Archives for posts with tag: Jordan Suckley

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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Having chatted with the guys from Genesis, the promoters, about this event beforehand, it was clear that there had been a lot of problems making it happen – especially when they had to abandon the idea of an outdoor setting in Parramatta, due to the number of conditions being imposed on them, which they felt were impossible to meet, and the very real prospect of it becoming yet another trance event closed down early.

But I’m so glad that they persevered and managed to make it happen, as Lucid Dreams was, in my opinion, a towering success and one of the best day time events I’ve attended in Australia.

Given the fact that the event had been relocated, perhaps I should start by talking about the venue – the Ivy Courtyard? This was a first visit for me and I was seriously impressed. It is really well laid out, with the dancefloor set deep in the canyon formed by the building rising on all four sides around it. And to the sides are plentiful bars, plus tables and seats for people wanting to take a break from the dancing.

The decor was tastefully stylish and the bright, warm weather contributed to the sense of the outdoors – even though this was not an outdoor setting in the style of the original Parramatta park location, or even a bush doof! Much more like an inner-city terrace or balcony rather than remote wooded scrubland! A $5 happy hour that ended (unhappily) at 2.45pm and free bottled water available throughout the day added to the sense that this was a great venue for a daytime party.

To complement the stylish venue was a friendly and diverse crowd, with psy-trance influenced tie-die and steampunk fashions dotted amongst more conventionally dressed partygoers. Everyone was out to enjoy themselves dancing to the music, rather than ‘see and be seen’ and the security staff seemed happy to take a back seat and were unobtrusive throughout.

IMG_2646Mention must also be made of the awesome sound system, pumping out a really good sound, whether in the main dancefloor area, which was open to the air, or in the side areas with their relatively low ceilings. Whoever is responsible for making this venue sound good has done a seriously good job managing the varying acoustics to produce sound as balanced and powerful as this.

Which brings me neatly to the reason we were all here in the first place – the music! We arrived only at the tail end of Freedom Fighters‘ set, to the news that the next DJ was running late. In these situations, there’s always wild rumours going around about what has happened, so it’s best not to speculate too much. But setting up, it did not appear that Day.Din was in any hurry to get going and he certainly gave the impression of someone who didn’t really want to be there at all. Eventually he got underway but (and I have to confess a complete ignorance of him or his style) I didn’t get into his music.


Having started late and seemingly unfussed, by the time he was due to hand over, he now appeared reluctant to give way, to the apparent annoyance of Liquid Soul who was due on next. Eventually he took his leave and with Liquid Soul now dropping the tunes, I really began to enjoy the music properly. Only twelve weeks had elapsed since his last set in Sydney (at Voodoo in November 2015) which I had enjoyed so much. And he was nearly as good this time around, with a set that seemed to have surprisingly few overlaps with last time around. We heard him play Paul van Dyk & Jordan Suckley – City Of Sound (Liquid Soul Remix), Liquid Soul – Crazy People, Liquid Soul & Captain Hook –  Liquid Hook, Liquid Soul & Zyce feat. Solar Kid – Science Fiction and Alex M.O.R.P.H. & Liquid Soul – The Journey.


Now it was time for Neelix. I have to be honest at the outset that, despite his status and popularity, I have never really got into his sound. This was the third time I’ve heard him play and I’ve always found his sets disjointed, partly due to the spoken vocal breakdowns, but also the feeling that it’s all stop-start at the point where he mixes from one tune into the next. So I’m not the person to ask how good his set was for his fans. I’ll just say that he managed to deliver the day’s most unexpected moment when he dropped a sample from Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven into his set, which also included many of his own productions, like Little Stevie and Expect What.


Next up was Jorn van Deynhoven and it didn’t take him long to get into a seriously uplifting trance groove. We were very fortunate a few years back to see him play a five-hour set at an Oxford Street nightclub, one that ranks among the very best I’ve ever heard live. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed his sets, but he’s never come close to repeating the magic. But this was easily the best I’ve heard him play since that afternoon at Nevermind. With just under an hour to play, he filled his set with a great selection of current and classic trance: The Thrillseekers – Synaethesia, Tiësto – Lethal Industry, Flynn & Denton and Audrey Gallagher – Say My Name, Ferry Corsten pres. Gouryella – Anahera, DJ Misjah & DJ Tim – Access (John Askew Remix), Orkidea – Purity (Sneijder Remix) and Filo & Peri feat. Eric Lumiere – Anthem.


