Archives for posts with tag: Menno de Jong

I’ve heard Menno de Jong play deep, cruisy, progressive opening sets, I’ve heard him play peak hour uplifting trance and I’ve heard him bring nights to a close with psy trance and with classics. But until now I’d never had the chance to catch him do the lot in a single night with one of his renowned Menno Solo events. So, knowing that his supreme versatility with all forms of trance makes him one of the most capable of playing open to close, I was really looking forward to this night.

The production these days at Home nightclub is seriously impressive – sound, visuals and lasers all of the highest standard. But what makes a night is always the music and Menno gave us a tour de force as he played five and a half hours taking us from more progressive sounds before midnight towards a suitably banging finale with plenty of classics thrown in.

It was Halloween and there was a big crowd of university students, many in fancy dress and I wasn’t sure if they’d be sufficiently into trance to stay the distance, but in fact the dance floor remained busy right to the end, as Menno put together a superbly paced set and I loved every moment.

img_3955Some of the tunes I enjoyed most were: Mekka – Diamondback (Adam Ellis Remix), Menno de Jong & Adam Ellis feat. Kate Louise Smith – Set To Sail, Menno de Jong feat. Noire Lee – Creatures Of The Night (Adam Ellis Remix), Lost Tribe – Gamemaster, Ludovico Einaudi – Two Trees (John O’Callaghan Remix), John O’Callaghan – Stresstest (John Askew Remix), John O’Callaghan – The Forging Of Steel and Rank 1 – Airwave.

As 3am approached, the night reached its climax with Tiësto – Suburban Train, Paul Oakenfold – Southern Sun (DJ Tiësto Remix) and the encore, System F – Out Of The Blue. I didn’t want it to finish and cursed yet again at Sydney’s ridiculous lockout rules that wouldn’t allow the fun to continue. If only Home was on the other side of Darling Harbour!

I’ve really enjoyed the recent run of open to close nights, which are a breath of fresh air compared to the nights with so many DJs on the bill that they only get an hour each. So long may this happy trend continue!


13043375_1554929831473639_1311821522810120838_nAmongst the most iconic brands in the history of trance, Godskitchen announced earlier this year that it was going to bid us all farewell after one last dance, or rather four last dances, in Sydney, Melbourne and twice in Birmingham. It’s impossible to overstate the importance and influence of the Godskitchen brand on the history of trance from its origins in the 1990s. Its passing will confirm the opinions of those who say that trance is dead, especially after the unseemly crash and burn of the other iconic brand, Gatecrasher, a couple of years ago. However, with so much good music being produced these days and huge audiences for trance still apparent in many parts of the world, including Australia, I think there’s life in the genre yet.

And yet we were somewhat reluctant to attend the Sydney segment of the funeral rites, partly because the venue is a difficult trek out west for us beach-folk, but also because the overall feel of the line-up and the fact that sets would not be longer than one hour failed to inspire us sufficiently. But I’m glad we relented and gave way to the gentle arm-twisting we received in the weeks leading up to the event, because it was a spectacular farewell and we really enjoyed ourselves on the night as both music and production surpassed expectations.

Having studied the set times carefully, we opted to arrive for the end of ATB‘s set, and as we walked in, we heard him dropping Rank 1 – Airwave, a great classic, but before we could catch breath he had picked up the mic and was exhorting everyone to put their hand in the air, or something similar, for his last song. I don’t know anyone who responds well to this kind of intervention from the DJ, but I know it’s integral to ATB’s style. Let’s just say that I’m glad we missed most of his set!

Next up was Susana, the wonderful Dutch singer, to perform a few of her songs live, including RAM – RAMelia, Susana – Closer (sung as a mash-up over Ferry Tayle – Lozza) and Armin van Buuren vs. Photographer – Airport Shivers. I know I wasn’t alone in bemoaning the fact that it wasn’t the original version of Shivers, but overall the 20 minutes of Susana’s was most impressive. Not many singers can perform so well in the live environment, but she really belted out the songs without dropping out of tune. It was also nice to see her mingling with the crowd after her set, although not many people seemed to spot her presence near the back!

