Nas at Ibiza Rocks

Last week saw hip hop master Nas (aka New Yorker Nasir Jones) performing his album ‘Illmatic’. It’s 20 years since the album was released in 1994 and Nas has been touring and performing it live around the world. There was a big buzz around the island for this gig. For me however, this album and Nas for that matter somehow passed me by! I’m not sure how as in 1994 I was still living in Manchester, listening to lots of music and had been a big fan of hip hop, amongst other genres. But anyway it did. For my pre-gig research I turned to iTunes, which says: “Illmatic is so frequently saddled with the mantle of ‘greatest Hip-Hop album of all time’ that it can be difficult for the first time listener to approach it without trepidation”. Which is interesting, because that’s exactly how I was feeling about the gig. I’m not fond of gigs in which artists play a complete album, especially if it’s one that you don’t know well. But Ibiza Rocks is a great venue to see any artist in, so off I went with an open mind, hoping that I would enjoy the gig and possibly even hear something that I recognised.
And I certainly did on both counts! With some encouragement from his MC who was already onstage, Nas bounded onstage at 11pm to the closing bars of ‘The Genesis’, the opening track on the album, and immediately showed us he meant business. Starting with ‘N. Y. State of Mind’, he pretty much performed the album in order, deviating slightly towards the end, but then went on to sing lots of other tracks from his extensive back catalogue, including Loco-Motive, Accident Murderer and Nastradamus. Live, the songs really came alive and sounded both raw and fresh. It was one of those nights where I and pretty much everyone else in the venue was dancing. The sound was great and you could hear the lyrics loud and clear over the top of the expert scratching, beats, samples and back-up vocals coming from his sidekick on the decks. Combined with stunning backdrop projections, many featuring images and video footage from New York, of the skyline, people and other stunning images, you could not take your eyes off the stage or keep your feet still. It was a slick, engaging show, and I was not alone in loving it.

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Check out the videos (links below) to get a sense of it. Videos:
Life’s a Bitch:
http://youtu.be/_DBAtbERiOg
The World is Yours:
http://youtu.be/t8sRAht1vUo
Represent:
http://youtu.be/692ZuFZDxgg

Space 25th Anniversary

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“Ah, those were the days.” The Space 25th Anniversary has sparked much nostalgia amongst Ibizans of a certain age. It seems everybody has some fond recollections of their own journey through Space.
As is no surprise we can rely on Colin Butts to say what so many are thinking in his own imitable style through his facebook post this week.

So, today is the 25th anniversary of Space. A superclub. Not a superclub that suddenly burst onto the scene as a result of having millions of euros thrown at it, retaining the world’s biggest DJs for astronomic fees and having a blind eye turned to licensing laws most other businesses have to comply to. Yes, that might be the case now but why did it become so popular in the 1st place?
Daytime partying. The place all clubbers went to in the 90s after a night out, streaming into the club at 8am whilst bemused tourists going to the water park or staying in the Fiesta hotel opposite (now Ushuaia) looked on.
Were it not for those daytime sessions, Space would not be the club it is – indeed, Ibiza probably wouldn’t be the island it is.
Sure, the scene has evolved just as everything evolves and no-one should live in the past…but that doesn’t mean you should forget the past.
So, whereas for best part of a decade from the early-mid 90s I would fly from the UK for every opening & closing party at the behemoth of clubbing, today, even though I live but a dozen miles away, I won’t be going. Yes, part of that is cos my own clubbing journey has all but fizzled out but there’s another reason.
Two DJs changed that club (and possibly Ibiza) yet in all the hype I haven’t seen a mention of them or any real appreciation of what they did when they had the idea of doing daytime parties in what was then a disco-cum-conference centre.
As far as I’m aware, they haven’t even been invited.
So, whilst the thousands are in Space today, the majority totally unaware of the fact that they probably wouldn’t be standing or dancing there were it not for these 2 DJs, I shall be at home raising my glass to them and having a nostalgic 5 minutes remembering those incredible days on the Space terrace.
Alex Petrides and Brandon Block I salute you.

Giorgio Moroder
Ibiza Rocks House at Pacha

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This summer, the crew from Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes are putting on parties at Pacha every Monday night. I’m a regular at their home at Pikes, where anything can happen at their fantastic parties in that unique, intimate, environment tucked away on the hillside just outside San Antonio. When I first heard the announcement, I wondered whether the parties could be up-scaled to the vastness and anonymity of Pacha. But there was only one way to find out, so off I went a few weeks ago, and loved it. Wanting a second helping, I couldn’t miss the opportunity of going again on the night that disco legend Giorgio Moroder was manning the decks.

