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'Mission Un-meltable

Mike, Claire, Andy & Dawn metamorphosise in 2005

Manumission do hype like no other Ibiza promoter. Their party is more famous than their host venue Privilege, a situation not repeated elsewhere on an island packed with big name club brands.

Manumission 'Metamorphosis' opening party posterBut the ‘Mish cannot be accused of buying notoriety. Apart from billboards and posters (right), liberally decorated with bare naked ladies, their advertising spend is minimal. In the past they preferred to let the sex show do the talking, now they rely on slick production, a forward-thinking music program and word of mouth.

Ah, word of mouth. Bar room gossip. ‘Net chatter. Tremendously influential and consistently contradictory, it propels and harries the Manumission party in almost equal measures. Even a cursory search of our forums will turn up a wide range of opinions, from the highly impressed to the savage.

So how was the Metamorphosis of 2005?

Very busy, it must be said. There were clearly a huge amount of clubbers out Monday. Despite of the energy-sapping Circo Loco during the day at Dc10, and regardless of the concurrent and strong performances from Cocoon at Amnesia and Roger Sanchez at Pacha, the hordes descended on San Rafael as they did in 2004 and the years before.

Manumission opening @ Privilege - July 4, 2005

The momentum built up from an eleven year-long rave stampede is immense, and the Manumission PR machine leapt the nine month gap from their closing in September last year impressively.

Much of the pre-season focus has been on the American connection. A mooted trip to New York was a non-starter, but instead the Big Apple came to Ibiza in the form of Fischerspooner, the arty glam rock schlockers with little in the way of a European track record apart from a minor hit ‘Emerge’ which made it to no. 25 in the UK in 2002.

Fischerspooner @ Manumission opening - July 4, 2005

But the lack of familiarity did not prevent segments of the audience in the main room going amusingly apeshit when they played it just before 4am. Lead singer Casey Spooner’s (above) delivery had just the right mixture of sincerity and tongue-in-cheek bombast. Fischerspooner’s performances throughout the night were interspersed with sexy vignettes from Mike'n'Claire (below), Manumission girls as cheetahs and other wild beasts, Japanese ballet and the iconic burning M at around five in the morning.

Mike + Manumission ladies - July 4, 2005

Prior to that was of course a gig by arguably the most tabloid-tempting band in Europe at the moment, Baby shambles. Fronted by the supermodel-humping Pete Doherty (below), their high energy, indie pop is not a sound commonly found in Ibiza but that mattered not a jot to the first ten rows of the moshing Music Box audience.

The room has been revamped and re-ordered for 2005, thus irreversibly altering the feng shui that benefited previous stars of the Box like the Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, Spektrum, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and of course 2003’s Har Mar Superstar.

Pete Doherty @ Manumission opening - July 4, 2005The stage and the dj booth are now situated on the east wall which borders the car park. The booth has been raised and placed in the corner closest to the main room, and the band space is low so only the lofty and committed can view the action clearly, although there is terraced seating to the right which provides a vantage point for revellers possessing of a more delicate constitution.

It was bedlam. Girls were hoisted upon shoulders and short people were crushed mercilessly as Baby shambles commenced their set. The jangly fast-paced anthems and one other more downbeat number elicited the most frenzied reaction yet witnessed by the Spotlight Late Night Live Poets Appreciation Society.

the Music Box @ Manumission opening - July 4, 2005

A bit of whistling, hat throwing and beer swilling and it was all over, bar a brief encore demanded by the crowd.

The action continued till dawn at least but that was as much as we were able to take given the high temperature. The lack of effective air conditioning made it difficult to enjoy the atmosphere which might be good for beer sales but bad for fun and general well-being. We do sincerely hope the situation will be improved by August.

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