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It was a tantalising prospect: Juventa and The Thrillseekers at Home nightclub on Friday and John 00 Fleming (or J00F) at Chinese Laundry on Saturday. I knew little about Juventa, but Steve Helstrip, aka The Thrillseekers, is a true legend of trance, primarily for his classic tune, Synaesthesia, which has to rank amongst my all-time favourite tracks. John 00 Fleming has also been around a long time, staying true to his underground, pure trance beliefs, with a style that blends uplifting and psy. I’ve seen him several times, but never before for an extended five-hour set.

But first let’s talk about Friday night’s Voodoo event. It was clear from the start that the club was not very full and the upstairs balcony area had not been opened up. But it wasn’t deserted as Juventa started just on the stroke of midnight. The latest from the seemingly endless Dutch trance DJ production line, Juventa is just 18 years old, so inevitably his style is more towards the Anjunabeats / Enhanced style of today. But he gave his set a definitively trancey feel, without too much overtly electro influence. He even managed to drop in a couple of old Tiësto classics – Love Comes Again and Flight 643. I enjoyed his set much more than I expected – perhaps because I didn’t really know what to expect and was worried it would be very trousey. 

The Thrillseekers started at 2am and immediately the tempo moved to the 138 BPM, uplifting style that I love so much. After his fantastic classics set at Luminosity Beach Festival, I was really excited to hear him again so soon. And I wasn’t disappointed – he played just over two hours of amazing tunes, blending classics (like Solarstone – Solarcoaster, Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan – Silence (Tiësto’s In Search Of Sunrise Remix) and Push – The Legacy) with many of his own wonderful tracks – Song For Sendai, Anywhere With You (feat. Stine Grove), The Last Time (feat. Fisher), Everything (feat. Stine Grove) and, of course, Synaesthesia. And just after 4am, he dropped a psy-trance track that blew me away – I’d love to know what it was. Eventually it had to end, and he closed with Veracocha – Carte Blanche: a brilliant way to finish a simply fantastic set.

Unfortunately, a lot of the clubbers who had enjoyed Juventa’s set didn’t hang around to find out how good The Thrillseekers was. It says a lot about the state of the local trance scene that the younger trance fans aren’t keen to see a legendary act such as The Thrillseekers and maybe they don’t have the same response as I do when the music becomes uplifting. A real shame, because a set like that deserved a full house and an amazing response. However those who did stay were well-rewarded and had plenty of space to dance enthusiastically to the great music.

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The following night saw us back in the city, this time at Chinese Laundry, for J00F Editions with John 00 Fleming. The Cave room is not to everyone’s taste, but I like it. The sound is fantastic and the set-up with the DJ booth in the corner, unelevated, and only the simplest of lighting, means that it’s all about the music. It can get packed and very hot in there, but not on this occasion.

The only negative for me was that the security was so intrusive. I can’t remember seeing a yellow flouro coated bouncer in there before, but tonight there must have been five or six of them. One of them stood up on the barrier to the DJ booth all night, inspecting the crowd – it felt a little intimidating. And on several occasions, bouncers pushed their way aggressively through, without any hint of apology for knocking into people. And the only thing that seemed to worry them was people dancing in front of the emergency exit – it’s hard to figure out why that was a problem anyway. It’s never been like that before in the Cave and there was nothing in the behaviour of anyone there that remotely justified it.

J00F’s set was typical of his dark, driving style of trance. He gets you into a groove and doesn’t let go. But if I’m completely honest, I prefer to have more melodies in my music and, feeling a little tired after the amazing night with The Thrillseekers, I wasn’t overwhelmed by this set. Perhaps if he’d had less than five hours to take us on the journey, I’d have enjoyed it more. In the end, we decided to leave about an hour before the end.

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