Barcelona | June 13-17th
This year was Crack’s first at the coveted off-Sonar parties; the promise of rooftops, pool parties and exclusive (‘money can’t buy if your name’s not down’ shiz) type get downs. Originally started as a set of celebratory showcases for the good and great of the techno music industry, the off-Sonar parties quickly became legendary to those in the know, and in 2012 it seems that everyone wants to revel in the Catalan sun and have a piece of the party pie.
The famous Hotel W played host to one of the greats on Wednesday, with Theo Parrish playing a 3 hour set with support fromCobblestone Jazz. The most stunning of Barca hotels delivered a perfect mixture of jazz and house grooves all day in the sun. This one lived up to the hype in terms of music, but with a swanky venue comes a crowd trying to emulate that (s)wank.
This year saw a first appearance for the Wolf + Lamb collective, including party boys Soul Clap, Tanner Ross, Slow Hands, Voice of Black, and of course Zev & Gadi. Set on the beach bar, known for not having the best sound, the party far exceeded expectations and the sunset scenery was enough to make anyone forget the weight of their third day at Sonar. We would envisage this returning for a good few years yet.
This year also saw London collective Half Baked pitch their parties for the first time. Running two this year, the guys were obviously nervous but after their initial venue fell through, they chose an excellent replacement in Club Vetro, a villa style night spot with outdoor terrace way up in the hills amongst a lot of very grande Spanish houses, for their first party on Thursday. “It’s not always easy, and you have to work around people and local authorities” Remi, one of the Half Baked honchos tells us. “We learned a lot from these first two events. In the end the turn up was amazing and the vibe at both parties was out of this world, we are so looking forward to next year.“ We sincerely hope so.
There seemed to be a few little pockets of struggle between the authorities at this year’s off-Sonar festivities, with the Mobilee label pool party being shut down early. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the label who have thrown a much sought after rooftop party for many years at Hotel Silken Diagonal. This year was no exception, as Anja Schneider’s troupe played host to Maya Jane Coles, following in the footsteps of Claude Von Stroke and Guy Gerber as the special guest upon the windy terrace.
If at the end of the day parties you’re still keen for more, then off-Sonar still has a fair bit on offer. If great clubs are your thing then you’ll likely be found wanting, but the line-ups are more than enough to get you through. Tresor and RA hosted great parties on Friday and Saturday night respectively, with Mike Huckaby and then the excellent Chez Damier and Kerri Chandler going b2b; some serious old school vibes that were much appreciated.
Wrapping things up on the Sunday night was Secretsundaze’s hugely popular event at La Terrazza. Before heading to Sonar, we had been told this was the one to go to. These guys are world renowned, and a line-up that included Wbeeza and Sven Weisemann had everything going for it. However, this party is just too popular and the crowd seem to be there to get seriously twisted rather than appreciate the musical prowess on show. Still, it’s an amazing venue and a great party; just too over-crowded with geezers for our liking.
So which was the best party? Well, at the same venue as Secretsundaze, up on the hill in the grounds of a monastery, Innervisions held their second bash, the aptly named Innervisions Goes Off Vol. 2. And boy, did it go off. For us, this was the best line-up, with label heads Dixon, both variants of Âme as well as Tale of Us and Henrik Schwarz. This party had the exact vibe we had come looking for. A great open space, secluded yet spacious, unbelievably great music for ten hours and one of the best sets we’ve heard in a while from Mr. Reliable, Todd Terje. John Paul Young’s Love is in The Air, accompanied by an adoring crowd singing along, will live in the memory for some time. This is what we came to off-Sonar to find.
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Words: Tom Wiltshire