Gare in Porto, Portugal. Check out THIS venue!

gareJust discovered that techno music artist Gaiser will be performing at Gare in Porto the week we are there in early July. I wasn’t planning to go out while on vacation, but hey – check out the look of this venue! Dark cavernous spaces and techno go so well together.

I will just have to brace myself for the late hours. In Spain, nothing opened until 12 midnight and no one actually arrived until about 1:30AM. Probably similar in Portugal. Ouch.

Dutch Loveland (and we) Are Going to Spain!

I was so excited when my friend Etienne sent me the announcement that one of my favorite Dutch dance music promoters, Loveland, was going to Barcelona to put on a two weekend events in an awesome venue!

loveland live loveland drumcode

We immediately shoved everything in our schedules around to be able to go, in part because Loveland is a spectacular electronic dance music festival and it would give me the opportunity to visit my dear friend Edith, with whom I enjoyed many a great techno party when I lived in Barcelona.

Then I heard these events would be held the same weekend as the Sonar music festival in Barcesonar crowdlona.

This is not particularly good news to me – I’ve been there and the whole city is simply swarming with zillions of dance music tourists and getting around easily and getting a table and getting a place for your towel on the beach? Not likely. Sigh.

Ah well. We found a cool AirBnB place so we can cook for ourselves if needed. As insiders, we know how and where to get out of town to the best beaches where there will be room for our towels. So there!

Then we got the great news that Víctor and Alex were going too! This is going to be great.


Industrial techno?!

herr zimmermanI’m heading to the Herr Zimmerman festival this weekend. It features several industrial techno music artists I’ve never heard before, including Vitalic, Fraulein Z (yay, a lady DJ), Tansman and others.

I’m normally not into industrial techno, finding it too harsh and noisy, but I think I’ll give it a shot. Why? Because it’s in Delft and I’ve never partied in Delft, and it’s in an old factory, which sounds like a super cool dance music event venue.  The SoundCloud pages sounded pretty good, and a couple of cool people are going who I haven’t seen in awhile.

Oh and the cat on their event poster is just so cute. 

So at the very least I’ll enjoy all those things and if the music isn’t to my taste, I don’t have to stay all night, right?



I have to wonder if I was simply not meant to go to this thing. I woke up feeling unsettled and nervous, but I didn’t know why. I mean, I was going to a party in a new place with new people but that’s hardly unusual for me. Why was I feeling such unease? Then I went to the station and you heard about my extraordinarily slow bus ride to Den Haag, then I caught the train to Delft. Thinking I had all the time in the world to kill, I had a lovely late lunch on a terras in Delft, then took a nice long nap.

Then I got a message from my friend Eric that “he had arrived!” Arrived where, I wondered? Delft, the NL after his latest trip? I took another look at my ticket and realized the party was already half over. AAAAACK!

Ran into the shower and into a taxi, who *promptly got us completely lost*. I kid you not. I’d have thought he was just taking me for a “long” ride, but he was following the GPS which I could see was programmed for the address on my ticket. He himself said, But I thought it was the other way….but in the end, we didn’t see the party in either place! We were texting my friend, who said it was indeed at the address on the ticket. Somehow, the *third* time we drove down the same road, we both saw it. Arrrgh!

My two new friends found me quickly and two glasses of white wine were drunk in one swell foop. Then it started to rain! There was a big indoor hall but it was packed and I didn’t like the sound of the music, so I stayed outside huddled right next to the DJ truck, as there was a sort of awning there. About 10 or 15 of us huddled there, dancing our patooties off because the music was just so awesome, in the pouring rain. Most ended up getting soaked; I managed to keep my shoes and socks dry enough somehow.

This festival felt perhaps the most welcoming of any I’ve been to, and I noticed something interesting about the dancing: industrial techno folks dance like I do. Or I dance like they do. Everywhere I looked, there were people with my same rhythm – maybe that’s why I felt it was so welcoming?? It was fun and easy to get into each other’s groove, and this does not happen to me normally. Normally they are all doing that Dutch footwork dance, some of you know the one. This was different. We were all on this same groovy wavelength.

And at that truck anyway, it just seemed to me to be great techno, not noisy, buzzy, screechy industrial sounds like I had expected. There was some of that all over the place, mind you, but it was not all like that. Lesson learned – it was a great festival and the venue, the old factory (once FOUND) was superb. Lots of places to sit and perch when tired, lots of places to get close to the DJs when inspired. The music definitely had an industrial and electro feel overall; I think maybe I’ve gotten gradually close enough to it with my usual techno that I liked it pretty well.