After van Deynhoven, it was the turn of the massively talented Jordan Suckley. I really enjoyed his set – these days he seems to be using his wizardry more judiciously and letting the music shine through. Taking the tempo up a notch, he mixed in several updated takes on old school tunes: Tiësto – Suburban Train (Jordan Suckley Remix), Jaycee – Escape (Indecent Noise Remix) and a version of Energy 52 – Café del Mar that was completely new to me.

Finally the day’s fun was brought to a climax by the one and only Sean Tyas. Over the years I have seen him play some truly outstanding sets, but also some very disappointing ones. However, it does seem that he is back on form and this was the perfect closing set, banging out some proper trance, much of it taken from his recently released artist album, Degeneration. He played Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus (Eric Prydz Remix; Sean Tyas Rework), Sean Tyas –  Vagabond, Sean Tyas – Da Doo Da Dah (John Askew Remix), Sean Tyas – Now You See (Darren Porter Remix) and Sean Tyas – Unleash (Alex Di Stefano Remix).


Sadly the music had to stop at 8pm and the search for after parties began. An official after party with two or three of the days DJs showing what they could do after dark could have made it even better, but it was such a great day anyway that this didn’t really matter so much. After the various problems in making it happen, the Genesis team really deserve the plaudits for this and I hope it isn’t the last time we see a great trance line-up grace the Ivy Courtyard.

 

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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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Round two of our weekend down in Melbourne took place at the Festival Hall on Saturday evening. It’s been a few years since the Godskitchen brand last graced Australian shores. But it was returning in some style, with a line-up that certainly excited me, mostly for the opportunity to see Pure NRG Live, but all the DJs on the bill have delivered great sets in the past.

The Festival Hall in Melbourne is not an all-night venue, so the event was set to run from early evening to 1am. After the previous night’s fun with Neptune Project at Brown Alley (see below), we needed a late recovery brunch before heading to meet friends for pre-drinks and then onto Godskitchen. The first thing that struck us was the seemingly enormous and endless queue, but after exploring to check which gate we had to enter by, we discovered a much shorter queue, so we were inside pretty quickly and just in time for the start of Richard Durand‘s set.

Durand had also been part of Godskitchen when it last visited Australia in October 2011, but it was an extended set he played at the Gaelic Club in September 2010 that I remembered most fondly. However, I’d heard little about him in the intervening years and I suspected that he’d moved away from playing the kind of trance I love. Nevertheless, I was intrigued to hear what he plays these days, with no expectations from the set. Which was just as well, because I really didn’t like it at all. I found it to be lowest common denominator crowd-pleasing stuff, with EDM-style remixes and remakes of classics like Cassandra Fox – Touch Me and Energy 52 – Café del Mar, interspersed with tunes like The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up and John Legend – All Of Me (Richard Durand Remix). I thought the Legend tune was completely out of place at a dance event, but maybe that’s just me?


Next up was Giuseppe Ottaviani, one of my favourites, and a DJ more accustomed to playing late or closing sets than at 8pm. It certainly didn’t seem to put him off his stride, as he delivered a brilliant set that I really enjoyed dancing to. Dropping Paul van Dyk feat. Plumb – I Don’t Deserve You (Giuseppe Ottaviani Remix) early on helped to set the scene for 60 blistering minutes of driving trance in his inimitable style. We also heard Giuseppe Ottaviani feat. Alana Aldea – Heal This Empty Heart, Solarstone – Shield Pt. I, Giuseppe Ottaviani – Liverpool, Andain – Beautiful Things mashed with Aly & Fila – Underwater and Giuseppe Ottaviani feat. Amba Shepherd – Lost For Words. The hour flew by and before we knew it, Giuseppe was taking the applause and handing over to the next DJ.

That next DJ was Jorn van Deynhoven. People who know me well will know that I often talk about van Deynhoven’s set at Nevermind in July 2012. That afternoon he played one of those sets that will live in your memory forever. Booked to play an extended three hour set, he refused to hand over and ended up playing nearly five and a half hours of incredible trance. We’ve seen him a few times since and while he has never lived up to his brilliance that day, we have often enjoyed his sets, most notably at the recent ASOT 700 party in Sydney (see blog entry below). On this occasion, however, I was less impressed and felt that the first half of his set was lacking in direction and leaning far too heavily towards a “big room” sound, which felt like a wrong step after the trance that Guiseppe Ottaviani had played and had gone down so well.