After Susana, it was time for Super8 & Tab, the Finnish duo, and they put together a pretty good set, including some classics as well as a good few of their own tunes. They dropped BT & Super8 & Tab – Aika (Rafaël Frost Remix), BT – Flamin’ June (Ashley Wallbridge Remix), Above & Beyond feat. Justine Suissa – Little Something (Super8 & Tab Remix), Super8 & Tab – Mega, Super8 & Tab feat. Julie Thompson – No Frontiers and Super8 & Tab – Moonbow. And they closed their hour with Luminary – Amsterdam (Super8 & Tab Remix). Although I do prefer the Smith & Pledger remix of this great tune, it was the perfect way to finish and overall, I really did enjoy this set.

Along with the great music, the visual experience was simply stunning. With an enormous circular screen projecting images and surrounded by lights and lasers dancing around the Godskitchen angel, the whole production was quite breathtaking. The sound was really good too and taken together with the visual show, this production was better than anything I’ve seen before by some distance.

The next set was from Cosmic Gate, the German duo, who swung between hard trance and trouse over the years. Tonight’s set was much too close to the latter for my tastes, with tunes like Above & Beyond – Black Room Boy (Club Mix), Cosmic Gate & JES – Yai (Here We Go Again) and Ilan Bluestone – Big Ben. The remix they played of Cosmic Gate – Exploration Of Space was quite hard to listen to, so far from the original’s pace and emotion, and including electro-style elements. But they redeemed themselves slightly with the Alex Di Stefano remix of Cosmic Gate – So Get Up, before closing with Dash Berlin with Cerf, Mitiska & Jaren – Man On The Run (Nic Chagall Remix).

Just two hours left, and the first of these from Simon Patterson, who had played his part in a fantastic open-to-close set back-to-back with John Askew at Voodoo so recently. A solitary hour wasn’t really enough for him to demonstrate his talents to the full, but he played a great set, even if I find some of the breakdowns in psy-trance a little too much of an interruption to the musical flow. There was a good selection of his own tracks in his set, including Evoke (with Magnus), Now I Can Breathe Again (with Lucy Pullin), Apex and Thump. He also dropped the classic tune by The Prodigy – Voodoo People.

So now we had just one final hour to dance and there’s no doubt that the Godskitchen white angel had held back the best till last. I’m a big fan of Menno de Jong, the tall Dutchman, who never lets you down and has an incredible versatility, whether opening an afternoon boat party in Miami, or closing a massive night such as tonight in the small hours. He managed to marry some of the very best tunes of the here and now with some of the ultimate classics in a perfectly judged set that truly befitted the Godskitchen brand. So we heard Menno de Jong feat. Noire Lee – Creatures Of The Night (Adam Ellis Remix), Allen Watts – Meteor, Ludovico Einaudi – Two Trees (John O’Callaghan Remix) as well as Ayla – Ayla (Omar Sherif Remix) and Marcel Woods – Advanced before he finished with the blistering trio of Veracocha – Carte Blanche, William Orbit – Adagio For Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix) and Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan – Silence (DJ Tiësto’s In Search Of Sunrise Remix).

It was a triumphant end to the night and now it’s time to say goodbye to Godskitchen (although some of my friends will be at each of the last three events, that’s it for me). There have been so many great nights out for Godskitchen and the memories will obviously live on in the music. But I have to confess that I’m secretly hoping for a comeback in a few years! Why not?

Congratulations to Genesis for making it all happen. It just seems to get bigger and bigger for these guys!


Last year’s Genesis White, at North Sydney’s Greenwood Hotel had been a pretty good event, but this year there was a larger contingent of international DJs, a bigger venue – Luna Park’s Big Top – and high expectations generated by the success of the event in 2013 and the growing success in general of Voodoo and other Genesis-promoted events.

Arriving around 5.30pm, we caught the second part of Maor Levi‘s set. He was playing some deep and progressive house tunes and remixes, including one of Above & Beyond –  Liquid Love. Scoping out the layout of the venue, we caught a bit of 7 Skies in the other room, playing a heavily Anjunabeats-influenced set.

Back into the main room and Max Graham and Protoculture were playing a back to back set to a filling room, with tunes like Lost Tribe – Gamemaster, Above & Beyond – Sun In Your Eyes and Energy 52 – Café del Mar.

