Hard Rock Hotel
Finally, the night that many locals had been waiting for over the last few months had arrived: the newly-opened Hard Rock Hotel in Playa D’en Bossa put on its opening gig! And with Chic, featuring Nile Rodgers booked to play, it was clearly going to be one big party. It was the third time that Chic had played in Ibiza in as many years, and I had been at the other two shows, so I knew what to expect, and that their slick, funky show would have us dancing and singing along.
I arrived just in time to miss the traditional Hard Rock opening ceremony of ‘guitar smashing’, which sadly happened whilst I was finding my way in. The venue has been thoughtfully designed for putting on live shows. The stage is large and high and is surrounded by low-rise buildings at the back and sides, there are no obstructions, multiple bars and the VIP area is not massive and is tucked away at the side.
I also missed most of Masters At Work (a.k.a. ‘Little’ Louie Vega and Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez), because I watching Spain’s World Cup game in the sports bar in the hotel, but from what I read on Twitter and postings from friends on Facebook, they went down a storm. Nile Rodgers was hanging out onstage talking to and taking photos of the audience as he so often does before a show.
Finally at 11.30pm, the lights dimmed, and the band and Nile walked onto the stage. Jamming away, Nile did the introductions, advising us that they’d be playing Chic songs and songs that he’d written for other artists, and requesting that we sing along with them. Then singers Kimberly and Folami made their entrance, turning their backs on us and holding us in suspense for what seemed like an eternity, before they launched into ‘Everybody Dance’ accompanied by occasional pyrotechnics firing out from the front of the stage. Followed by ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’, we all obligingly followed Nile’s instructions and spent the next two hours dancing and singing along to the songs that we all know and love so much, whilst intently watching everything taking place on the stage in front of us. With ‘I Want Your Love’, the deal was sealed and they had us in the palms of their hands.
Chic are all about funky disco rhythms accompanied with coordinated dance moves and stage outfits. Reinjecting a bit of disco glamour into Ibiza, tonight Nile and the girls were coordinated in gold, whilst the all-male musicians in the background (bassist, two keyboard players, drummer, tenor sax and trumpet) wore black trousers, white shirts and black ties. It may be nostalgia, but for me this harks back to the hazy days of the 60s and 70s and the Motown groups, when being coordinated onstage was de rigueur. They looked great and it’s all part of the team Chic show.
Next came a series of songs that Nile had written for other artists over the years, including a medley of tunes from Diana Ross and Sister Sledge, followed by Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’, Sister Sledge’s ‘Lost in Music’, Duran Duran’s Notorious, and a great disco-fuelled, rocky version of ‘Original Sin’ by INXS. Sister Sledge’s ‘I’m Thinking of You’ was dedicated by Nile as a tribute to Bernard Edwards, his late song-writing and Chic partner. Sheila and B. Devotion’s ‘Spacer’ ended this section of the show. Taking it in turns to sing the lead vocals, singers Kimberly and Folami were sexy and mesmerising, captivating us with their simple but stylish coordinated dance moves.
We had been promised some surprises in Nile’s promo video for the Hard Rock Hotel, and the best surprise of the night for me came up next, when they played ‘Get Lucky’, a song they’ve just introduced into the show. It was a funked-up version, and we sung and danced along harder – we got lucky! Continuing with another couple of Chic songs, we were treated to ‘Chic Cheer’ and ‘My Forbidden Lover’.
Periodically bassist Jerry Barnes would come to the front of the stage for a funky guitar duel with Nile. Nile himself, having got used to being on the centre of the stage these days, paces around mid song, going to each end of the stage to give the fans a closer look. It’s pure showmanship.
Next up was David Bowie’s ‘Lets Dance’, which saw drummer Ralph Rolle taking the lead vocals and lapsing into a bit of rapping. I’ve seen him do this before – it’s a fantastic version and always goes down a storm with the audience, and tonight was no exception. During ‘Le Freak’, Nile introduced the band members and each of them had their few seconds of solo glory.
They ended the set with ‘Good Times’, which morphed into segments of The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’ which sampled bits from Good Times back in 1979. The band was joined by the original singers from The Chic Organization, Norma Jean Wright and Alfa Anderson, along with Kathy Sledge from Sister Sledge, before the traditional stage invasion from those watching backstage (unfortunately members of the audience couldn’t get access to the stage). The audience was showered with silver metallic confetti and then silver streamers as the final bars rang out through the speakers. Good times indeed! And it wasn’t just us that enjoyed it. It’s obvious when you watch Chic live, that everybody is having the time of his or her life onstage. The band is the sum of its parts, but individually each of them is professional, have their part to play and play it to the full. They’re a team and they all clearly love playing with Chic.
