunt that requires a massive group of 20-somethings on a night out in Ibiza to “shhhhhh” for any period of time is doomed.

Years and Years frontman Olly Alexander strolled on stage with his band members like a cheeky schoolboy only to sing with the voice of an angel, his silky yet powerful falsetto soaring above an arpeggiating synth which rippled and swelled below to create a hypnotising introduction. Then the beat dropped and Alexander dropped with it into a deep leg bend, shaking his booty like he's ho-bag number 03 in a 2003 Ja Rule music vid. He proved to be full of such surprises.

The group cranked into some fast paced, dance driven tracks including King, and atmospheric new single, Gold, whilst the drummer cracked some serious whip at the back and Alexander swung about up front feeling the beat; kid's got groove. The high-energy songs were great for the space but it was the slower, vocal led numbers featuring Years and Years' trump card on the mic or the piano that really shone - not fortgetting an r'n'b flashback with a cover of Blue Cantrell's Breathe. Popular tropical bouncer, Desire, was of course a climactic moment, as the courtyard erupted with movement from dance floor all the way up the balconies to the Ibiza Rocks rooftop.

Far too quickly is was all over, and we found ourselves downing dregs and emerging out into the San Antonio night. A fantastic atmosphere had coloured the opening of Ibiza Rocks for 2015 and, though both bands had been a little synth-heavy for the live-music bastion of Ibiza, they showed how on the pulse Ibiza Rocks is in presenting the current sounds of the summer and giving their young, music loving crowd exactly what they're after. Always a pleasure Ibiza Rocks - roll on live music Wednesdays.

WORDS | Jordan Smith PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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