By now the room was busy and I was beginning to realise how good the production was. The sound was very good but the visual spectacle was sensational. Banks of searchlights and lasers played around the room and five huge screens created a brilliant backdrop to the music. This was as impressive as anything I’ve seen anywhere, with the possible sole exception of Privilege in Ibiza.

Back to the music and KhoMha was up next. I loved his set when he played at the Civic Underground last year but this time around I didn’t seem to get into it so much. Perhaps it was the early set time, perhaps it was his dropping of one of my bête noires, Above & Beyond – Sun & Moon, but even though the crowd was definitely enjoying it, we decided to head back and catch the end of 7 Skies‘ set, with more Anjuna tunes, like Oceanlab – On A Good Day and 7 Skies – Sushi.

Alex M.O.R.P.H.
had played at last year’s Genesis White and he was back again – this time playing a much better set than I felt he had in 2013. The large German with the trademark trucker’s cap was playing some great trance: for me, Aly & Fila – Laily (Photographer Remix), Alex M.O.R.P.H. feat. Sylvia Tosun – An Angel’s Love and Tiësto – Adagio For Strings were the highlights of his set. We spent a good part of this set upstairs at the back of the room, where you really could appreciate the visual aspects of the production to greatest effect.

And we saw something I’ve never seen before, when Alex M.O.R.P.H. took off his trucker’s cap, revealing what we long suspected – a bald head! Given the pedigree of bald heads among trance DJs, you have to ask why he bothers covering it up in the first place!

Another DJ playing last year’s Genesis White as well as this year’s was Andy Moor. I’m a big fan of his productions and I would have liked to have heard more of them. Oceanlab – Satellite (Ilan Bluestone Remix), 4 Strings – Take Me Away, Markus Schulz – Remember This and Markus Schulz feat. Liz Primo – Blown Away filled the room and we decided to check out what was happening in the other room. We’d missed Norin & Rad completely and found Protoculture behind the decks, dropping Oceanlab – Satellite (Ilan Bluestone Remix), one of a few tunes we heard more than once.

Back in the main room and time to hear what Beat Service was playing. I really enjoyed his set, which included tunes such as Paul Oakenfold & Cassandra Fox – Touch Me (Beat Service Remix), Tiësto – Adagio For Strings, Armin van Buuren feat. Fiora – Waiting For The Night (Beat Service Remix) and Armin van Buuren – Save My Night. And at midnight it was time for the DJ I’d most looked forward to: Menno de Jong. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by the tall Dutchman, whether playing on a boat in Miami, an arena in Sydney or a small nightclub, he always delivers a fantastic set.

And this was no exception. The only regret was that he only had one hour to play – I’d have loved to have heard two or even three hours of his music. We heard Menno de Jong feat. Noire Lee – Creatures Of The Night (Adam Ellis Remix), Luke Bond feat. Roxanne Emery – On Fire (Aly & Fila Remix), John O’Callaghan feat. Audrey Gallagher – Big Sky (Signum vs. RAM Remix) and Marco V – Godd.

It was a fitting climax to a great day and an absolute triumph for the Genesis team. The production was out of this world and musically there was something for all trance fans to appreciate and enjoy. This was a big step up from the event last year and I think everyone was really impressed. What a challenge they face in making Genesis White 2015 even better!

Thanks to Genesis and their photographers, Luke Davids Photography and MY Media Sydney for the awesome photos.

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.


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

Ever since Menno de Jong played a fantastic set at Sydney’s Fake Club last year, I’ve grabbed every chance going to catch him playing – and he never disappoints. In fact, Friday night was the fourth time (in four cities, in three continents) that I’ve seen him this year but, at three and a half hours, this was the longest set I’ve heard from him. But it wasn’t just the music that made this an awesome night.

Before we even set out from home, we heard that a big queue was forming to get into Home nightclub and we got word that the place was packed out as early as 11pm. So when we arrived it took us a little while to locate our friends. It was the day after Halloween, so many of the clubbers were in fancy dress and there was a good vibe to the club right from the start. This was definitely the busiest that we’ve seen Home for a Voodoo night and there’s no question that the atmosphere is more intense on a full dancefloor.

Before the headliner, there was a chance to catch up with friends and enjoy the tunes being spun by Thomas Knight and Daniel Kael. With the place buzzing, the scene was set for the night’s main act.

