Archives for posts with tag: DJ Ange

img_3249Back from an extended break in London, The Netherlands, Italy and Ibiza, it’s now time to get back into writing my reviews. But first things first, I need to catch up on what I did while I was away. Finding time to write up every event proved too much this year, and once I’d let it slip, I decided that the best thing would be to write up a single review covering every event of the summer in Europe.

img_3256First up, of course, was Luminosity Beach Festival, of which so much could be written. As always, it was the perfect blend of wonderful music, amazing sunsets, meeting old friends, making new friends and dancing to trance across three stages. So many highlights, as always, but there were a few that I have to mention.

  • The Thrillseekers, who opened with Sasha – Xpander (a bold move), and just got better and better, over three wonderful hours.
  • Orkidea, of course, who opened the new stage on the Saturday, warming us up perfectly for the day’s musical treats ahead.
  • Signum, who played another brilliant set and surprised me when he dropped the wonderful London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years (Solarstone Remix).
  • Liquid Soul, whose deliciously melodic psy-trance was perfect for the time of day.
  • John O’Callaghan, playing possibly my favourite tune of the year so far: Ludovico Einaudi – Two Trees (John O’Callaghan Remix).
  • John 00 Fleming, ripping apart the new stage as only he can do.
  • Paul van Dyk on classics day as the sun set. How good it was to see him back in action!


The festival gets bigger and bigger each year, and perhaps as it does so it loses a little of its charm and intimacy. But it’s still streets ahead of anything else in the world for trance fans and next year’s tenth anniversary, with an extra day’s music to enjoy, has been put firmly into our diary (tickets and accommodation already secured).

Back in London we had the chance to catch the latest dance:love:hub night, at Brixton’s Club 414. Sadly, The Digital Blonde had to cancel, but we still had a great time dancing to some warm, melodic psy-trance, courtesy of Jon Cockle, Façade and others. These events are notable for the friendly vibe and the brilliant decorations of the intimate 414 really made for a special night.


Our annual pilgrimage to Ibiza took us to Amnesia for Cream and what a great night it was too! Without a doubt, Amnesia is my favourite club in the world, despite the ridiculous bar prices. Jordan Suckley played a really good warm-up set, which I probably enjoyed more than I would a peak hour set in his normal style. Paul Oakenfold relied a bit too much on EDM drops over old Perfecto classics in the first half of his set, but got it spot on in the last 45minutes – so much so that I forgave him for what had gone before!


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, in his element as the Cream resident, played even better than his Luminosity set and showed that his remarkable recovery from the life-threatening fall at ASOT750 is all but complete. And then Aly & Fila tore the roof down with a brilliant set that showed Fadi at his absolute best. What a moment when he dropped The Thrillseekers – Amber (ID Remix) and we got to hear the other contender for tune of the year on the sensational Amnesia sound system!


At the other end of our Ibiza trip we were hugely disappointed when the news came through that Solarstone had broken his ankle in Majorca and was unable to play either the Connect Boat Party or the Connect Pure Trance night at Es Paradis. Still, the show must go on, and Sied van Riel was flown in to cover. He played back-to-back with Alex Ryan on the sunset boat party, which is definitely one of the best things about Ibiza.

Version 2The Pure Trance night went ahead without Solarstone, and there was a disappointing turnout for what proved to be a night of superb trance. Orkidea opened with a wonderful 90-minute set, Sied van Riel played a wonderfully trancey set and John 00 Fleming played one of the best two hours I’ve ever heard from him, closing with Tiësto – Suburban Train and Brainbug – Nightmare. With plenty of room to dance, we had a brilliant night.


In between the big events that bookended our week on the white isle, we managed several trips to the wonderful Tropi bar, making friends and dancing to tunes played by DJ Ange, Nathia Kate, Amy Parnell, Paul Stone and others. There really is no other bar like it, anywhere in the world and we even left Eric Prydz at Café Mambo early just to get back to Tropi!


Back in the UK and there was time for an overnight trip up to Manchester for the last ever Majefa night, at Sound Control. The main room of the club was absolutely rammed and, with little ventilation, it was a real sweatbox. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed John 00 Fleming’s set – very different from the tunes he played three days earlier in Ibiza and I’d really love to know whose remix of Binary Finary – 1998 he dropped.