I didn’t enjoy Armin van Buuren – Together (ASOT 700 Anthem) (Jorn van Deynhoven Remix, Mark Sixma – Adagio For Strings (what a truly awful remake this is) or Armin van Buuren feat. Laura Jansen – Sound Of The Drums. But to be fair, the latter part of the set was much better, from the moment he dropped Jorn van Deynhoven – Headliner and followed up with Orkidea – Purity (Sneijder Remix), Commander Tom – Are Am Eye (John Askew Remix) and Faithless – Insomnia.


As far as I was concerned, the real attraction of the night was Pure NRG Live – the combination of Giuseppe Ottaviani and Solarstone. This is a new venture for them and it is so much more than simply playing back-to-back. Indeed they have rejected the ‘B2B’ label in favour of Giuseppe’s preferred term, ‘M2M’, or musician-to-musician. Giuseppe has always rejected the label of DJ, as his sets are based around him playing live keyboards and remixing and mashing up on-the-fly. This approach has been extended to Pure NRG, with Rich Mowatt (Solarstone) also playing keyboards – and rather than just taking turns to choose tunes and mix them, as in a typical B2B set, both musicians are often performing simultaneously .


The result is quite simply sensational as they mash up their own tunes and create magic with old tunes, giving them a new lease of life, as well as giving us their take on some more current tracks. Amongst the many great tunes they played, I noted Armin van Buuren presents Rising Star feat. Betsie Larkin – Safe Inside You, London Grammar – Strong and Queen – Radio Ga Ga (what a stunning sound they made with this!). The highlights for me were the mash-ups they played at the end of the set: Nu NRG vs. Aly & Fila vs. Solarstone – Dream Fireisland and Ferry Corsten vs. Above & Beyond feat. Zöe Johnston – Galaxia Good For Me. I was quite simply blown away by how good this set was.


It was always going to be difficult for Jordan Suckley to follow such an incredible set. But Suckley’s uplifting 140 style is well suited to such occasions. Unfortunately, I found it rather anti-climactic and a bit stop-start and I never really felt he got into his stride. I think this was probably just a personal reaction, as he played some great tunes: 4 Strings – Take Me Away, John O’Callaghan – One Special Particle and Will Atkinson – Numb The Pain among them. My heart was just yearning for more Pure NRG! I really enjoyed Jordan Suckley’s set the last time I saw him, at Oxford Art Factory, but on this occasion, I felt he let his undoubted skills with the mixer get a little bit in the way of the music.


The night was not yet complete, however, as the local DJ, Sensualise, brought the night to a close with masses of energy and a great mix of psy-trance and some classics. Liquid Soul – Have You Ever?, Armin van Buuren presents Rising Star feat. Betsie Larkin – Safe Inside You, Tiësto – Traffic, Coming Soon!!! – Become One (Interactive Noise Remix) and a mashup including Cosmic Gate – Fire Wire and Neelix – Expect What. It was a great way to end the night and rather than drift away, the crowd stayed on to hear the local star smash it out in style. I think we’ll hear more from this guy.

We were tired now after two nights of dancing and it was time to head back for the chill out and post-party debriefing while others got ready to head off to one of the two official after-parties. It had been a fantastic two nights of trance and we’d heard some of the best music you could hope for from Neptune Project and from Pure NRG. A final word about the production at Godskitchen, which was fantastic. Sound so loud that your hair vibrated at first, until the room filled up, combined with a great lights, visuals and laser show made a perfect setting for the great music, although it was the music of Pure NRG for which I will remember Godskitchen 2015.

What a great year it’s been for trance. As well as some fantastic music, I’ve been lucky enough to attend festivals, boat parties and club nights around the world in six countries and three different continents! It’s really hard to compare a night out in Sydney with a festival set in the Netherlands, so there’s no ranking or order to this selection, but I have managed to whittle it down to ten fantastic nights/sets/experiences that will linger in the memory for many years. Actually, on a quick recount, I’ve only narrowed it down to 11, but that will have to do, as none of these deserves to be left off the list.