Menno de Jong led us on an epic trance journey from progressive through to uplifting, including current and classic tunes and building to an amazing climax. He dropped so many great tunes that it was hard to keep up, but I noted Markus Schulz feat. Fiora – Deep In The Night, The Thrillseekers with York & Asheni – Daydream (Will Atkinson Dreamy Mix), John O’Callaghan feat. Sia – I’ll Follow, Craig Connelly feat. Christina Novelli – Black Hole (Jorn van Deynhoven Remix), Simon Patterson feat. Lucy Pullin – The One, Menno de Jong – Turtle Paradise, John O’Callaghan – Big Sky, Dart Raine & Yura Moonlight feat. Sarah Linn – Silhouette (Allen & Envy Remix), Oceanlab – Satellite (Sneijder Remix), Veracocha – Carte Blanche, Planet Perfecto – Bullet In The Gun, Madonna – What It Feels Like For A Girl (Above & Beyond Club Mix), Tiësto – Lethal Industry, Oakenfold – Southern Sun (Angry Man Remix), Push – The Legacy and, as an encore, Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan – Silence (DJ Tiësto’s In Search Of Sunrise Remix).

The set built perfectly and was suitably enhanced by the newly improved production at Voodoo.  Home is sounding better than ever and the lights and lasers are now at a level that leaves other Sydney clubs way behind. When the floor is packed, the music this good and the light show breathtaking, you can’t help but have a great time. This was easily the best Voodoo night I’ve been to and I’m hoping for many more nights as good as this to come.  As for Menno – I can’t wait till the next time we see him, as he just gets better and better.

After such a wonderful first day, I wondered whether it could get any better. But with a stunning Day 2 line-up and the official after party to come, I wasn’t unduly concerned. We planned to arrive earlier for Day 2, so that we could catch Agnelli & Nelson – but a mix-up over taxis meant that we only reached the beach in time for the start of M.I.K.E. Push‘s set on the Trance Classics stage (the day’s main stage). But it was still early and I felt that he was playing rather too progressively for my taste – certainly in the first half hour there wasn’t a hint of Universal Nation or Strange World. So we migrated towards the Flamingo stage for Menno de Jong.

We’d seen Menno in Miami and more recently at the Ministry Of Sound and we’re big fans of his. So hearing him play yet another great set was the ideal way to set up this second day of Luminosity for us. But once he finished, we headed straight back to the Trance Classics stage to see Steve Helstrip, aka The Thrillseekers. Opening with Delerium – Silence (Tiësto’s In Search Of Sunrise Remix)he took us through a succession of cleverly chosen classics, perfectly mixed.

Chakra – Loves Shines Through, Reflekt – Need To Feel Loved (The Thrillseekers Remix), Ferry Corsten – Sweet Sorrow, DJ Tiësto – Flight 643, Solarstone – Solarcoaster and Art Of Trance – Madagascar (Ferry Corsten Remix) were just a few of the great tunes he dropped. And showing such tremendous enthusiasm for his task, he really got the crowd going. With the sun making an unexpected appearance, this set was simply wonderful and unquestionably the best of the weekend so far.

The Thrillseekers finished in time for us to wander back to the Flamingos stage for one of my favourite DJs: Solarstone. It was a tough act to follow, but Solarstone played a great set, covering all the bases from his new Pure album, through classics like Orkidea – Unity and his own Solarcoaster and Seven Cities, closing with the New Parisians – Jump The Next Train, which had the whole arena bouncing and punching the air. It was another brilliant set and right up there with the Thrillseekers. The weekend was maintaining the amazing standard set from the very beginning at Escape nightclub for Future Sound Of Egypt 300. Trance heaven.

We’ve seen Alex M.O.R.P.H. a number of times and he’s always opened with the Star Wars theme – until now. In fact he really surprised me with his set, which was quite unlike anything I’d heard from him before. Clearly he was inspired by all the uplifting trance at this festival and he played a set fully in keeping with all we’d heard so far. I was delighted when he dropped Binary Finary – 1998 (Alex M.O.R.P.H. Remix), but it was just one of several great tunes, such as Veracocha – Carte Blanche, Armin van Buuren – Shivers (Alex M.O.R.P.H. Remix) and Simon Patterson – The One. Some friends were saying it was the set of the festival so far – and although I wouldn’t go quite that far, it was definitely amongst the best.