After J00F it was time for M.I.K.E. Push Live – and despite the heat and the short amount of time he had to play (55 minutes), what an incredible set he delivered, including Plastic Boy – Silver Bath, Push – The Legacy, Push – Strange World and finishing with an amazing live rendition of Push – Universal Nation.


We also caught a bit of Matt Darey’s set in the downstairs room and really enjoyed listening to Ryan Hamer in the bar, especially when he dropped Sean Tyas – Lift. The after-party was a bit of a let down, because instead of the billed 4-hour set by Akira Kayosa, he shared the DJ’ing with at least three others and it was such a mess that between them they managed to mix from one tune back into the tune they’d just played.

Our final event of the year before we flew back to Australia was Wax Format at the Magic Roundabout at Old Street roundabout in London. A mostly outdoor venue meant that the sound lacked a lot of punch, but it’s actually a great setting and has a bit of the feel of Sydney’s Greenwood, without the religious buildings! It was a good chance to see lots of our London trance family and friends for the last time this year and the only slight disappointment was that Richard Durand’s set, whilst full of classics, such as Veracocha – Carte Blanche, Armin van Buuren – Communication and Binary Finary – 1998 (Paul van Dyk Remix), didn’t really live up to its In Search Of Sunrise billing. After Richard Durand finished, Sam Mitcham played a really good set to call a close to our musical tour.

So that wraps up the last three months. Hopefully I’ll be getting things back to normal now, with a dedicated review of each event I attend.

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The last two Trance Central events had been such fun that there was no way we were going to miss this one. The formula is pretty straightforward: take an intimate Oxford Street nightclub and add a roster of some of the best local DJs from trance’s early 2000s heydays and a crowd of old school clubbers. Combine with lashings of classic trance tunes and fantastic lasers and a great night is pretty much guaranteed.

The Oxford Art Factory is a great venue, providing space for people to dance, or drink and chat, if that’s what they want to do and the sound is pretty decent in most of the club (it gets too muddy in the bass if you get too close to the front). We arrived just as DJ Ange was starting her set and it really was a tour through the classics, including Armin van Buuren feat. Sharon den Adel – In And Out Of Love, Armin van Buuren – Shivers mashed with Love You More, Three Drives On A Vinyl – Greece 2000, Paul van Dyk – For An Angel, Tiësto – Lethal Industry, Oakenfold – Southern Sun, PPK – Resurrection and GTR – Mistral. What a great start to the night!

Andrew James, John Ferris and Jumping Jack kept up the assault of classic tunes. Robert Miles – Children, Faithless – Insomnia, Cosmic Gate – Fire Wire, Cosmic Gate – Exploration Of Space, Jens – Loops N Tings, Tiësto – Traffic, Darude – Sandstorm, Ferry Corsten – Punk. This was a night long on nostalgia for the great tunes of ten years ago and more.

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My favourite set of the night was Binary Finary‘s. In fact, it was just Sasha Vatoff at the helm, but that hardly mattered when he was dropping tunes like Rank 1 – Airwave, John O’Callaghan – Big Sky, Binary Finary – 1998, Armin van Buuren – Communication and Veracocha – Carte Blanche. He even managed to fit a couple of newer tunes into his mix without them sounding too out of place: Photographer – Airport and Binary Finary & Lele Troniq Feat. Christina Novelli – Waiting For The Sun.

With the great laser show put on by Man Lie (whose set earlier we had unfortunately missed), it all made for a great night and it was just a shame that we didn’t have the energy to stay through to the end and catch Amber Savage and Nik Fish. We also missed the pre-party, with a set from Misseloura, which, having heard online subsequently, I can tell you was great.

I’m not sure when Trance Central 6 is going to happen, but you can be certain that I’ll want to be there! And I’ll try to be there for all of it too!

