20140724-000954-594353.jpgAfter the excitement and exhaustions of Luminosity Beach Festival, it was back to London with a bang, or rather, with a head cold. Three days’ recuperation in Amsterdam were good for the soul, but not the body, as the rain poured down on our aching bodies. However, we were pretty much straight back into the fray, with a visit to the Gallery at Ministry Of Sound on the Friday night to see Airwave, Neelix, James Dymond and Eddie Bitar.

So soon after my first experience of Airwave, this was an unmissable chance to see whether the genius he displayed at the festival would translate to the nightclub. And we weren’t disappointed in any way. This was probably the best warm-up / opening set I’ve heard in many years and no doubt the best that’s graced the Gallery at least since it left Turnmills all those years ago. Sensationally well paced and beautifully engaging, it just got better and better. Completely different from the Lumi set five days earlier, but delivered with the same engaging, infectiously enthusiastic style, it was gorgeous from beginning to end.

After that, Neelix had a tough act to follow. We’d missed him when he played Sydney’s Metro last year, because John 00 Fleming was DJing at the Chinese Laundry on the same night. So I was keen to hear what a live set by Neelix would be like, as his reputation has been built as a producer rather than as a DJ.

However, after the magic of Airwave, I was distinctly underwhelmed by Neelix. Too often the music would break down so completely that all we were left with was a vocal sample and a crowd uncertain about what was coming next, with the momentum utterly lost. That said, his many fans in the Box were clearly enjoying it, but I was glad that he only had an hour before James Dymond took over.

The next 90 minutes was fantastic fun as we took an uplifting journey through new tunes and remixed/updated classics, very much in the typical James Dymond style. By this stage, my energy levels were fading, but an injection of tunes such as 1998 and Adagio For Strings, as well as his own Siren’s Song kept me and everyone else going through towards 4:30am.

Eddie Bitar took over to close the evening and while his fans were out in force, we were now completely finished and had to make our way to the exit. One of these days I’ll manage to catch an Eddie Bitar set and no doubt discover what the fuss is all about. But for now, it remains on the to-do list.

Reflecting on the night and the changes at Ministry Of Sound since our last visit (in 2013), it was a good night, but not up with the best and I’m not sure the continuing changes to the VIP area are for the best – it’s becoming too much about table service and flashing the cash, which has never been my style or something that impresses me. But the music was great and the sound system in the Box is just fantastic. And those things will keep bringing me back.

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