Dancing Astronaut Does Ibiza: Above & Beyond’s wondrous residency at Cream at Amnesia
Amid a backdrop of blistering sunshine, sizzling tapas, and a beautiful Mediterranean coastline, Dancing Astronaut has officially arrived in Ibiza. We’ve previewed the parties, broken the headlines, looked on with envy as our Spanish compatriots danced until sunrise to the world’s top techno, and now we’ve been there to experience the madness firsthand. Through a series of narratives, we’ll be reviewing some of the biggest parties in Ibiza as part of our running feature Dancing Astronaut Does Ibiza.
We started our week with a ten-hour performance from Carl Cox, moved on to Departures’ opening party at Ushuaïa, rallied ourselves for Sankey’s 20th Anniversary Tribal Sessions party, hopped on a boat cruise with Cirque de la Nuit, and eventually found ourselves here, at Above & Beyond’s wondrous residency at Cream at Amnesia.
Above & Beyond occupy a unique place in the dance music world. They are one of the few groups universally loved across the board. From deep house to dubstep fans, you’d be hard pressed to find a person entrenched in the scene who doesn’t have respect for the English trio. Whether a trance fan or not, there’s something special about their music and mindset that that attracts people by the hundreds. Perhaps it’s the fact that they produce and some of the most emotional dance music out there. There’s a humanness to their composition that defies the otherwise cold technological approach of computer music production. In a live setting, this contagious humanity comes across tenfold.
Having seen Jono, Tony, and Paovo perform various festival sets, I was ill-prepared for the club setting at Amnesia. This was not anthemic, main stage Above & Beyond – this was their small room, close-knit, intimate side. The difference is actually quite considerable. While their festival and stadium shows emphasize their own material, playing out their own songs to full fruition, their club set is a more traditional approach, highlighting their technical DJing abilities and revered song curation.
For this particular night at Cream, Andrew Bayer was on hand to warm things up for the night with Ilan Bluestone on the tail end, making this a full Anjunabeats showcase. Bayer kept the energy comfortable for the first hour, playing slow-BPM Anjunadeep cuts to the steady procession of incoming attendees. Pryda’s “Agag” was a welcome surprise to his performance, paving the way for his own more upbeat originals like the glorious “England” and magnificent “Perth.”
As Jono of Above & Beyond took the reigns, the atmosphere in the venue sprang to life with exhilarating intensity. With two hours at his disposal, Jono had plenty of time to sit back and play tracks out, but such was not the case. Rather, Jono was weaving in song with deliberate quickness, showing off the kind of stunning mixing reserved for intimate club nights such as this. “Sticky Fingers” was an early favorite, rallying the vocals of the audience for the first chorus of the night, followed by a personal love affair of mine, London Grammar’s “Hey Now.” I’ve seen DJs try and fail multiples now to cleanly mix in Arty’s remix of the song, yet Jono handled it with ease.
A bootleg of New Order’s 80’s classic “Blue Monday” led to the wicked “Walter White,” to which Jono continuously sampled Mat Zo’s “Pyramid Scheme.” While their own track like “Thing Called Love” and the sinister club mix to “Blackroom Boy” united the crowd in a flurry of crooning voices, Jono showed plenty of love to the Anjunabeats family throughout the set. Jaytech and Super8 & Tab’s recent power track “Code Red” was one such example, while Andrew Bayer’s brilliant “Once Lydian” brought the energy in room to a tremendous climax. Wrapping things up with the forceful “Hello,” Jono had enraptured Amnesia’s main room with two hours of clean mixing and sensational trance.
At the end of the night, I found myself overcome with appreciation for Above & Beyond. The crowd they attract is easily some of the nicest people you will come across at any show, while their live performance abilities never cease to amaze me.
With a bi-weekly residency at Cream’s Thursday nights at Amnesia, the British trance supergroup will be hosting some of the island’s top parties throughout the summer. From Mat Zo to Jaytech to Super8 & Tab, expect some killer Anjunabeats support every night. Check out the full range of parties here.