The latest, greatest professional DJ mixer!

play-differently-model-1-top-large-584x600Intriguing! Obviously this is not DJ equipment for beginners, and I’m not in the market for a high-end professional DJ mixer these days. However the idea of something different for our treasured DJs does appeal and I’m always interested in what they are using up there in the stratosphere of DJland. It was co-designed by Richie Hawtin himself.

This analogue mixer has no crossfader, 6 channels, and more options than any other mixer out there. According to the website: “MODEL 1 has a unique offering of six fully featured input channels plus two stereo returns in a small format frame. It has many features not currently available on any comparable device, such as Input pre-amplifier drive control, hybrid filter/swept bell EQ, dual cue system, dual mixer linking system, and a fully balanced Tascam DB25 connector system. A fully balanced mix buss, zero crossing detection for seamless filter & master EQ routing along high voltage differential power rails.”

I have no idea what most of that means.

Play differently backApparently Adam Beyer and Dubfire are going to be playing with it this year.

Not for the faint of heart: £2500/$3650, £50/$73 flat rate shipping worldwide + taxes.

You can currently only order it direct from the website.





An unlikely electronica team? Jean Michelle Jarre and Edward Snowden

Wow. This year is just full of surprises!

“The whole Electronica project is about the ambiguous relationship we have with technology: on the one side we have the world in our pocket, on on the other, we are spied on constantly. There are tracks about the erotic relationship we have with technology, the way we touch our smartphones more than our partners, about CCTV surveillance, about love in the age of Tindr. It seemed quite appropriate to collaborate not with a musician but someone who literally symbolises this crazy relationship we have with technology.” – Jean-Michel Jarre

Cozy Club Goes Massive: Toffler Festival – Rotterdam, May 21, 2016

Toffler is a fantastic, teeny weeny club literally in the underground in Rotterdam. I go there often because it’s the closest thing to Boiler Room that we’ve got here. You can get right up front, inches away from the DJ. However Toffler is known around here as “The Tunnel,” because that’s what it’s like. You can maybe fit 10 or 15 people across, and a few hundred going back.

Toffler tunnel

The vibe at Toffler is always rich and fun. So when I heard they were going to have a big outdoor electronic dance music festival, I was intrigued. The lineup was killer, with Chris Liebing, Adam Beyer, Sam Paganini, and my current heartthrob, Tale of Us. Toffler Festival was really, really nice. Of course the perfect weather gave it an advantage many in the Netherlands don’t have.

Me and Peter at Toffler

There I am with my friend Peter from Rotterdam – smiles all around!

Something very interesting I noticed about this festival was that it was much more multicultural than the festivals in Amsterdam. I’d say half the attendees were white, and half were all the other colors of the rainbow. Very refreshing. My biggest complaint was the lack of free drinking water: who does that these days?! Other than that I thought it was spectacularly organized and laid out; somehow they brought the gezellig feeling from their tiny little club into a multi-thousand person electronic dance music event.

toffler5 toffler4

They’ll be doing an indoor daytime festival in November – You can be sure I’ll be checking that out!

First Time Festival: Nassau Festival, KingsDay 2016, Amsterdam

So I went to this new festival in Amsterdam on Kingsday on my own, because I wasn’t sure about it, as it was a first time promoter of a new electronic dance music event. I was also quite reluctant to go to an event at the Olympic stadium (sounds too big and impersonal), but in fact it was not in the stadium but was set up as a bunch of different stages *around* the stadium. It was pretty good, nothing earth shattering musically despite an excellent lineup. However, Carl Craig was awesome, as usual. What was really weird was that NO ONE was there for him. All the other stages were on the other side of the circle, and no one seemed to want to venture back to the first stage to see the Detroit Legend. So even though the event was packed, something like 20 or 30 of us were treated to a private show, which was cool but odd. And it was really, really cold. It might have been warmer at the other stages, which were packed with people. It was in fact sold out. So, interesting but different…we’ll see what they come up with next year.

Nassau festival

Dockyard Festival – Rougher but Better?

Well that was unexpected. Hmmm, now I don’t know what to recommend to potential visiting folks (like you?!). I guess it depends on what kind of electronic dance music festival you are in the mood for….

I bought my tickets for the DGTL festival I told you about two weeks ago with reservations, because I knew that this weekend I’d be heading to the same space for a different party, Dockyard Festival. Would that be boring, too much the same?

They turned out to be night and day.