I’ve written about them all before, of course, so I’m not going to go into detail about each one. Rather, I’ll quickly summarise something about each that made it special.

In chronological order:

Simon Patterson at Voodoo, Home, Sydney – 21 February
This was the best Voodoo night so far. They’d fixed the sound, there was a great turnout and Simon Patterson delivered the goods in a three-hour tour-de-force late into the night (this was before the ludicrous new curfew law was introduced in Sydney). 

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Aly & Fila at Club Zouk, Singapore – 12 April
This was an unexpected, last minute treat, made possible by Ste and Ellen, and by Stuart – so big thanks to all three. Casting around for something to do at the end of our five-week SE Asian holiday, we discovered that Fadi would be playing in Singapore and all we had to do was get ourselves there from Kuala Lumpur. Thanks to fantastically cheap flights, we had a brilliant night and made new friends. And of course the music was sensational.

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Orkidea 1991-2000 Classics Special at Luminosity Beach Festival – 6 July
The whole festival could be listed here, as there is really nothing to compare to Luminosity Beach Festival for trance. But Orkidea’s set at the start of the third day stands out above all the others (and there were some amazing sets played). From Saltwater to Unity, it was goosebumps all the way and, without question, the best set I’ve ever been privileged to bear witness to.

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Aly & Fila on the Driftwood boat party, Ibiza – 28 July
Driftwood boat parties are the best thing about Ibiza and Fadi is not the kind of DJ to dial up the same set for sunset as he does deep into the night, so there was a completely different feel to his set from the one we heard in Singapore. As the overcast afternoon cleared up into a glorious, brilliant sunset and We Control The Sunset filled our ears with joy, there wasn’t a better place to be, anywhere in the world.

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Pure Trance Ibiza with Orkidea, Solarstone & Giuseppe Ottaviani at Sunk, Privilege, Ibiza – 29 July
I’m a huge fan of Solarstone and his Pure Trance brand of music. So a night in Ibiza which also included sets from both the collaborators on the first two volumes of Pure Trance was the perfect follow-up to the previous day’s boat party, as well as the chance to make new friends with fellow trance fans.

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Future Sound Of Egypt 350 at Ministry Of Sound, London – 22 August
Our last night in London for the year and only possible because we’d extended our stay so we didn’t miss it. The awesome Ministry sound system in The Box, with Solarstone and Aly & Fila playing great sets and our first chance to hear Standerwick play would have made it a top night anyway. But getting a chance to chat to Rich Solarstone and Ian Standerwick as well, not to mention the set from John Askew, make this probably my pick of the year as far as clubbing is concerned.

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140 with Jordan Suckley and Allen & Envy at the Oxford Art Factory, Sydney – 6 September
Our first night out in Sydney after we got back and this was an unexpected surprise. I’d been disappointed by both Suckley and A&E when I’d seen them in Holland, so the fact that they both played really great uplifting trance sets in a lovely, intimate venue made it a real treat. I hope there will be more 140 nights to come.

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J00F Editions with John 00 Fleming at Chinese Laundry, Sydney – 13 September
I’ve seen John 00 Fleming several times over the years, but this was easily the best, at least for me. The Cave isn’t everyone’s idea of a great room for dance music, but it’s simply perfect for J00F. No fancy light show, no stage for the DJ to be worshipped from, nothing but a great sound system and, now, improved ventilation. I’ll never forget the moment when I realised he was dropping Tiësto – Suburban Train, one of my all-time favourite tunes.

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Aly & Fila The Other Shore Tour at the Metro, Sydney – 4 October
This is the fourth entry for Aly & Fila on my list, but probably my favourite. Having seen him four times already in 2014, I thought I knew what to expect. But I was wrong. Fadi played a wonderful set, moving through psy-trance into uplifting and tore a hole in the roof of the Metro. He wanted to play another hour and it was a real pity that the only people there who didn’t want him to were the venue’s management, even after he offered personally to foot any extra costs!

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Digital Therapy with Ferry Tayle at 122 Bar, Sydney – 8 November
A really small, but completely packed out underground bar was the perfect setting for another great Digital Therapy night, with Ferry Tayle making his debut appearance in Sydney. The intimate setting, allied to awesome uplifting trance and great mixing made this one of the best Digital Therapy nights to date.