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The ceiling of the main room was decorated with an odd-ball collection of flying pigs and other animals, inflatables of the party logo combining the Pacha cherries with Ibiza Rocks plectrums, and lots of disco balls, whilst dancers wearing amazing costumes busted out some impressive dance moves. Up in the Funky Room, resident Pacha DJ Graham Sahara played some great deep house tunes to warm us up for the night ahead. Back downstairs, wacky, off-the-wall entertainment popped up sporadically. Amongst it a flash mob in the entrance, a rendition of an opera song from a lip-synching drag queen from the DJ booth, and a scantily-clad dance troupe – I’m sure there was lots more that I missed. However, the pièce de résistance for me was the trapeze artist who was hoisted into the air and fired out lasers from her nether regions. And they changed colour! How did she do that?
Giorgio began his set at a respectable 2pm and we were treated to a repertoire of his greatest hits: lots of Donna Summer, with The Human League, Berlin, Irene Cara and Daft Punk mixed in. Donna Summer’s groundbreaking disco classic ‘I Feel Love’ got the biggest reaction on the dance floor as soon as the opening synth riff kicked in. With videos of the artists projected behind him to accompany the songs, when he wasn’t attending to his decks, Giorgio put his arms in the air and was clearly enjoying himself as much as we all were. He ended his hour-long set with Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ and a barrage of confetti showered over the dance floor as everyone went crazy. A great tune to end on.
We were euphoric, but Giorgio was followed by what can only be described as a brilliant short set from two acoustic guitarists playing dance classics such as ‘Insomnia’ and ‘Zombie Nation’ in a frenetic flamenco style. I was wondering how whoever followed Giorgio was going to make an impression, but they did. Simply amazing.
Next up was a DJ set from Basement Jaxx, but I retreated to the intimacy and funkiness of the funky room, which I prefer. The DJ played some classic hip hop and old skool house, and the music was so good that I had to postpone my visit to the ladies room several times because I simply couldn’t leave the dance floor. I danced more than I’d danced for ages.

Shortly after 4am my friends decided to retire for the night and left me on my own. I had 10 minutes to kill before my next Discobus home, so I went for a wander and stumbled upon the karaoke taking place in the toilets. One of the recent additions at Pikes has been the introduction of karaoke in the bathroom, and the team have brilliantly transferred the idea to Pacha and installed a cast iron roll top bath in the toilets on the ground floor. In charge of the proceedings were the inimitable Sunny and his drag queen sidekick, egging on punters enthusiastically singing from the bathtub to an appreciative audience. It was priceless, and without a doubt the best time-killer experience I have ever encountered!
Overall, the whole night was amazing and a bit like stumbling into an alternative universe, leaving you with the thought “did it all really happen”? Well, yes it did, and there is photographic evidence to prove it.

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Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes is putting on a party every Monday until October 6th, with a host of big name DJs each week. Check the website for the schedule, but try and go to at least one of them – these guys know how to put on a party and it’s a great, fun night out. See the weekly line-up here:
http://www.ibizarocks.com/house/pacha

Icona Pop at Hard Rock Hotel

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The latest live offering from the Hard Rock Hotel was Swedish female pop duo Icona Pop, ‘pop icon’ in Italian.
They were new to me, but research showed that their second single ‘I Love It’ featuring Charli XCX released in 2012 reached number 1 in the singles chart in the UK, 2 in Sweden and 3 in Australia, Austria and Germany, having been featured in the ‘Girls’ TV show. But none of their subsequent releases or their album have done anywhere near as well.
The twenty-something girls, Aino Jaw and Caroling Hjelt appeared onstage at 11pm with glasses of wine and took up their places behind the DJ decks in the centre of the stage. Starting with ‘We Got the World’ they took it in turns to sing, mix and do whatever they were doing on the decks. When they weren’t twiddling buttons they were jumping up and down enthusiastically. This wasn’t quite what I was expecting and I was beginning to wonder if they were just going to play at being DJs all night and sing from behind the decks. However, for the third song they both came to the front of the stage with their microphones and sang their shouty vocals over the backing tracks, dancing and jumping up and down as they did.

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The audience was a mixed bunch: a combination of teenagers down the front, parents with children at the back, hotel guests and lots of dressed-up couples who looked they were going onto somewhere afterwards. Reaction to the performance was mixed. When the audience knew the songs they danced along but were pretty stationery in between.
The Icona Pop girls were clearly having fun, jumping up and down and dancing around the stage when they weren’t mixing on the decks or singing at the front and they were caught having the odd drink too. All through the hour-long set their videos and images were projected behind them, providing a stunning visual display. Occasionally smoke cannons and flames were let off at the front of the stage adding to the spectacle. For one number they were joined onstage by some of the Antz crew from sister venue Ushüaia next door, who danced around manically in their black head-to-toe ants costumes. But they saved their big hit until the end. They launched into ‘We Love It’ and immediately everyone in the crowd took out their phones to video it. Pink and white confetti was blasted into the crowd, just before the 20.10 BA flight from Gatwick flew over the venue to make its final descent into the airport nearby.

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It’s obvious that these girls just want to have fun, and that’s exactly what they did. They weren’t really for me: I struggled wondering if they wanted to be DJs or singers, but maybe it doesn’t matter, and they can be both. Regardless, the crowd enjoyed it and they did too, saying “Ibiza you were f*****g amazing” before leaving the stage. And that was it, the end, as people filed out of the venue, which was completely littered with pink and white strips of paper confetti. Videos:
I Love It:
http://youtu.be/4w_baFyIBkw
Get Lost:
http://youtu.be/K55UhEZ6dw8

Rock ‘n’ Roll in San An

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If you prefer rock or indie music, then this new event could be worth a try. San Antonio’s first and only weekly Rock ‘n’ Roll pool party, with Colin Peters on the decks, one of Ibiza Rocks’ and Rock Night’s resident DJs. Every Tuesday afternoon from 2pm at The Haunt, underneath the Ibiza Rocks Hostal, Calle de Catalunya. More info at:
https://www.facebook.com/thehauntibiza

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