He Said/She Said: Ibiza 2014

As the fabled Ibiza closing parties approach to mark the end of another summer on the Spanish party island, a double birthday celebration took zap! bang! Magazine’s Mike Barnard and Ann McManus on their first trip to the famous clubbing destination. Here’s their viewpoints from either side of the gender divide as they set their holiday mode to “rave” on a non-stop weekend.

You only know you’re approaching normality when superstars DJs become just the regular people you measure yourself against when offered two queues.

He Said: So 12 years into my clubbing career I finally made the effort to go to Ibiza. Why so long, I hear you ask? Well, the cost put me off back in my university days as my student loan didn’t stretch further than a few well-timed clubbing trips from Southampton to London’s Turnmills. Then, when I moved to London and started hitting up clubnights on a regular basis along with major festivals on an addiction-level scale, it just seemed like I was seeing all the music I needed to experience without the expense of the superclubs on the White Isle. Then a landmark joint birthday arrived and I figured now or never: it’s time to get involved or lose the right to say ‘back in the day’ about Ibiza sometime in the future.

Arriving at 00:45 on Saturday morning meant a fast turnaround at the flat, hurried along by the early arrivals who had already been to Ibiza Rocks for 2ManyDJs and were keen to get back into the action. That action was Pacha’s in-house Friday promotion Insane where Dennis Ferrer and John Digweed were on spinning duties. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the level of VIP seating – something I’d soon get use to – people love it out there! These pre-booked areas at Pacha looked like scenes from a yacht club’s AGM with its cream furnishings and posing ravers sitting around knocking back the bubbles – a disappointing sight, but the deep tech house was a solid introduction to Ibiza with pricey drinks and an excitable crowd as expected.

Unsurprisingly Saturday’s respectable poolside chilling and meal by the Old Town harbour escalated into cut-price tickets to Glitterbox at Booom. The name of the night, combined with Dimitri From Paris and Todd Terry on the bill, meant I was hopeful of some solid disco and a few house classics. Booom delivered. Dimitri provided the disco with Jimmy Bo Horne’s “Spank” and Chic’s “Everybody Dance” prized additions to the vocal-led set, then Terry smashed through the crowd-pleasers from Nightcrawlers, The Bucketheads and Armand Van Helden. This was all to the rhythm of M People’s Drum Warrior Shovell on live percusion. Cheesy, yes, but the Booom-goers were in the zone and the small venue was buzzing: even the private table guests got involved rather than sitting around cheering their VIP status.

The VIP table areas at Pacha looked like scenes from a yacht club’s AGM with its cream furnishings and posing ravers sitting around knocking back the bubbles.

Sunday’s aching was fixed by a birthday champagne breakfast followed by a roast at Pike’s Hotel where a Freddie Mercury tribute was going on all day and into the night. A tasty roast and then cocktails by the pool while watching aging ravers relax as their kids ran riot was an amusing sight – great to see a family-friendly Ibiza experience. Space in the evening proved a mixed bag. I was impressed by the size of the club and production levels, yet too many idiots and a disappointingly-weak line-up curated by Manchester’s Warehouse Project soured the experience somewhat. Nicolas Jaar’s slow build DJ set saw a load of iPhones shoot into the air for its intro, those people soon leaving once they had their Facebook clip sorted when Jaar failed to get out of first gear. Kerri Chandler was far more fun, but his set echoed Terry’s the night before save for a few welcome curveballs in the form of Giorgio Moroder’s “Midnight Express”, Floorplan’s “Never Grow Old” and, in reference to WHP’s Manchester roots, New Order’s “Blue Monday”.

Eats Everything and Richy Ahmed’s four-hour back-to-back set was just a bit too much house for my liking while George Fitzgerald and Joy Orbison’s back-to-back set was too stripped back to get into. Luckily WHP residents Greg Lord and Krysko saved the day with thumping techno to finish off the main room. I left impressed by the potential for night’s at Space rather than wowed by We Love. Far more enjoyable was the mobilee pool party at Santos Hotel the following day where the minimal house and techno heard from sun loungers overlooking the beach made for a fitting end to my first Ibiza trip.

I had been looking forward to sleeping on my 23.25 flight back home, safe in the knowledge all around me would be half asleep… only to end up sitting next to Maya Jane Coles. An awkward shuffle past into my window seat, I earned numerous kudos points for putting my hood over my eyes and sleeping in the hope getting in at Gatwick at 00.45 with limited transport links would be less painful. I hadn’t banked on a massive queue at passport control for the stupid epassport gates that never seem to work. Maya got caught in the queue in front of me, then I looked to my left and saw Eats Everything whistle as he strolled past us in the ever-moving queue to the regular passport officers. You only know you’re approaching normality when superstars DJs become just the regular people you measure yourself against when offered two queues. Eats 1, Mike and Maya 0.

As I waved I noted my friends were in the process of being thrown out Zoo Bar for their ridiculous drunken frolics: the perfect opening to five days’ of a Brits abroad goon show.