 

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The Greenwood Hotel in North a Sydney is one of my favourite venues anywhere in the world: a deconsecrated church and courtyard slap bang in the middle of the commercial hub with no local residents to complain about the noise. With the surrounding office towers providing a great backdrop and creating perfect acoustics, all that is needed is sunshine – and Sydney’s pretty good at that. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world I know – a unique venue that should be used a lot more for trance events. Of course, people who’ve been around a long time will tell you about the awesome Sounds On Sunday events that took place at the Greenwood. I went to a few of the last of these and they were all great days.

In addition to the main stage in the courtyard, inside there are three rooms for dancing. This provided ample room for pretty much all of Sydney’s local trance and progressive DJs to play, as well as the six international names on the bill.

Ben Nicky is building himself a reputation as a 140 BPM DJ with his “Headfuck” branded remixes. But today he was the first of the internationals, starting at 3pm. Why this should be seemed something of a mystery but probably had a lot to do with DJ politics. Personally, I think he should have closed the chapel rather than warmed up in the courtyard. Whatever the reasons, I think it’s all wrong that these considerations should come before putting on the best possible event.

As it was, I did enjoy the set, although naturally it was heavily influenced by the time of day and I don’t think he got above 135. Tunes such as Ummet Ozcan – The Box, Simon Patterson feat. Lucy Pullin – The One, Markus Schulz feat. Fiora – Deep In The Night, Ferry Corsten – Punk, Mark Eteson feat. Audrey Gallagher – Breathe On My Own, PPK – Resurrection, DJ Tiësto – Lethal Industry, Motorcycle – As The Rush Comes and Gareth Emery – Exposure were mixed, mashed and headfucked alongside some much more commercial tunes like Armin van Buuren – This Is What It Feels Like, Porter Robinson – Language and Zedd – Clarity. There were some great moments and although I wasn’t into the more commercial tracks he played, it was pretty much spot on for the time of day.

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Ben Nicky gave way to Chris Schweizer and some electro/EDM beats soon filled the air. The courtyard was filling up nicely but I felt it was time to explore what the other rooms had to offer. All too briefly, we caught the end of DJ Ange’s set in the Back Room before, in the Side Bar, we found Dejan playing back to back with Tonto. It was still early in the day, but these two had no issues with banging out the classics: DJ Tiësto – Flight 643, Veracocha – Carte Blanche, The Thrillseekers – Synaethesia, Gouryella – Gouryella and even mashing up DJ Shah – Who Will Find Me? with John O’Callaghan – Stresstest.

The only negative about this set was that the sound in this room was very poor, with the bass often distorting and reverberating. Speaking with the DJs afterwards, I gather there were no monitors in the booth, making mixing much more challenging for them – but I certainly wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been told. After Dejan and Tonto, it was the turn of Big J and Zac Slade. They kept up the tempo and style perfectly even though they, too, were struggling with the problems described above.

With daylight saving having started that very day, it was still quite light well after 7pm and we ventured back outside to catch the end of Tenishia’s set, which seemed very commercial, including Dash Berlin – Waiting, Dash Berlin – Man On The Run and Armin van Buuren – This Is What It Feels Like. The crowd were certainly enjoying it, even if I find these tunes rather overplayed. As dusk was falling, the production was beginning to come into its own, with lights and lasers playing through the smoke. We had to move from the front because the smoke was flavoured with a pungent, sweet aroma, that I could only take so much of – but from a distance it helped create a great vibe with the lasers, lights and great sound system (although the sound was muddy near to the bars, it was fine once you moved closer to the stage).

Mark Sixma was the next international DJ and he played a style that I would describe as being somewhere between Anjunabeats and Coldharbour. Markus Schulz and Ferry Corsten – Loops N Tings, Push – Universal Nation, DJ Tiësto – Lethal Industry, Fisherman & Hawkins – Apache … great tunes that I really enjoyed hearing as the skies darkened. I was less wowed by tunes such as Above & Beyond – Sun & Moon, Dash Berlin – Man On The Run (one of several tunes we heard more than once!) and Above & Beyond – Thing Called Love. I imagine that extremely commercial tunes like these are needed to keep the bigger crowds at events like this involved with music that they are familiar with and its only the more seasoned regular trance aficionados who tire of hearing these tracks repeatedly. Overall I felt that Mark Sixma set the stage nicely for Andy Moor.