Next up was Sean Tyas and I have to confess that I wasn’t excited about seeing him play. He’d not been good at the Judgement event in Sydney in February, nor in Ibiza when we saw him at Es Paradis in 2012. But today he was a revelation. Wonderful uplifting trance that completely changed my opinion of him. It was only a pity that we’d missed the early part of his set, partly to have a break and partly to see what was happening elsewhere. But I was happy in the knowledge that he was going to play one of the after party sets and I resolved not to miss a beat of that.

The day was now nearing its end, with the sun sinking in the sky over the sea. Just two more sets before it was time to head to the after party and two that I’d been eagerly anticipating. Firstly it was Jorn van Deynhoven. My friends have heard me time and again say how unbelievably wonderful his 5 1/2 hour set at Nevermind in Sydney in 2012 was. I won’t go into the details here, but it was a truly memorable set, the work of a real trance genius. Jorn had only just over one hour at Luminosity, so this set couldn’t be the tour de force that he’d given us at Nevermind, but it was not a disappointment. Photographer – Airport, RAM – RAMsterdam (Jorn van Deynhoven Remix), Jorn van Deynhoven – Headliner were among the many great tunes he played as the sun set over the beach and it was dark by the time he finished with Daniel Kandi – Symphonica and handed over to Indecent Noise.

I only had the pleasure of hearing Indecent Noise play for the first time in February this year and this was only my second chance to catch him.  Of course I’ve heard loads of his sets that I’ve downloaded or streamed, thanks to the magic of the internet, but nothing ever compares to being there. I loved his set in Sydney (see earlier blog post) and he seemed like pretty much the perfect man to close the festival. And opening things up by dropping what must surely be the tune of the European summer, Adam Ellis – Napalm Poet, to start his set gave a clear message that he was not going to mess about. Sure enough, his set was the usual high-octane mix of uplifting tunes and the remixes for which he is so well known. Among many others, we heard Paul Oakenfold – Southern Sun (Angry Man Remix), Commander Tom – Are Am Eye (John Askew Remix) and Matt Bowdidge – Still By Your Side. He also dropped several of his own tunes and it all combined to make for a great set to finish the day.

It was hard to believe it was all over. Two wonderful days of great music, in a great setting, with friends old and new from all over the world. Quite simply it was the best festival I’ve ever been to and providing it doesn’t get switched back to June, or another date that falls when we’re still in Australia, we will definitely be back for next year. Saying farewell to the beach, we headed off in search of the free shuttle bus to the after-party at Westerunie nightclub.

An hour later and more friendships made on the bus, we were at Westerunie just on the stroke of midnight. The first surprise was that Solarstone was not playing solo, but had been joined for a back-to-back set by Daniel Kandi. This wasn’t a partnership that I would have expected, but they were having a lot of fun and it seemed to work fine. Some of the tunes that hadn’t made the cut for Solarstone’s set at the festival made it into this set and the addition of some Daniel Kandi tunes and remixes made a really enjoyable hour – and probably exactly right for the after party.

At 1am, Sean Tyas took over and carried on pretty much exactly where he left off at the beach three and a half hours earlier. About ten minutes into the set he dropped Sean Tyas – Lift and from there on it was just a sublime, uplifting set. My conversion to being a fan of his was complete. Let’s hope it marks a permanent shift away from the style we heard from him on the previous couple of occasions we saw him play.

Flutlicht was due on next, but he’d clearly agreed a swap with Bryan Kearney. This was the first time I’d seen a Bryan Kearney set and he was really good, playing at a very high BPM, yet keeping the tunes audible above the beats. Unfortunately he had some major technical issues about 15 minutes into the set, but he managed to recover his poise and keep the dancers going right through till 3am and his handover to Flutlicht. We’d missed Flutlicht at the festival and I have to confess to knowing next to nothing about him. And on this occasion, the tiredness was really kicking in and we decided to call it a day and walk back through the park to our hotel.

