Dancing Astronaut Does Ibiza: Ushuaïa hosts Axwell and Ingrosso for Departures opening party
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.
There are plenty of beautiful beach resorts to speak of in Ibiza, but none compare to the absolutely gorgeous Ushuaïa. Located in Playa d’en Bossa, the beachfront hotel boasts a massive outdoor venue within its tropical, paradisiac complex. Throughout the summer, the hotel will host residencies from such venerated artists as Hardwell, Armin van Buuren, Avicii and more.
Last Wednesday, Ushuaïa opened its doors to one of the season’s most anticipated parties: Departures. Hosting two-thirds of the mighty triumvirate Swedish House Mafia, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso joined forces for the first Departures performance of their summer Ibiza residency. Having recently merged their Facebook fan pages, there’s been an air of mystery surrounding the two’s ongoing collaboration. While they originally debuted the Departures concept back in 2013 immediately following the breakup of SHM, this year’s alliance has all the makings of a bigger relationship. With greater emphasis on their Ushuaïa residency and a recent performance from West Coast mega-festival EDC Las Vegas, this year is shaping up to be big for Axwell and Ingrosso’s collaboration.
The grand opening of their Ushuaïa residency was an elegant affair to say the least. Walking into the open-air beach hotel, fans passed under a long trail of giant metallic triangles modeled after the duo’s signature feather symbol. Once inside Ushuaïa, the sheer scale of the venue became evident. With a stage large enough to be the main assemblage of any festival, this was truly more than an auxiliary addition to the hotel.
Before the duo could get started, Alesso was on hand to usher in the night with his bold brand of big room house. With the sun still high in the sky, the young Swede led the crowd through plenty of his signature tracks like “Years” and “If I Lose Myself,” while ramping up the energy with festival favorites such as Showtek’s “We Like to Party” and Hard Rock Sofa and Skidka’s “Moloko.” I can’t say it was the most thrilling set I’ve ever witnessed, as the mixing and song selection was ultimately a bit bland, but it certainly rallied fans for the unveiling of Departures.
Timed expertly with the setting of the sun, Seb and Axwell took the stage to a darkened skyline awaiting their lasers, CO2 cannons and euphoric productions. Despite having broken up over a year ago, it was impossible not to watch the performance without conjuring memories of Swedish House Mafia. Marketing campaigns and commercialism aside, no one can deny the impact of the trio’s five-year run. Watching Departures on stage, I couldn’t help but think that this was the Swedish House Mafia show I always wanted but never got.
Having seen them at their “final” show at Ultra only to be severely disappointed, this performance had all the poignant nostalgia and world-class production without the oversold hype and predictable tracklist. Enough time had passed that I no longer found myself yawning at tracks like “Greyhound” and “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.”
In addition to these SHM classics, Axwell and Ingrosso had plenty of new material to show off. In a similar vein to the Mafia’s final single, “Don’t You Worry Child,” Departures’ unreleased productions seem more skewed towards anthemic songwriting than blistering festival drops. At the end of the day, Departures is the closest you can get to reviving the spirit of Swedish House Mafia without all the sensationalism that comes along with the name.
Heading out to Ibiza soon? Definitely don’t pass on Ushuaïa hotel. From Hardwell, to Armin van Buuren, to an underground house and techno night with Maya Jane Coles, Deetron and more, the luxurious beach hotel has something for everyone.