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RISE with Craig Connelly, Photographer, Harmonic Rush and Binary Finary at the Oxford Art Factory, Sydney – 27 December
This night is still very fresh in the memory, as I write. But I think it deserves to be included as the mix of psy and uplifting trance worked so well in a great venue, with stunning lasers. It looks to be the start of something very good for trance in Sydney.

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Lastly, this is a chance to say thank you to all my readers and wish them season’s greetings. And a special thank you to the photographers who have so kindly given permission for me to use their photos – Luke Davids, Anne d’Antimi and Alan Donaldson. Not forgetting all the awesome DJs and promoters for making it all happen.

Now … bring on 2015!

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Our first night of clubbing after our return to Sydney was at one of Sydney’s better venues, the Oxford Art Factory, featuring a couple of acts we’d seen recently as part of the Luminosity Beach Festival. In the Netherlands, we’d caught a bit of Allen & Envy at the very start of the festival, when the crowd was still arriving and at a time to which their uplifting style is not really best suited. And at the other end of the festival, at the after-party, we’d seen Jordan Suckley playing back-to-back with Adam Ellis in an overcrowded club with no ventilation and shockingly poor acoustics. I say this only as explanation of why we were a little unsure how much we’d enjoy this night.

We arrived in time to catch Tonto playing back-to-back with Amy Parnell, dropping some great uplifting trance tunes – classics and more recent tracks – such as Paul van Dyk – For An Angel, Fictivision vs C-Quence – Symbols (Will Atkinson 5000 Remix), Paul van Dyk feat. Plumb – I Don’t Deserve You (Giuseppe Ottaviani Remix), Neptune Project – Lost All My Tears (Noble Six Remix) and ReOrder & Ian Standerwick pres. Skypatrol – Folding Your Universe. It set things up very nicely for the night as we caught up with friends we hadn’t seen for a couple of months or so.

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I really like the Oxford Art Factory – it has a bit of the feel of a live music venue, but adapts well to being used as a dance club. The sound is generally pretty good, although you sometimes have to move around to hear it at its best, and there are seating areas at the back at mezzanine level if you need to take a break. Added to which are friendly and efficient bar staff and security. All in all, it’s definitely one of my favourite Sydney venues.

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After Tonto and Amy Parnell, it was the turn of Jordan Suckley and he quickly turned up the heat with his technical skills on the decks and mixer. At first I thought that he should let the music speak for itself a little more and keep the wizardry to a minimum, but it didn’t take long for me to stop worrying about that – and by the end I was completely won over. Perhaps it was when he dropped Ferry Corsten – Radio Crash that I first began to sense I was really enjoying the music, but by the time he had mixed from Ferry Corsten – Beautiful into Andain – Beautiful Things, played Armin van Buuren feat. Aruna – Won’t Let You Go (Standerwick Remix), John Askew – Plush and Binary Finary – 1998 (Jordan Suckley Remix), I knew that any doubts I’d harboured about him had been completely misplaced. It was a fantastic set and I’m definitely looking forward to the next time I can see him.


That was a tough act to follow, but at 1.30am it was time for Allen & Envy. This duo has shot to fame recently, on the back of their remix of Silhouette by Dart Rayne & Yura Moonlight feat. Sarah Lynn, which was definitely one of the best tunes of 2013. As DJs, they clearly have a lot of fun, dropping nothing but uplifting trance – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps their set featured too many extended breakdowns and was less well structured and mixed than the journey that Jordan Suckley had taken us on? But you can’t complain when everyone is having so much fun and they are playing tunes such as ReOrder & Darren Porter – The Void, The Thrillseekers & Standerwick – Like They Used To, Flynn & Denton and Audrey Gallagher – Say My Name, Standerwick – Valyrian, Ferry Tayle – The Way Back Home, Will Atkinson – Victims, Aly & Fila – Laily (Photographer Remix) and, of course, Dart Rayne & Yura Moonlight feat. Sarah Lynn – Silhouette (Allen & Envy Remix). Whilst I think I’d have to say that Suckley’s was the better set, I enjoyed Allen & Envy nearly as much.


We had to leave, but it was quite a wrench leaving as Scotty G opened his set with Aly & Fila – We Control The Sunlight. But it was time to rush for the bus home and reflect on a really top night out. Hopefully there will be many more 140 nights to come from Genesis. It’s a great formula – uplifting trance at the Oxford Art Factory – and with a good crowd in, it looks like the Sydney trance family agrees.