Andy Moor has been making great music for many years and we’ve seen him DJ at various nights and festivals over the last few years. The night that stands out for me was in Melbourne in November 2011, when he played a wonderful set that I’d mark down as one of the best from any DJ. Of course this sets a high standard that it’s not really fair to expect him to reach every time and there are always other factors that make events stand out in your memory, not all of them under the DJ’s control. But I’m a big fan of his artist album from last year – Zero Point One and hoped that he’d play a good selection of tunes from it. The courtyard was now set against a darkened sky and the great day-time sunshine-drenched setting had metamorphosed into a dramatic night-time stage in the cavernous gap between North Sydney’s office skyscrapers.

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Andy Moor’s set was a little slow to grab me but by the time he dropped Rank 1 – Airwave, Tiësto – Love Comes Again, Robert Miles – Children and John O’Callaghan – Big Sky, I was really enjoying everything about the event – the music, the venue, the production, the friends I was with. He also dropped some newer tunes like Ben Gold – Fall With Me and Omnia – The Light, but my heart sank when he played Armin van Buuren – This Is What It Feels Like (the third time I’d heard it in the day and for all I know, I may have missed it being played more than that!). And he seemed to take things down a notch in the last half hour of his set and I began to look at my watch, waiting for the final act on the main stage to commence.

That final act was Alex M.O.R.P.H., the large, bearded German DJ who always wears a trucker-style cap. We’ve seen him play quite a few times here in Sydney as well as in Europe, but the only time he’d really made an impression on me was most recently – at the Luminosity Beach Festival in Amsterdam. He started, as is the norm for him (Luminosity being the exception to prove the rule) with the Imperial March from Star Wars. I think he’s worked this to death and on this occasion it didn’t lead quickly into the kind of uptempo closing set I was expecting. In fact after 20 to 25 minutes he still seemed to be working the intro to his set and as the night was nearing a finish, I was looking for something a little faster-paced.

So we wandered into the Chapel where Krish Titan and Big J were playing back to back. They soon left the stage to VLN and although the music was good, the room wasn’t busy and we felt that it was time to call it a day – the offer of a lift to an after-party was too tempting to resist at this point. If Ben Nicky had been given this slot in the Chapel, I’m sure we would have stayed, the room would have been full and Alex M.O.R.P.H. would have had some competition for dancers.

This was a very good event – the organisation, the production, the line-up and the venue all being top-notch. Hopefully it is the first of many Genesis events at the Greenwood. My only criticism would be that with six international DJs and four rooms, perhaps it would have been possible to schedule the main acts across the two main stages – the Courtyard and the Chapel – thus providing more scope for the DJs to play to their strengths. So in assessing the event, I’d give it 8 or 9 out of 10 for line-up, organisation and production, 10 out of 10 for the venue, but only 7 for the music, which was great at times without ever reaching the standard of some of the recent events I’ve written about.

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I loved Trance Central 3 back in May and despite all the fun we’ve had in the meantime, in London, Ibiza and Amsterdam, I was really looking forward to another helping of old-school trance at the Oxford Art Factory. My only nagging worry was whether the magic could be repeated. The bill was largely the same as last time, with Man Lie replacing Binary Finary behind the decks, as well as taking care of the amazing laser display.

I’d heard Man Lie once before, at the Transience Gatecrasher-themed event, but had to leave before he really got into his stride. I’d noted then that I’d like to hear him again – so this was my chance. And because one of the other DJs had dropped out at short notice, Man had nearly two hours to entertain us as the club filled up. Dropping classics like Three Drives On A Vinyl – Greece 2000, Energy 52 – Café del Mar and DJ Tiësto – Lethal Industry, he was setting the tone for the night perfectly. And yet again the laser display was out of this world.

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Although the club filled up nicely during Man’s set, it didn’t get anywhere near as busy at it had been at the previous instalment of Trance Central. This meant that the intense, warm vibe of May’s event was not fully replicated and although it was a very friendly event, it didn’t have quite the same level of excitement as before. Andrew James took over from Man Lie and played a great set, including tunes like Paul van Dyk – For an Angel, B.B.E. – Seven Days And One Week and Ferry Corsten – Punk.

