The Marathon – September 4 2013
I love my job. I really do. I get to meet the coolest DJ’s, ask them personal questions, hang around the DJ booth with my PRESS band (will I ever be able to swap that at the bar for free drinks tickets by the way?) look cool in front of my mates when I get an acknowledgment from said superstar DJ’s and generally take advantage of guest lists. But there comes a point when the club experience gets a bit…dare I say it, repetitive. The music is great, the atmosphere is great, the DJ’s are (usually) spot on and everybody’s busting grooves on the dance floor. The only problem is I’ve been every single week since the opening and the polish is wearing a bit thin. This party – or me – needs another coat.
Not this weekend. This was the climax of the season – a perfect end to the most intense month of the year. Butterflies in the belly and the air of excitement that tends to get a bit lost after countless parties – that wonderful feeling came rushing back. ENTER. and Music On outshone. Especially Music On which brought out not only Carl Cox to Marco Carola’s table of delicious debauchery, but a whole other venue stashed in the hills of San Jose for an 18 hour after party. And there was me thinking it was a furniture shop…
Beginning the marathon with ENTER. at Space on Thursday, it was all reverse as the big names played first with an early set from Dubfire in the Sake bar followed by Richie ripping up the Main Room before both took off in Richie’s private jet to Burning Man. The last time I saw Dubfire he served me a plate of Wagyu beef and Detroit style chicken at Pete Tong’s BBQ at Ushuaïa. But that’s another story. This time the big news was that he and Richie were in and out by 4am with Matador stepping up to take over and doing not a bad job of keeping the vibe in the Main Room strictly up to standard with the bar set by his boss. ENTER. resident Paco Osuna took over around 5.30am and while he’s always faultless, it was time to sneak off to see Maceo Plex hammering the Terrace – which was a full-on success and executed with the supreme confidence of an artist who looks at home wherever he plays. With the warm-up complete and ready for Friday night’s big event, not even dirty big black clouds blended with a thick orange sky could dampen the excitement. ‘Get there early,’ I was warned. Just as well I did. Anyone that arrived after 4am was left outside.
Making my way straight to the Amnesia booth at 2am to see Carl make an entrance with his Safehouse family to a wealth of supporters – even some of Richie Hawtin’s team were there – when he took over from Leon it was a slow build-up. Carl moved cautiously, edging and feeling his way around the new booth and the Music On crowd. Half an hour later he exploded, laying down some enormous techno killers with some slinky jazz rifts and pumping the speakers to the max. Then Marco was on. The b2b began and it was smooth. So smooth in fact that the techno rollercoaster dipped in funk never once lost its groove. There was no jumping from one sub-genre to another – think layer upon layer of musical lasagne all melting into each other and becoming more delicious by the bite, coupled with an euphoric energy lifting from the dance floor. At 7am when Marco took over (with a smile??!) he launched into his signature repertoire of techno, classics, mashed up rock/pop sauced with pounding beats and all the intensity of the Italians doing it better. Mamma Mia!
Walking into the sunshine at 9.30am we had a few hours to kill before the after-party – Music On Open-Air – was due to start at midday. Time for a disco nap. That disco nap turned into a full on snooze. Nevertheless it was the afternoon by the time we snaked our way up the San Jose hills to Cova Santa. With the same owners as Amnesia, the doorstaff, bar manager and all the rest of the team were out in force at the venue and could well have been doing a triple shift (is that why you were so unsociable as this point Ramon?).
Built into the side of the hill, Cova Santa greets you with water features, twinkly lights, multi-level seating areas and a breath taking view. It’s lush all around and the ideal setting for a party. There was even catering. Although it took half an hour to get a raw hamburger. Bleugh. With mirrors firmly turned the other way and sunglasses stuck over eyes that revealed how many hours this marathon had been running, when Marco took to the decks at sunset a second wind took hold. A little more subdued but with the same intensity, Marco pushed on like a machine. No photos this time – understandable – he ripped through until midnight before the after-after party downstairs in what looked just like Amnesia 2. So it was back into the darkness, back into the club, and a big deep breath for the next phase. It went on and on and all thoughts of rest evaporated into the night air. That sweet pounding is engrained in our souls and when an event like this goes into overdrive, even when you start to get blasé, all you need is a swift kick from the right bass to elevate your soul and remind you that this is Ibiza – and there’s nowhere in the world quite like it.