News / / 30.10.13

ADE 2013

Various Venues, Amsterdam | October 16th-20th

For much of the European electronic scene, ADE represents Mecca. Also, if you’re Dutch it’s generally a big deal. We hadn’t realised quite how big until we pulled into central station and saw flags flying, DJs’ faces on the sides of buses and logos on bicycles, leather jackets and umbrellas. It has to be noted that a fair portion of this hype centres on fist-pumping orange-faced Trance DJs. But we at Crack feel no need to focus on all that, nor did we have the time to.

With the sheer amount on offer at ADE, it’s simple probability that there’ll be more than enough to get through five days of action, even if you’re the ultimate snob. The main problem is having the stamina and peddling power to get around the city and see it all. This year ADE boasted 2,156 artists across 300 events at 115 venues. Then there’s all the conferences and talks and, if you’re one of the 460 Journalists in attendance, a whole lot of networking/harassing the canape guy for Bitterballen and glasses of wine. The only downside is being a Brit in the ‘Dam and not having enough time for the customary bongs and blowjobs.

This year’s Wednesday night opening party at the Melkweg was a celebration of 25 years of dance music in the Netherlands, which unfortunately didn’t really do justice to the heritage, but we felt bad saying anything when everyone looked well happy. Afterwards we popped over to the Colors party at lofty warehouse space Trouw, one of the trendiest spots in the city. Sounds of Bashmore and Kowton made us feel all homely after our inaccurate history lesson, but that was enough for day one Precariously, we got back on our bike rentals for a very civilised 2am finish.

Thursday night was all about Trouw again. We began with a late dinner next door at Baut, Trouw’s vibsey little brother who laid on a special ADE three-course menu. We made our way into Trouw suffering serious food coma symptoms, but a surprise appearance from South Africa’s Culoe De Song seem to help the digestion. De Song wasn’t announced on the bill, but a tip-off had clearly done the rounds, resulting in a crowd swelling around the centralised booth. Or perhaps they were all in waiting for the mighty Dixon, who also had everyone in the building jostling for elbowroom. Across the city that night there was also Four Tet and Guy Gerber at some spot called Scheepsbouwloods, while Matthias Tanzmann and local ledge Joris Voorn didn’t sound half bad either. After much deliberation we opted for a bit of Soul Clap, Todd Terje and Prins Thomas at North Sea Jazz. The peddle across town at this point was arduous, but Soul Clap are always worth the excursion.

Friday focused on more British produce, which distressed most Dutch people we spoke to but made sense to us. First off a little promo party for Novation on the canal with Happa headlining. We got to play around with some new gear, pressed some buttons, twiddled some knobs, but the place was empty and Happs was definitely not bringing his A-game as a result. Later on, North Sea Jazz had a formidable line up courtesy of local promoters Dekmantel, who recently launched their own festival in the ends. Joy Orbison and Omar S were the heroes of the night whilst L.I.E.S and Ben UFO both came with sprawling diverse selections.

The morning after it was straight on to Melkweg’s Breakfast Club. Some atmospheric techno from Minilogue and more defined grooves from Prosumer was the breakfast of champions. Exiting into a sunny early afternoon in the town centre, however, felt a little raw. Just enough time for a power nap to put us back in the game before a one-off performance from Omar Souleyman with some bewildering and brilliant renditions of his new Hebden produced jams lighting up the early evening.

On Saturday night at North Sea Jazz, Dekmantel hosted Kraviz, Moodymann and Bicep, but the thought of all that peddling was too much. We opted for a break from the techno and hit up two very different, hip-hop-ish parties. DJ Shadow and Machinedrum attracted the old timers to Paradiso, while Club Up drew in the baby-faced trendies with Samiyam and fLako. We were unsure of which demographic best represented us, and so we flitted between the two. Shadow’s set didn’t really get past the glory days nostalgia but Machinedrum’s was relentlessly engaging. Club Up won us over in the end though, with its tiny technicolour dancefloor playing host to a whole lot of neck snapping bass music. Meanwhile, over at Roest Max Cooper delivered a glitched out live set and Fairmont came with some unforgiving techno, which pretty much finished us off.

Sunday was about spending any last ounce of remaining stamina. We spent ours on Laurent Garnier, whose selection was unexpectedly hard but still carried a good dose of French funk for good measure. We surprised ourselves with how much we still had in us, but eventually it was time for some serious recuperation. ADE is really not for the faint hearted, but if you’ve got the fortitude then you’ll never be stuck for something to see or somewhere to go. Amsterdam proves the perfect backdrop for roaming around from one amazing club to another, with plenty to do in between if you can spare a moment. And if you make it to the end in one piece, we salute you.

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Words: Jack Lucas Dolan

Photos: Feargal Antonio