Space Closing 2011
127 days is a long time in dance music. That’s a whole summer. Over four months. 1524 hours to fill as much as possible with DJs, doormen, dancefloors, drinks and dancing. And for Space in Ibiza, it’s time to booked the season with its gargantuan closing fiesta. Over the years the May and October dates have morphed from simple parties manned by the clubs many residents and a smattering of big-name guests to mini-festivals, with close to ten thousand people cramming themselves into the six rooms and the now customary car park. In 2011, if being true to the branding, it’s the Flight Club, and while the various Space promotions will man the permanent spaces, Miami’s Ultra Music Festival will serve up the bona fide start of the Sunday’s events, kicking off at half four with a blend of US-flavoured house music for those hardy enough to attempt the nineteen-plus hour long haul from afternoon to lunchtime. Monday.
It’s actually incredible how full the club is already, even when it’s only two hours in, with the car park already bursting at the seams. Maybe it’s seasoned pros used to a midday opening, down as a force of habit, the 24-hour fiesta now consigned to history. With clever use of staggered opening times however, finely honed from previous programming, when Fedde le Grand appears in the open air at seven, he’s only still competing with the fabled – and still ‘new’ – Sunset Terrace where Space stalwarts DJ Mag are setting the tone with heavyweights SOS, themselves no strangers to a closing party or two. The only downside to a later opening (bar less ability to do oneself damage) is that the sunset arrives all too quickly, but it’s the early evening when the club begins to truly come alive.
Arguably the best line-up of the night can be found in the Terrace. While it may be almost unrecognisable from its past incarnation, the Terraza has taken on a character all of its own, its grey stone walls and crisp Funktion One system custom built for house music, and with Kehakuma at the controls until midday its mouthwatering roster takes in Maya Jane Coles, Carl Craig, Nic Curly, Steve Lawler, Jamie Jones and Nic Fanciulli. Oh, and some bloke called Carl Cox from seven am until midday. There have been shorter wars. By ten pm, with a quick dash for Wally Lopez – fire breathing, pneumatic dancers and all – out of the way, its time to find the first quandaries of the night cropping up. Part of the familiar events of a closing party are to plan your evening, even though you know that with the best will in the world, no one ever manages to stick to the timings they dream up. Armin, Jamie Jones or Radio Slave? At any point in the night, you could be wrestling your friends’ wishes saying “come and find me, I’ll be right here in two hours” in the vain hope you’ll actually see each other again. It’s a strange joy never quite knowing how the night will pan out.
But it does pan out, and brilliantly. Time was that Space’s opening and closing fiestas could be a little disjointed, with hardworking residents vying for space with some of the bigger names, and programming that didn’t always slot into place as it should, but 2011 has no such problems. The music is defined in each room, and after circulating early on, taking in the sights (and there are many, including one fifty-something gent in El Salon preening his belly out in front of a sniggering crowd, and later on, on every trip to the Premier Etage, someone no doubt nodded off on the seats, somehow disco napping while the music pumps out around them) there’s a chance to take root in one place and avoid the trap of never quite getting into any set all night.
And in this case, a few wanderings aside, the Terraza is the location of choice, well into the dawn hours. From Jamie Jones’ laid-back analogue grooves through Nic Curly’s shuffling, effortless four-four tracks, to Maya Jane Coles’ genre-bending bass-heavy house, it’s difficult to head away from the sunken dancefloor that seems to come alive – ironically, considering its previous incarnation – when the sun goes down. There’s something poetic about Steve Lawler, the DJ that used to close the old Terrace at We Love for so many years, slotting into the small hours, but his and Nic Fanciulli’s sets edge the tone through tech-house to organic, solid house, teeing up the DJ that many have stayed here for in threat to erode their Monday staying power: Carl Craig. Of all the artists that have been around since the 90s, Craig is one that seems to evoke almost universal acclaim, whether he’s weaving through techno or blending house music from his thirty year career. Here he’s peerless, sending the masses into raptures as he drops X-Press2′s classic Muzik Express. You can accuse Space of sticking with the old at times, but when it’s this good, there’s no argument.
Handing over to Carl Cox however, is the icing on the cake. It’s seven am, way past many self-imposed, and broken ‘cut-off’ times, but the Terraza is still packed. This is an interesting addition to the program, usurping the Discoteca’s usual domain as the last man standing. But with the dawn’s light growing ever stronger, it’s left to one of dance music’s old hands to bring the season to a close. Pumping out track after track of energetic house and techno, grinning from ear to ear, Cox is the perfect point man, in a club where he first played when some of the current DJs were barely out of short trousers. With his own night at Space a decade old this season, it’s a fitting end to the October marathon. Maybe we’ll stay for just one more tune.