20140719-171905-62345633.jpgNearly a fortnight has now passed since the festival finished and we bade farewell to the United Nations of trance families. Old friends and new, from countries as diverse as USA and Finland, Australia and South Africa, Israel and Iran, The Netherlands (of course) and Brazil. And all assembled on the edge of a windswept North Sea beach to celebrate a common love of trance. If you are a fan of real trance music, this is quite simply the best festival anywhere in the world. Which is why people travel from far and wide to share their passion for the music.

20140719-172123-62483383.jpgThere are so many things that set it apart from other festivals – think about the things that you don’t like about the festivals you’ve been to recently … well Luminosity is free of these irritations, whether it be commercial EDM or roided-up bogans (to use a great Australian term), causing mayhem with their showy, aggressive posturing and inability to control themselves after a few beers. There are some things that are annoying … the toilet wristband principal among them … but it’s silly to whinge about minor issues when everything else is so good.

Of course, there are two stages and fantastic trance DJs playing simultaneously on both, so inevitably you miss out on lots of great music, the consolation being that you hear great music and sets on the other stage. The list of DJs whose sets we missed would make a great festival line-up on its own. Sean Tyas, Menno de Jong, Simon Patterson, Lange, Andy Moor, Oliver Lieb, Eddie Bitar, etc. And we couldn’t catch all of the sets of many DJs, drawn by the rival attractions on the other stage.

20140719-235354-86034586.jpgFriday 4th was the day everyone was gathering from around the world. Meeting friends at Schipol Airport and catching up as we caught two trains out to Zandvoort and checked ourselves into the hotel. Only just time to unpack before heading to Club Fuel on Bloemandaal beach, the festival site. Switching strategically between stages we managed to catch some of Allen & Envy (yes, they did drop Silhouette), Activa, Christopher Lawrence, James Dymond and John 00 Fleming.

20140719-172702-62822236.jpgEarlier we heard the whole of Signum‘s set, which was, perhaps unexpectedly, the highlight of day one for me. It was hard to pull ourselves away from J00F’s excellent set, but we were so keen to see Angry Man over on the Sunrise Beach stage that we left before the end. And after Angry Man, we stayed for Bryan Kearney, who played a fantastic set to close the Sunrise Beach stage that night.

After a few late vodkas back at the hotel, we dragged ourselves up in the morning and went in search of lunch. Finding a friend celebrating her birthday, it was the perfect opportunity to start the day with some prosecco and blow away the cobwebs from the night before. We hurried to the beach to make sure we didn’t miss any of Driftmoon‘s set. I’m such a fan of the Howl At The Moon track that Solarstone picked out for his Pure Trance Volume 2 CD that I really wanted to hear what a full set of Driftmoon tunes would be like.

20140719-172826-62906042.jpgAnd while all the women were commenting on the eye-candy factor, I was bewitched by the ear-candy. It was such a great set and when we met him later, we discovered that he’s a really nice guy too, clearly enjoying playing his music to appreciative trance lovers.

Driftmoon handed over to Re-Order (a fellow Slovak and one half of Skypatrol with Ian Standerwick). What a great time he had, and so did we, as he played a rollicking set of tunes and having a great time behind the decks – obviously a real character.

20140719-234348-85428044.jpgAs the end of Re-Order’s set approached, we moved across to the Copacabana Beach stage for Arctic Moon. The start of his set was assailed by technical problems, but he soldiered on and soon hit his stride, jumping around with delight as much as the crowd when he dropped Armin van Buuren – Communication. I’m not a huge fan of the way he brings indie tunes into the trance arena, for example his mash-up of REM – Losing My Religion with Arctic Moon & Bryan Kearney – Dreamers and Dreams. But I’m obviously in a minority as most people loved the way he drew the set to a close.

Ferry Tayle took over and we enjoyed the half hour or so we heard before switching stages to catch Aussie Matt Bowdidge. Perhaps because he’s a friend, I sometimes feel slightly reluctant to shower too much praise on Matt, but I think we have very similar tastes in music and I always love his sets. This time he played a number of new tunes of his, but the fact that they were unfamiliar to me hardly mattered as I just loved everything he played. He even managed to drop one of my favourite trance classics, Sean Tyas – Lift, perhaps in acknowledgment of the fact that by dancing to his set, we were missing out on seeing Tyas himself. As I said, I always enjoy Matt’s sets, but this was the one I enjoyed most so far.

