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Is trance dying in Ibiza? I hope not. We all know how trance is thriving in Australia, but I wonder whether it still has the power to pull the Ibizan crowds? We had a lovely time spending ten days on the island, relaxing as well as dancing and we were lucky to hear some great DJs, but the events that were so good could have been better attended. Perhaps it was because we were going right at the start of the season? Perhaps additionally, the new events (Connect) or the re-scheduled ones (Driftwood and Sunk) need more time to establish their reputation and timing? Whatever the reason, both Driftwood and Connect are great events and deserve to succeed.

We arrived in Ibiza fresh from Luminosity. Or rather, exhausted from Luminosity! So it was nice to spend the first few days chilling and enjoying the sunshine. Our first big night out came on Thursday, with Cream at Amnesia, featuring Above & Beyond. Amnesia is my favourite club in the world and I’ve always had amazing nights at Cream. So it is all the more difficult to say how much I hated it this time around. The club was pretty much the same as always and it was very busy, if not absolutely rammed. The problem was the music. Jono Grant was representing Above & Beyond and the tunes he played were really not to my taste. Once upon a time, Above & Beyond could do no wrong in my eyes (or should I say ears?). But I’ve long realised that they are not playing the same style. Having said that, I managed to enjoy myself reasonably enough when I saw them at Amnesia a couple of years ago. Sadly, this was by a long distance the worst set I’ve heard from them. The trouse was bad enough, without butchered remixes of Oceanlab – Satellite and Above & Beyond – Alone Tonight that simply made me weep.

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A couple more days relaxing, visiting Formentera and, of course, Tropi Bar in San Antonio, were the perfect antidote and set us up nicely for the next few days of sunset boat parties and after-parties. First up was Driftwood. Driftwood promoter, Sam Mitcham got things going well and then handed over to Alex di Stefano, who played a wonderful blend of techno and trance that really set the afternoon up. Next was Fred Baker. I have to admit that I hadn’t really heard of Fred, but it seems that’s partly because he uses so many aliases as a producer and partly because he’s only just back DJ-ing after a lengthy break due to illness. Happily he seems to be over the illness now and that can only be good news because he is a great DJ and we absolutely loved his set. Indecent Noise played in his inimitable style and was the perfect DJ for a sunset boat party, with tunes such as Indecent Noise feat. Noire Lee – Glitches and Madonna – What It Feels Like For A Girl (Above & Beyond Remix). The afterparty at Club Summum sadly failed to bring in many clubbers, which was a real shame as Alex di Stefano, Fred Baker and Indecent Noise played some great tunes in their back-to-back-to-back set.

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The very next day we were back on the same boat, now with Connect branding, for another Ibizan sunset cruise. Opening up was Will Atkinson presents Darkboy, playing some dark progressive psy tunes to get things under way. Connect promoter Alex Ryan was next and things got trancier. As the sun got lower in the sky, it was time for the headliner, Jordan Suckley to play but the surprise of the day was when he decided he needed some help behind the decks and got Mark Sherry to take over for the climax of the sunset, which he handled perfectly by dropping Above & Beyond – Sun In Your Eyes (Mark Sherry’s ‘Argentinian Sun’ Remix). And to finish things off, there was a short back-to-back-to-back set with Will Atkinson and Jordan Suckley joining Mark Sherry as the boat returned to shore.

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Our last night out was a trip to Privilege’s Vista club for the onshore version of Connect. The line-up was similar to the previous day’s boat party but with the addition of Mark Sherry (who had played unofficially on the boat), Photographer and Bryan Kearney. We were convinced that after the Luminosity no-show, Photographer would again have visa issues and fail to make it to Ibiza. Sure enough, there was no sign of him all night, but that didn’t matter because I loved Mark Sherry‘s warm up set – not at all like his usual style, but showing great versatility and setting things up perfectly for Bryan Kearney. Every time I see him, I become more of a fan of Kearney’s. This set was not the equal of his tour-de-force at Luminosity; nevertheless it was a great set, filled with surprises, including finishing with Craig Connelly & Christina Novelli – Black Hole, no doubt as a tribute to Christina Novelli, who had been involved in a serious road accident earlier that day.

There’s plenty of good trance music available on Ibiza, but sometimes you won’t find it in the traditional places – like Cream Amnesia – and there’s a nagging worry that the audience for real trance isn’t really there in sufficient numbers, at least early in the season. I’d certainly be interested to see how the rest of the season progresses and wish all the real trance promoters on the island well as their efforts really deserve to succeed. And of course, there’s always the Tropi Bar in San Antonio’s West End, where great music is guaranteed – just watch out for the Gas Chamber cocktails!

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