Header photo and all included images: Ben Jones
After a bum-bag wearing punter protests relentlessly upon being redirected to join the bag-search queue, a bouncer calmly points out: “You’ve got plenty of time, this is just part of the process.” It’s a great call that immediately silences her jibber-jabber. Someone give that man a pay rise!
You can’t walk two paces without seeing a dude wearing a horizontal-striped shirt (car’n, we expect more from male fashion in 2020!) and we’re not quite sure what kinda tan the ladies in attendance sporting mesh dresses over bikinis hope for.
Irish DJ/producer Rebuke is manning the decks as we boogie through the crowd towards the front section, and he’s really something. His skittish beats hit us so thick and fast they sound like static electricity! Custom yellow smiley face masks – with smiles that spell out ‘Rebuke’ – are distributed to front-row enthusiasts, and nod toward Rebuke’s propensity for reimagining rave-era classics.
Wearing a Thick As Thieves T-shirt, Rebuke drops in some tropical house featuring irresistible steel drums and we’re up, up and away! His remix of Move Your Body (Elevation) leaves us salivating. Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) with subwoofers activated? Yes, please. Kirk Franklin’s Looking For You is an uplifting inclusion and Rebuke’s own Rattle shakes our skeletons from the inside out. His set’s penultimate track incorporates a cranking remix of Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless), and we peak super-early.
Scattered revellers wearing golden plague doctor masks (available for just 9.99 euros from Claptone’s official website) make their move into the thick of it. The German DJ materialises behind the console sporting trademark top hat, aforementioned mask and white gloves – all the better to conduct the crowd with, my dear! He opens with a remix of The Runner by Foals. The dramaturgy of Claptone’s sets is carefully constructed and remixes of well-known tracks; Michael Kiwanuka’s You Ain’t The Problem, Billy Eilish’s Bad Guy, Mylo’s Drop The Pressure and Where’s Your Head At? by Basement Jaxx all become singalong moments. Closing with You’ve Got The Love (“Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air!”) into Claptone’s own No Eyes? Genius.
The millisecond Green Velvet [header image] takes control of the wheels of steel, it’s on! Those galloping beats simply refuse to be ignored. No one’s trying to look cool while they dance anymore; we’re just expressing ourselves, bodies abducted by those banging techno tunes. There’s no warm-up; Green Velvet – with trademark fluoro-green quiff and alien shades – drops Flash: “Cameras ready, prepare to flash!”
On the strip screens, the Chicago singer-songwriter-producer resembles a bright green onesie-wearing superhero/DJ avatar prototype – he’s cool AF.
It’s now dusk, and all assembled get down and dirty. Lazer Beams is colossal, and we wait with bated breath for each drop that signals debilitating pew-pew warfare, smoke cannons and hands in the air. “I see your lips movin’/ But what you talkin’ ’bout?” – Deceiver takes us there as Green Velvet beams behind the decks, unable to contain his excitement. Then it’s back-to-back bangers: Bigger Than Prince, Space Date (“Imagine a world with no gravity/ You and me in another galaxy/ Floating around in ecstasy”) and the pure, unbridled joy of The Bells by Jeff Mills.
Under the cloak of darkness, we grind our arses off. Green Velvet pulsates up there on stage like the music owns him; he was born to do this, in a class of his own.