1. Amsterdam is clearly leading the world in terms of club infrastructure
Not only does the Dutch capital boast at least 3 world class venues but also has a host of highly motivated, professional promotion crews and collectives ready to make sure each venue is decked out with all the necessary programming and production to really maximise the club experience for the 1000s that make it out each night.
The native crowd are universally clued up and really know how to party. Speak to any Dutch clubber and chances are they will eloquently provide you an insider’s perspective on the night’s musical happenings. Local heroes such as Young Marco, Antal and San Proper have such dedicated home followings that they barely need to leave the low countries, yet remain fixtures on the international scene with their assured takes on house, techno and disco derived from their experience in NL.
It is with organisation and production that the Dutch really excel, with a 30 year tradition of putting on large scale events. Preventing the queues at the bar, the bottle necks around the toilets and faltering sound systems is their modus operandi to eliminate the combination of small factors that can chip away at your enjoyment of the party. The lethal precision of promoters such as Dekmantel, Zeezout and De School really do let the focus fall on the music and the party itself.
2. Change is gonna come
The young pretenders of 3-4 years ago are now pushing for top billing status and as they move up the pecking order a void is created into which fresh talent can seep.
For example at the ZeeZout & Dimensions party on the Thursday, while Ben UFO B2B Hunee traded big room tracks in the main room of Undercurrent, Hashman Deejay and PLO Man dropped a fresh, lively and bumping set in room 2.
While the headliners had to tone down their own musical inquisitiveness to please the masses, Hashman and PLO were free to take a more holistic and integral approach to moving a smaller but much more lively and reactive crowd. Although the slickness of delivery from the likes of Hunee is undeniable, it is still encouraging to see a new wave of eclectic selectors rising up, with the likes of Mehmet Aslan, Honey Soundsystem and Project Pablo all impressing over the weekend.
3. Detroit – Where you at?
As a big lover of the Motor City sound, this year’s ADE felt more white European than ever.
With the exception of immortals such as Jeff Mills, Moodymann and Theo Parrish the younger wave of talent from the D seemed notably absent with no room for the new wave i.e the likes of Kyle Hall and Jay Daniel. With strong representation from the artists surrounding Mood Hut from the scene fertile in Vancouver and the prominence of San Francisco’s Honey Soundsystem – who played 6 sets across the weekend – it seemed like a wilderness year for Detroit.
4. Crew Loves ya baby..?
The DJ crew again seems to be a growing force, with Honey Soundsystem’s marathon performance over the weekend proof of the growing willingness from promoters to give over large chunks of programming to trusted collectives.
With B2B sets looking slightly gimmicky these days promoters seem to have found a more genuine way to focus the collective energy of a crew’s love for a sound on the crowds. I was expecting to see more of a representation from the Disc Woman collective but I’m sure they will be there in force next year.
The Turkish combination of Baris K and Mehmet Aslan at the Everlasting Bar Love party at Nooderlicht on Friday had the crowd moving in ever more freaky ways as the room twisted and jived to a combination of Middle Eastern rhythms, disco and house.
5. The scene just went and got political
Polictics and dancing are becoming ever more closely aligned as clued up 20 somethings seek to realign the boundaries of the scene to accommodate their ever more global views.
The club is now not just a place to dance but an arena to take a stance on racism, feminism and LGBT equality. It is all the more vibrant for it. The expression of these views through music and events looks to become ever more stronger as the powers that be attempt to chip away at our freedom, its great to see players like Dan Beaumont taking a stance and giving voice to these views.
Events such as the Late Night Culture Talks are arising as a vital forum for discussion for young people and this example should be followed in all cities throughout the year to bring people together as a force for change.