I enjoyed Chic’s performance enormously, but the overall experience was marred by the inflated drink prices. Inside the venue a bottle of beer was 12 euros, whereas elsewhere in the hotel (in the sports bar where I watched the football) they were charging 5 euros for a caña. Considering that people have already paid for entrance to the venue, this price difference seems unjustified. When I go to a gig, having a few beers is all part and parcel of the experience. Last Friday the venue opened at 6pm and the party went on until 2.30am, and once in, you were not allowed to leave. This is a long time to be effectively locked into a place with expensive drinks. I’m sure the tourists will pay the prices, as they do elsewhere, but for many residents on the island the cost will be prohibitive, and going to a gig there will become a treat, reserved for an act that you really want to see, rather than a weekly occurrence. With no concessions on ticket prices for residents (as offered by Ibiza Rocks for example), going to the Hard Rock Hotel to see live music will be an expensive night out, which is a shame, as I and lots of people on the island were excited about having another venue for live music. It is a great venue and I will return, but only for someone I really want to see.
Good Times (the finale):
THE 1975 : SWIM
This week it was the turn of The 1975 and Swim Deep to take to the stage – two bands that were new to me, always an exciting prospect. Ibiza Rocks tends to book bands for the support slot who are up-and-coming and making waves in the UK, many of whom go on to greater things – some coming back to headline Ibiza Rocks in later years.
Swim Deep took to the stage about 9.20 on what was an unseasonably hot, but breezy June evening. The four-piece indie-pop band from Birmingham, accompanied by a keyboard player for their live shows, played their rhythmic, danceable tunes to an appreciative crowd. Playing songs from their debut album released in 2013 and the singles taken from it, they also played a cover of Carly Simon’s ‘Why (does your love hurt so much)’, which went down especially well. They ended their set with recent single ‘The Sea’, to much clapping and whistling from the crowd. A great live performance from a band that I hope will go far.
Billed by Ibiza Rocks as “the biggest British breakthrough band of the year”, the 1975 made a dramatic entrance to the stage: the stage went dark, the intro music sounded out, followed by white flashing lights and strobes and the appearance of the band. A four-piece band from Manchester, their jangly indie-pop resonated throughout the venue, and frontman Matt Healy swigged from a bottle and puffed away on fags (bands must love playing open air gigs where they can smoke freely) when he wasn’t pacing around the stage or playing guitar. The white flashing lights continued to provide additional drama throughout the gig. The crowd loved them and a sea of phones held in the air constantly captured the event. Their music wasn’t really for me, but you couldn’t fault their energetic performance.
Video of Swim Deep:
Video of The 1975 taking to the stage:
2014 heralds the 21st year of Ibiza’s Disco Bus. Below is not an awful google translate, it is in fact Disco Bus’ official English translation. We could have tidied it up, but there are football matches on, and we figure you can work it out. If you have never used the Disco Bus it is worth it even if you don’t need it. Nutter central—take your camera. In their own words “DiscoBus is the most safety, funny and cheaper transport you never find”. Bless them.
Top Tip—don’t assume you’ll get a place on the last bus, especially from Amnesia and Privilege—there is no queue, it’s just a bun fight for whatever seats are left. Get stuck in, or hang back, be cool, and chat to the locals. They’ll always know the best place to go next.
In 1993 we began to move you across the ibiza nights: a cheaper price for connect touristic zones with all the entertainment’s sites and discos of the island. Discobus is a regular bus night service that taking you to the party to the best discotheques of the world: Pacha, El Divino, Privilege, Amnesia, Space, Es Paradis And Eden. Remember that Discobus takes you in front the majority of hotels and apartments where you’re staying, and before go dancing, Discobus will drive you to supper or to the different atmospheres that you will find at the thousands of bars that in Ibiza island exist. With a time regularity that we try to improve each season, Discobus is the most safety, funny and cheaper night transport you never will find in Ibiza. Cheer up, get ready, whatever your age is, and get the Discobus guide for this season and enjoy our Ibiza night.
The main DiscoBus terminus stops are:-
Ibiza Port (in front of MacDonalds
San Antonio Bus Station
Playa Den Bossa Space/Tantra