Next up was Nik Fish, whose set we had missed back in May. Personally, I didn’t like the style of music he played, although plenty of the clubbers present clearly did enjoy his set. But I was pleased when the time came for John Ferris to play – I knew I’d enjoyed his music last time. Sure enough, he played a great mix of well-known and lesser-known classics, including Rank 1 – Airwave, John O’Callaghan – Find Yourself, Armin van Buuren – Communication and System F – Out Of The Blue.

At 3am, it was DJ Ange‘s turn and she delivered another great set of old-school trance, including tracks like John O’Callaghan – Big Sky, DJ Tiësto – Flight 643 and Armin van Buuren – Control Freak (Sander van Doorn Remix). We had an appointment with the night bus to take us home, otherwise we would have been keen to hear Toby Matrix but the word on the street is that he played a great set to close the night.

This was a good night even if it failed to live up to the brilliance of the previous Trance Central – but that was such a high standard that this should not be interpreted too critically. The venue, lasers, music and crowd were all fantastic and only the numbers meant that the vibe was not repeated from last time. Bring on Trance Central 5 and another night of proper trance in a proper nightclub setting!

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Sunday is not the most obvious day for a club night, but we ventured out to the Rocks to check out a new addition to Sydney’s trance calendar – Orb, at Bar 100. It was a bit of a battle to make our way through the thronging masses out to enjoy the lights of the Vivid festival, but we arrived around 7pm to the strains of Delerium – Silence, which certainly set the tone for the evening.

The venue itself is really nice – stone walls, a very high ceiling and plenty of space to dance – and the lasers lit up the space above the clubbers to good effect. I wasn’t as impressed with the sound: maybe the acoustics don’t help, but there wasn’t enough bass in the mix and what there was seemed close to distortion at times. But I guess I’ve heard a lot worse and maybe it would be better if there were more people present. As it was, the fact that it was a “school night” was probably one of the reasons why the place was pretty empty for most of the time. It gave us a chance to chat with friends and catch up on the weekend’s events, against a backdrop of good tunes. And on a Sunday evening, that’s probably the right thing to be doing, rather than dancing like you don’t have to get up in the morning.

DJ JoJo and DJ Ange played a catalogue of well known trance tunes: Armin van Buuren – Shivers, Ascension – Someone, Lange vs. Gareth Emery – This Is All Out (strangely they both played this mash up of This Is New York and Let It All Out), Gareth Emery – Concrete Angel. We also got a large helping of Oceanlab from Ange – On A Good Day (happily not the mash-up with Metropolis), Lonely Girl (Gareth Emery Remix) and Sirens Of The Sea. Ange also dropped Jaytech – Stranger, Andain – Promises, Ferry Corsten – Live Forever and Not Coming Down and Dash Berlin – Man On The Run.

Because it was Sunday, we had to leave around 10:15pm or risk being turned into pumpkins by Sydney’s dreadful public transport. I left with the feeling that Orb has some potential, particularly with the nice venue, but that it may have to do more to pull in the punters on a Sunday evening, especially in the cooler months. The next instalment is at the end of July and we’ll be in Europe then, so I will have to rely on others to let me know how it goes.

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We only made the decision to go to Trance Central 3 at the last minute. It had been on our radar for a few weeks and I was pretty keen to give it a whirl, having missed the first two events under this banner. However, after a boozy afternoon by the harbour in Manly, the temptation to stay home on a cold night was strong. But we overcame the lure of a cosy night in and set off to the Oxford Art Factory in Oxford Street.  And I am so glad we did, because it was one of the best nights out in Sydney for some time.

The venue was new to me, but I liked it. Another smallish underground space of the kind that Sydney seems to do well. I thought the sound was a bit variable – in places it was very muddy, but in others it was just fine – so no real complaints on that score. There was a good crowd in – a few friends, but also a lot of unfamiliar faces … the promoters must be tapping into a different pool of clubbers than some of the others on the Sydney trance scene. As always with a true trance crowd, the vibe was great and everyone was really friendly.

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Before discussing the music, I must mention the lasers – operated by Man Lie and Terry Harvey. They put on a spectacular show to accompany the music – really enhancing the experience. Check out the video below to get an idea of how awesome it was.

