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Review: BBC Radio 1 at Ushuaïa, 1st August

The army of Radio 1 and co triumphantly reign for another year in Ibiza.

“Three…two…one!” screamed the ravers as the luminous clock that was projected overhead counted down to the second, marking the moment BBC Radio 1 went live to the listeners back home. A cheer rippled through the crowd and the station's iconic badge flashed on the screen like a triumphant flag over a seized land; the legion of Radio 1 and their army of international DJs had conquered Ushuaïa.

One of Radio 1's freshest faces, Danny Howard dominated the decks first. The Blackpool DJ owes a lot to the BBC station; he was discovered through a Radio 1 talent search, leading him to open the Ibiza Weekend back in 2011. Although he describes his own style as ‘Big Room Sexy House', his weapons of choice included Ben Pearce's What I Might Do and a House remix of the smooth classic Bump and Grind. As the party-goers joined in unison singing My mind's telling me nooooo, (I bet you read that in the tune, didn't you) and the lad next to me whipped his bandaged, broken arm out of it's sling to fist pump, it was a clear the raving weekender had definitely begun.

Frenchman David Guetta was up next to surmount the Ushuaïa crowd. Famous for his energy-fuelled electro, he opened his power-charged set with his 2014 hit Shot Me Down.

The crowd was more or less at capacity, and yet there was still enough room to dance and prance around... something you might not enjoy at say Avicii on Sundays. Still, Guetta commanded the clubbers effortlessly. With one hand in the air, he halted the music so only the roars and applauds from the crowd were audible before picking up the tempo with the familiar vocals from Titanium. It's moments like these that make me disagree with the point that DJ's just “press a couple of buttons”, a debate that was raised in a Radio 1 newsbeat article yesterday (Friday 1st August). When there are dips and dives and drops and pops in a set and the DJ is really connecting with the audience, feeding off their energy, they are completely in control of the atmosphere and vibe and it goes beyond button-pressing and sound-sampling.

Without missing a beat, Duke Dumont followed Monsieur Guetta in quick succession. His breakthrough tune Need You (100%) streamed in to summer smash Got You fluently as the camera panned over the enlivened revellers. His set then transcended past his lyric-loaded chart toppers to more futuristic beats, proving the British DJ isn't just a one trick pony.

Radio 1 royalty Annie Mac was welcomed by cheers from an anticipating congregation. A filthy bassline throbbed out the speakers as she opened with a very very loose remix of Busta Rhymes's Touch It and delivered the warning: “Ushuaïa, it's getting dark, day is about to turn into night.” The Balearic sun set to the tune of Usher's Good Kisser, London Grammar's Hey Now and a tinkle of Oliver Helden's Gecko but the set was also laced with analogue beats made over with a modern sound. “Ibiza, let me see your hands up” she ordered to the troops of clubbers as she injected the air with a bass you could probably hear for miles. Introducing her right hand woman on stage in the form of Canadian singer-songwriter Kiesza, Annie Mac's spectacle was one that, in my opinion, packed the most punch. Kiesza performed her chart smash Hideaway and treated the ravers to dance moves that even Radio 1's Greg James couldn't mimic. (Youtube Greg James's Hideaway video for a barrel of laughs).

STREAM | Pete Tong and Hot Since 82's set is now available to stream via BBC Radio 1's YouTUbe channel. This, along with mxes from other sets on the night can be found here.

As the venue plunged in to darkness, the well-known MK remix of My Head Is a Jungle pumped out, as he took to the booth. Electro extraordinaire Afrojack followed on with the night's most impressive light show and Walking with Elephants was welcomed with rumbles of satisfaction for Ten Walls. Eric Prydz then took over with a delicious, but far far too short, twenty-five minute set of slinky electro and quality progressive house. And as Bigger than Prince rung out from Hot Since 82 and the master Pete Tong's back to back mix, it signalled the end of the Ibiza opening party.

From the countdown at the beginning to the mix-down at the finale, the BBC experience at Ushuaïa left no doubt in the Ibiza clubber's mind who commanded the best parties. The army of Radio 1 and co triumphantly reign for another year as the biggest weekender in the party calendar…and rightly so.

WORDS | Francesca Evans

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