She Said: Embarking from my taxi, I spotted my friends straight away in Zoo Bar on the harbour. As I waved I noted that they were in the process of being thrown out the bar for their ridiculous drunken frolics: the perfect opening to five days’ of a Brits abroad goon show. A boat trip across from Ibiza Old Town to Playa den Bosa to experience the joys of Jet Bar pool party and the famous Bora Bora and of course, the promotional thong bikini-ed promoters dancing across the beach as several versions of Alice Deejay “Better of Alone” are blasted from various bars. If the multiple sound systems simultaneously blasting out early Noughties dance tracks wasn’t enough, the Ibiza World Championship, the F1 of boat races, provided more noise and amusement.

Later promised to be truly epic: sunset at Café Mambo. If you consider yourself a house dj, yet have not made a tribute mix to the sunset at Café Mambo, I advise you immediately get mixing or reconsider your genre. Preferably your mix should include the same tracks as every other house legend: Laurent Garnier – “Man with the Red Face”, “Gat décor-Passion”, Sander Kleinenberg – “My Lexicon” and Underworld – “Born Slippy”. I waited in vain for Café del Mar – “Energy 52” but that would be too clichéd even for Café Mambo. The sunset was beautiful, everyone was emotional and I’m sure everyone on the beach will hold that moment in their heart forever, just as the package promised.

2manydjs at Ibiza Rocks Hotel was a fun way to break into the polished Ibiza clubbing, allowing those with a passive interest in house music to break into the genre in a poolside setting with lots of “tunes” including “Renegade Master”, strobes and enough space to dance. On an early midnight finish, we were ready to take on Pacha Ibiza for Insane hosting John Digweed, Dennis Ferrer, Reboot, Alex Kennon, Pippi and Willie Graff, supported by a huge production featuring dancers, trapeze artists and balloons dropped from the ceiling. Digweed was classically technical, drawing enthusiasm from the crowd despite retaining a focused composure throughout, with Ferrer following on with an even more fist-
pump inducing set.

Saturday night took us to Glitterbox at Booom, where Defected have taken residency this summer, providing a night of fabulous disco, Dimitri From Paris inducing serious moves being busted by the crowd. The drummer from M People also made a guest appearance (I do marvel at how celebrity lasts…) The toilets here were the most beautiful smelling I have ever encountered! And if this wasn’t enough, the upstairs bar was manned by hunky, topless barmen in bowties. And they gave out free fans… as feminine as this all sounds, there was an even spread of the sexes and the disco provided a pleasant interlude from the constant house and chavs. Plus, if you’re the sort of person who likes to be able to see the whole club from the dance floor, it’s a pleasant break from the sprawling alternatives.

Make sure you have brand new white socks packed for Space!

Make sure you have brand new white socks packed for Space! For me, this was the perfect night – a huge club with a bunch of my favourite DJs (I just had to maintain my cool this time to avoid the embarrassment of having told Eats Everything twice in 10 minutes and two encounters that “that set was amazing – a really good set!”). Kerri Chandler warmed up Caja Roja with garage beats mixed over classic house tracks. Meanwhile in La Discoteca, I could barely see Nicholas Jaar for all the camera phones up in the air filming his slow, artsy opening while progressed into a very technical set of dark toned house. Richy Ahmed and Eats Everything opened with bouncy beats and Eats’ signature fidgety sound effects. Back through to La Discoteca, George Fitzgerald and Joy Orbison were dropping some stomping beats to a receptive crowd, the only downside being a couple of misjudged and over extended vocals that were painful as opposed to punchy. Mr Doris upstairs on La Terraza was sampling some garage – surprising and refreshing when you have been subsumed in all types of house all holiday! As we reached the point that everyone was hitting walls, Greg Lord and Krysko saved the night and brought everyone back to bounce mode with thunderous techno that revived energy levels throughout the crowd. On La Discoteca closing, Eats and Richy Ahmed had turned up their set a notch and the floor was as filled as ever, hosting serious moves from all.

Concluding with a day at trendy Berlin label, Mobilee’s pool party by day at Hotel Santos Coast Club, where we received a most pleasant welcome from the concierge and laid back techno groves complemented by wholesome fruity cocktails. With many of our crew having dropped off, the survivors rounded up with another night at Pacha Ibiza for a jazzy Bassment Jaxx set, the entertainment offering even more this time by way of even more trapeze artists and dancers installed across the dance floor and a bathtub installed in the ladies’ for some toilet karaoke! Five days was the perfect amount of time to partake in the constant energy, pace and absorb some sun so as to disguise the fact our prime focus of the holiday had been clubbing. With every night promising a line-up to suit every taste, staying longer and having quiet nights is nigh impossible unless you drive yourself to the tranquility of one of the islands many havens from the noise and rush of the clubbing crowds. With so much to take in, a few weeks digesting all the calamities witnessed and re-engaging my brain is well in order.

She Said by Ann McManus.

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