20140719-234548-85548856.jpgAfter Matt’s set, we caught Manuel Le Saux on the main stage and the end of Johan Ekman on the smaller stage. But we were just killing time before Adam Ellis, whose productions and “The Void” podcasts have really caught my ears in the last 12 months. And I wasn’t disappointed – even though I had been warned that his mixing wasn’t top notch, the choice of tunes was so good I didn’t even notice and against tune selection, mixing skills matter far less, anyway. His remix of the Thrillseekers feat. El – The Last Time was great to hear, as was his remix of John O’Callaghan feat. Audrey Gallagher – Big Sky. And it really didn’t matter that he didn’t play his own Napalm Poet. It was a great conclusion to another wonderful day.

Sunday was all about the classics on the main stage and we knew we had to be on time for the start at midday, so that we wouldn’t miss a note of Orkidea‘s 1991-2000 opening 2 hour 45 minute set. We duly arrived to hear Chicane – Saltwater (The Thrillseekers Ambient Remix). It was the first of many great moments as we heard so many tunes that brought us out simultaneously in goosebumps. He moved from New Order – Blue Monday into Three Drives – Greece 2000. From Armin van Buuren – Blue Fear into BT feat. Jan Johnston – Mercury & Solace. From Bedrock – Heaven Scent into Sasha – Xpander. And finally from Energy 52 – Café del Mar into Orkidea – Unity.

20140719-234733-85653241.jpgThe whole set was mixed beautifully and as the crowd grew and everyone became more and more beguiled, it became apparent that we were sharing one of those special moments that don’t come along very often. I’d go as far as to say that it was the best set I’ve ever heard live. I was completely transported and utterly blown away by Orkidea. In a festival of the quality of Luminosity, it’s hard for one DJ to stand out so clearly above the others, but this was one of those occasions that you know will live forever in your memory.

After Orkidea, we had to do something very different and luckily we could switch away from the classics stage to hear Jaytech on the Sunrise Beach stage. We enjoyed his progressive tunes and, together with a break from the music while we chatted and caught up with Jimbo once he’d finished, this gave us suitable refreshment to return to the classics stage for Airwave‘s Bonsai Classics Specials set.

20140719-234846-85726086.jpgI’d never heard Airwave play before, but he completely won me over with his great tunes and infectious smile. Many of the tunes weren’t so familiar, but he dropped Push – Universal Nation and Push – The Legacy, two of my favourites, and lots of other great tracks, including many of his own productions and remixes. I loved it. On any other day it would probably have been the standout set, but on this occasion, there was no shame in being second best behind Orkidea.

It was clear that Super8 & Tab‘s Anjunabeats Classics set was eagerly awaited by many of the festival attendees, but as they gathered behind the stage, waiting to take over from Scott Bond, it became clear that many of their fellow DJs were also keen to hear what they would play. This is one of the features of Luminosity, that the DJs hang around to hear each other as opposed to rushing home, or sitting in the green room. But more than any other set, the sheer number of them gathered in the wings indicated that this was the set everyone – DJs and fans alike – wanted to hear.

20140719-234950-85790228.jpgAnd no-one was disappointed. It was a wonderfully nostalgic journey through the great years of the Anjunabeats label. Perhaps the early part didn’t quite catch fire, but the second half was thrilling and everyone was delighted by the way they moved from Above & Beyond pres. Tranquility Base – Razorfish, to Super8 & Tab – Helsinki Scorchin’, Oceanlab – Satellite, Luminary – Amsterdam (Super8 & Tab Remix) and Above & Beyond feat. Richard Bedford – Alone Tonight.

After the delights of Orkidea and Airwave, this was more wonderful music on the best of the three days of the best festival. If I seem to be struggling to come up with enough superlatives to describe this day, it’s because words really can’t do justice to the experience. Find and listen to these sets, but remember that nothing beats hearing them live, among so many friends and fellow enthusiasts of trance. And make sure that if you ever have a chance to go to Luminosity, you grasp it with both hands. It will be a life-enhancing, if not life-changing experience.