Finally exhausted by the most incredible three days of music and partying, but with a warm feeling inside, we relaxed over a glass of wine and reflected on how amazing Luminosity Beach Festival is. The last festival we’d been to was Ultra Music and the contrast could not be greater. From the mega-sized, massive production but oversold event in Miami, where the other festival goers were either a complete mess or on the edge of aggressive, to this intimate event, where everyone was friendly, into the same music and the vibe was awesome from beginning to end. Watch out Amsterdam, we’ll be back for more Luminosity in the future. Next time we might plan a longer stay and relax in the city afterwards and actually see some more of what Amsterdam has to offer!

As many of you know, Dash Berlin is a DJ who I am more likely to go out of my way to avoid than to see. But Friday saw us turning up at the Gallery, despite his name headlining the night’s festivities. We’d seen Estiva fairly recently in Sydney, without being overwhelmed and Menno de Jong in Miami, where I had been impressed by his set. And I recalled Menno’s set in Sydney last year, which I had enjoyed so much.

The real reason we dragged ourselves along was to catch up with friends and it was great to see Mim, Emma and Anne-Maree – so there we were, five Aussies partying in South London (although Mim was working, not partying). Estiva’s set was much as it had been at the Enhanced show in Sydney recently … he does the warm-up duties very well. Inevitably we heard Above & Beyond – Sun And Moon, but it was nice to hear him drop Arty and Mat Zo – Rebound, which he told me later he had played a lot recently in response to Will.I.Am ripping them off.

We didn’t hang around for much of Dash Berlin’s set. He did drop some decent tunes early on, however, such as Rank 1 – Airwave and Ferry Corsten feat. Betsie Larkin – Not Coming Down ((Dash Berlin 4AM Remix). But we were more interested in the Belvedere vodka available in the room at the back!

We returned to the Box for Menno de Jong’s closing set from 4 till 6am. It was, as we expected, gloriously trancey … but I was a bit too away with it all to take notes or remember what he played – he did drop the fantastic Sneijder remix of Ben Gold feat. The Glass Child – Fall With Me. A great way to end a bigger night than we had expected, and one that I greatly enjoyed, despite my dislike of Dash Berlin (and to be fair to him, the parts of his set that we caught were far and away better than what we heard of him in Miami in March, or Sydney last November).

So, it’s just over a week since the end of Miami Music Week and, if the dust hasn’t exactly settled, it’s now time to reflect on our time there.  Firstly, and most importantly, I’d leap at the chance to go again.  The club nights, at large venues like Space, or intimate nightspots like Dream, were simply fantastic.  Rubbing shoulders with the DJs, meeting like-minded music fans from around the globe and some great (if not always well-organised) boat parties made for a week that couldn’t be equalled, even in Ibiza.

But I wouldn’t bother with Ultra Music Festival again.  And yet it was a very impressive festival, with incredible stage set-ups and the best sound systems that I’ve ever come across at music festivals.  Maybe I’m jaded by so many festivals or maybe the festival sets that the big name DJs deliver are not what I really want to hear – and I know that in a club they are much more in tune with my tastes. I think I’ve probably been to my last big festival. From now on, I’m going to stick to boutique festivals and club nights or small parties. (But don’t quote me!)

There were so many surreal experiences in just ten days … bumping into Markus Schulz on Washington Avenue and talking to him about the ten hour set he’d played the night before … chatting to Menno de Jong as we both waited for the toilet on the Musette boat … Renee being recognised by Giuseppe Ottaviani when we got into Club Souz for Pure Trance … getting John 00 Fleming to pose with the sign for Ayesha … the Sol Republic shuttle bus that was a nightclub inside … Paul van Dyk joining us on the dancefloor when Giuseppe dropped No More Alone … and that’s before saying how good the music was.  Award for most bizarre has to go to the Saturday bus trip and the spliff being passed round by the Sol Republic rep!

So many great sets, it’s hard to pick out my favourite.  The contenders would be Markus Schulz’s ten-hour marathon at Space (we lasted longest of the whole group, but even we had to admit defeat after seven hours); Aly & Fila – both of Fadi’s sets were incredible, I don’t think I could choose between the set at Dream or the set on the boat party; Giuseppe Ottaviani – again two great sets, one at Dream, the other at Club Souz; Solarstone – two hours of awesome Pure Trance just blew me away.  John O’Callaghan’s set on the boat would surely rate amongst these if it hadn’t been cut short after a sensational hour.  I’m going to pick Solarstone as my favourite set of the week, but it was a close thing (although if the sound at Club Souz had been better, I think he would have run away with it as best set).