Turning to the music, all the DJs were fantastic. There was nothing even remotely resembling “trouse” or “trance 2.0” and all the tunes were from the golden era of trance. I can’t be sure, but I expect there was nothing played that came out after 2005. Jumping Jack, Andrew James, Binary Finary and John Ferris all played awesome sets. But my highlight was DJ Ange’s set – great tune after great tune and lots of hands in the air! We’d planned to leave early (at 1am) but couldn’t drag ourselves away until about ten past three and even then it was a real wrench. That meant we missed Nik Fish and Toby Matrix (the running order was changed from the flyer above), which is a pity because I’m sure they would have continued the high quality of everything about the night.

As I said, lots of fantastic music – here’s a selection of tunes I noted down; Andy Moor & Adam White Pres. Whiteroom ‎– The Whiteroom, Ridgewalkers feat. El – Find, Ernesto vs. Bastian – Dark Side Of The Moon, Ferry Corsten – Punk, Tiësto – Flight 643, Jurgen Vries – The Theme, Rui da Silva feat. Cassandra Fox – Touch Me, Filo & Peri – Anthem, Tiësto – Lethal Industry, PPK – Resurrection, Armin van Buuren – Shivers, Paul van Dyk – We Are One (Giuseppe Ottaviani Remix), Sean Tyas – Lift, Three Drives On A Vinyl – Greece 2000, Cosmic Gate – Fire Wire, Binary Finary – 1999 (Gouryella Remix), BBE – Seven Days And One Week, Armin van Buuren – Communication.

This was a brilliant night – massive props to the promoters for putting it on.  I’m really looking forward to Trance Central 4 now and kicking myself for missing out on the first two.

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Just a few blocks up Pitt Street from Friday’s fun at Digital Therapy, we were back in the city for Genesis offshoot, Zodiac’s debut – at the Civic Underground.  The night’s star attraction was Colombian producer, KhoMha. The Civic Underground is my favourite nightclub in Sydney. Friendly bouncers and bar staff, an intimate space and a wonderful sound system combine to make it just about the ideal venue for clubbing. There were a few changes from the last time we were there, with a new platform above the main dance floor and the stage divided to provide more dancing space next to the DJ booth.  I think this is an improvement on an already great place – the multi-level dancing area created a feel that reminded me of the Favela nightclub in Kings Cross, before it closed.

We arrived early to catch Big J, playing a progressive set, very different from the night before, but ideal for the time, while people were getting the first drinks in and catching up with friends, no doubt many discussing last night’s fun. I wasn’t taking notes, but I do remember he played an old Komytea tune from Anjunadeep:01 – Electro House Is Dead.  DJ Ange was next – like Big J, she only had half an hour and before you knew it, Rodman and Sensualize were playing.

The final warm-up act before KhoMha played at 1am was Toby Matrix back-to-back with Anden.  By now, the Civic was filling up nicely and the dancefloor was getting very busy. Again, I wasn’t making notes, but the tunes they were playing were really building on and driving the sense of excitement and anticipation for what was to come.

KhoMha‘s set was simply fantastic – no other words to describe it.  We’d seen him twice in Miami in March and really liked both his club set, where he was just one of four Coldharbour acts on the bill – and the yacht party set, where he played to a select crowd after Jaytech headlined. This time around he was the main man and he revelled in it.  Mashing up so many great tunes: Ummet Ozcan – The Box; Rank 1 – L.E.D. There Be Light; Chemical Brothers – Hey Boy Hey Girl; and many more, he tore the place apart and the packed dance floor couldn’t get enough. He also dropped Markus Schulz & Jochen Miller – Rotunda, Nadia Ali – Rapture and his own The Dark Knight and Mind Gamer.

It’s rare to see such a great talent in such an intimate venue, where everything is just right – and, I suspect, very soon you’ll only be able to see KhoMha at festivals and in much larger theatre and arena-style venues. So this will definitely be a night that’s remembered for a long time. Hopefully Genesis will be able to put on more of these Zodiac events in future.

What a great weekend it was – both nights demonstrating the way ahead with good venues, up and coming international DJs and the locals doing a great job of warming up and supporting the star names.