We also caught The Thrillseekers and Jorn van Deynhoven before the end of the festival and Adam Ellis back to back with Jordan Suckley at the after party. We finally called it a day while Indecent Noise banged out some harder tunes because the afterparty venue was too hot and the sound was awful in the only part of the club where we could breathe.

20140719-235530-86130882.jpgThe Thrillseekers had been the highlight of my first Luminosity Beach Festival in 2013, but this time, despite dropping some great tunes, I felt he never quite got into his stride. Maybe I was audiologically saturated by Orkidea, Airwave and Super8 & Tab? While I liked the tunes, the set as a whole failed to excite me as it did last year.

Trying to summarise this festival is an almost impossible task. There are so many great things about it. The music, the vibe, the people, the sense of community, the way the DJs are just another part of the crowd. Meeting friends you haven’t seen for ages. Making new friends you know you’ll keep for good. The absence of idiots out to spoil others’ fun. The sheer quality of the music. This is the best festival in the world for trance fans and if you haven’t been, please put it at the top of your must-do list. I am sure you won’t regret it.

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Many thanks to the wonderful Alan Donaldson Photography for the use of his brilliant photos.

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It was billed as a summer party and, unbelievably, the London weather delivered the heat and sunshine to fit the occasion! It was our second time at Trance Sanctuary, an event that is run by a very good friend of ours – who also DJs as Messy A – and friends of his. Since our last visit in September, it has moved from Raduno in Farringdon to a larger venue – Egg, near Kings Cross.

Trance Sanctuary is an afternoon into evening event, rather than a night-time trance party and we arrived in blistering heat, so much so that I nearly fainted. But after a quick sit-down and drink of water, I was fine and we greeted friends we hadn’t seen for ten months, explored the club and took advantage of the happy hour drinks.

Egg has two rooms, plus an outside courtyard. This was a perfect arrangement for the weather, but inside the air-conditioning struggled in vain to keep the temperature down. Fortunately we found a spot just under one of the air-conditioning vents, so we stayed cool enough to dance – but everyone was extremely grateful when free ice lollies were handed round!

The first set that we caught was from Mark Landragin (another of the event promoters) and he was playing some good tunes, such as Rank 1 vs. Jochen Miller – The Great Escape. He handed over to the first of the headliners, Bjorn Akesson. We didn’t think much to the first three or four tunes, very EDM-style trance (if indeed you could describe it as trance at all). So we decided to go and bask in the sunshine outside for a while. We returned for the end of Bjorn Akesson’s set and by then he was playing tunes much more to my liking, including the one he’s probably best known for – Painting Pyramids.

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Next up was Jordan Suckley. He’s about to tour Australia, while we are away – so it was perfect for us that we could see him in London. I really loved his set – a truly uplifting trance journey. The tunes he dropped included his new remix of the classic by Binary Finary – 1998 and a wonderful remix of John O’Callaghan – Out Of Nowhere. The set was so beautifully constructed and delivered that it flew by and I almost forgot how ridiculously hot it was on the dance floor.

After Jordan Suckley, it was the turn of Matt Bowdidge. Matt’s a good friend of ours and also played at Trance Sanctuary the last time we were in London, last September, so they obviously rate him highly. It was another great set, delivered in style – uplifting and banging from the word go, right through to the end. Several tunes got a great reaction from the crowd, including his latest release, Still By Your Side, and his tune on last year’s Future Sound Of Egypt Vol 2 – No Room To Breathe.

After Matt’s set we needed a break from the heat and by now it had cooled down outside. But soon we were keen to head back in to catch the night’s last set, by North & Sanchez. At first I was rather unsure of it – I’m not a fan of Gareth Emery – Tokyo. But after a while the vibe became more uplifting trance and we only left right at the very end, while they were playing the classic by Vincent de Moor – Fly Away.

While I have to admit some bias, because of the involvement of my friends in this event, I must say that I absolutely love Trance Sanctuary. It was one of my highlights of last year and this year’s summer party was just fantastic too. A great venue (bar the inability of the air-conditioning to keep the temperature down), a brilliant line-up and lots of friends among a really nice crowd makes for a combination that’s hard to beat. It’s just a pity that we won’t be in London for their next party, with Arctic Moon and Bryan Kearney. But if you happen to be in London on September 14th – make sure you don’t miss it!