So forget all that fancy sustainable pristine-clean-organic-greenhouses-vegetarian-digital bracelets-turn in your cups for credits niceness. Regular cups here, regular drink coins, regular festival food. Or was it? I had an *outstanding* burger before starting to dance; it was so good I had to give them high American praise, which they gratefully received. Then I people watched for a while. This crowd was older, rougher, grayer, and the young ones were hoodier. Had kind of a biker look to the grownups, or perhaps….people who worked on the docks, coming to Dockyard? I dunno, but it was sure different.

dockyard outside

My first thought was that this crowd could be potentially much harder to manage than all those highfalutin folks at DGTL, and that was the other main difference I noticed all day. Instead of paying for all those sustainable services, for the same ticket price, we got a pair of security guys walking past us every 10 minutes, day or night. Unlike in the US, they weren’t going around with flashlights trying to catch people doing bad things; they were very unobtrusive and I think they were just looking out for anyone who needed help. We saw no incidents at all day or night, and in fact the crowd was super well behaved and dare I say, they danced more enthusiastically, had fewer cameras out in front of themselves (age thing I think), and expressed more joy and authenticity while partying??

Meetup group dockyardAnd my Meetup group was soooo nice. It was composed of the lovely people you see in the photo below and a couple more who arrived later. However it was almost the shortest Meetup in world history, because my co-organizer Alex and I met everyone there at the lockers as planned, and then we all trooped off to Terminal 1 where we planned to spend the next several hours. But by the time we arrived there, we had lost all but one of the group! We sent messages about where we were but it was crowded and hard to navigate. It took a long time to get reunited, but we did, with most of them, and a small group of 5 or 6 of us spent most of the night together. It was so wonderful; not just herding cats like it might have been, but getting to know really cool people who share our passion for techno and dancing with them for hours on end. Niiiiice.

The lineup was terrific and the DJs were mostly on their game; Harvey McKay, Sam Paganini, Secret Cinema, Monika Kruse and Dubfire all delighted. My musical star for the day though? ART DEPARTMENT. Man, the only thing I can think of to call what he was playing is “Party Techno”. He had us whooping and jamming in a way techno rarely does.

Anyway, I get it. Just as major DJs these days have to have a unique musical message, in order to play in the big leagues of party promoters you have to create a unique, interesting and safe environment, no matter what venue you are in. Dockyard and DGTL for the win. You, dear visitors, just have to decide what you’re in the mood for.

Techno Music Artists Tale of Us Make Me Religious

This is what I’m talking about. I’m not religious, but dance music DJs Tale of Us makes me believe in something divine. The real (and only, for me) musical stars of the DGTL festival on Sunday were Tale of Us. If you like deep, melodic and bass-heavy techno, check ’em out. Hakam was also quite good, very musically talented and he mixed in Arabic singing/chanting with techno at one point which I thought was very touching and timely.

DGTL Festival: Classiest Rave Ever.

DGTL1Well that was the classiest rave I have ever been to, and it had nothing to do with sushi or oyster bars. Friends, put this one on your short list for next year. Easter weekend, DGTL. Day and night tix available. We now see why the review said that “DGTL commands deep respect across Europe.”

To start with, it was the cleanest festival I’ve ever attended. Welcome to The Future tried to do something similar with encouraging people to turn in cups others had thrown away, but it always peters out early in the day and the place eventually gets just as trashed. Here, they used very high quality, thick plastic cups and you got a half credit for bringing them back to the bar, which quickly added up to more free drinks (1 credit per beer, 1.5 credits per wine)
and we didn’t see a stray cup ANYWHERE (or if we did we scooped it right up, all day long). Very effective.

Funktion 1 sound system. Take a listen. Hear it live and you’ll start criticizing sound quality like you never have before.

New Fave DJs: Tale of Us.

Fantastic industrial wharf site for techno, on the water, with a massive giant crane popping up through the middle of it. Nothing green to be seen here, if you want that check out the summer festivals.

State of the art lights and visuals, with 3-D stuff overhead, totally added to the experience.

Getting around was made extremely easy, toilets were clean and always available.

Great crowd, on the young side, but all were true technohedz, I got no creepy guys at all. NICE. Of course it helped that I was mostly hanging with my first Meetup group, which included several lovely folks from the Netherlands and a visitor from the US, all of whom knew their stuff when it came to techno, and I learned some really interesting things about the scene here. For one thing daytime parties, and multiple-day parties all year round are here and here to stay. The city understandably prefers them to night festivities and the influx of rowdy people on the streets at 5-6am. Sweet! My body is already cheering.

Oh and you can get your money back for unused drink coins if you bought them online (which I did)! That is something I never expected a festival would allow. I assume they must have upped the ticket price a bit, but they are all around €45 these days anyway. At least I feel like I’m getting a whole lot for my money, for an 11-hour daytime experience.

Overall just a very professional, authentic and well-done event that should raise the bar for all other festivals. Goodness we are some lucky and spoiled ravers around here.