And I really can’t choose between Global Connection (at Dream on Tuesday) and Pure Trance as my favourite nights of the whole trip.  I loved both nights so much … and feel very lucky to have been able to be there.

Biggest disappointment was missing out on seeing Faithless.  We really couldn’t face the rest of Day 2 at Ultra, just to see Faithless play towards the end of the night and we were worried about the logistics of seeing them and getting back in time to change and go out for Pure Trance.  We were also upset that we missed out on the Anjunabeats Pool Party, partly due to not arriving earlier and partly due to the accommodation nightmare that we had to resolve as an urgent priority.

Best of all was spending a week partying to such great music with so many good friends from around the world, old and new.  Now it’s time to start thinking about Ibiza in early August and Future Sound Of Egypt 300 and Luminosity Beach Festival in Amsterdam on 16/18 August.

Back on the Musette again today and this time I’m trying to blog on the fly. Menno de Jong is playing now as we wait to leave. Nice and cruisy tunes to set the mood.

Just spoken to Fadi and he knows all about yesterday’s fiasco and says he’s playing 3-5 whatever. Which is good to know!

Menno’s set was great, building towards a great finish but sadly, Ummet Ozcan‘s electro style reminds me too much of W&W. Armin’s new tune, This Is What It Feels Like is awful and so was that remix of Silence. Off to the bar for a while!

Ummet has dropped The Box and is winding up. Time to get in position for Aly & Fila!

Fadi was off the chart! The set started in a similar vein to Tuesday night but in the second hour he featured a whole load of tunes that he hadn’t dropped at Dream. Resurrection, Need To Feel Loved, and Above & Beyond’s Home.  Here he is, playing Paul Oakenfold – Southern Sun (Thomas Datt Remix).


Now at Ultra, battery running low. More later.

So, after much reflection, here is my top 5 sets/nights of 2012. Well, in fact it’s a top seven because these all stood out from the rest for me.

7. Menno de Jong @ FAKE Club (18-5-12) – I went along excited to see Dennis Sheperd, but Menno blew me away. Brilliant set in an underated venue.

6. Nitrous Oxide and Matt Bowdidge @ Trance Sanctuary (1-9-12) – first time I’ve been able to go to a Trance Sanctuary, and in addition to seeing a great set downstairs by Messy A (Alex Hancock), upstairs we had a wonderful trance journey with great friends.

5. Jaytech @ Chinese Laundry (15-9-12) – Jimbo’s second Laundry set of the year, but the first since the release of Multiverse. This set was so beautifully melodic and the perfect blend of house and trance – not at all “trousey”.

4. Lange @ Genesis, AND (13-10-12) – I’ve long been a fan of Lange and so often when you expect so much, you come away slightly disappointed. But not this time. Wonderful set and a great vibe in a nice new nightclub (shame about the location).

3. Aly & Fila @ Home (30-11-12) – Fadi never disappoints but this night was something else. Originally down to play 90 minutes, the set was officially extended to two hours, but he kept on delivering his magic for three and a quarter hours. I didn’t want it to end, and I don’t think he did either. Really looking forward to seeing him on a boat party in Miami in March!

2. John O’Callaghan @ Driftwood Subculture, Ibiza (7-8-12) – this was perfection from start to finish; a small group of trance lovers including a substantial part of the Sydney Trance Family on a boat in San Antonio harbour, two great warm-up sets from Paul Webster and Sneijder, a great sunset and the Irish maestro on peak form. Never to be forgotten.

1. Jorn van Deynhoven @ Nevermind (7-7-12) – the night after a big Digital Therapy and, if we hadn’t already bought advance tickets, I seriously doubt we’d have bothered to schlep over to Oxford Street for an afternoon trance event. But we had, so we did, getting in just in time (2.30pm) for the start of JvD’s three hour set. Such a shame that only a few of us were there, because van Deynhoven was sensational and played for well over five hours before he finally gave way. In any other year, the JOC set on the Driftwood boat would have been an easy number one, but Jorn van Deynhoven was comfortably even better. OMFG.

No photos from JvD, so here’s one from the Subculture Driftwood boat party.