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Review: Ushuaïa closing party, 2014

A rare relationship rocked Ibiza for Ushuaïa closings.

Ushuaïa pulled one of the most controversial moves of the season by booking Music On marathon man Marco Carola to do a twelve hour stint at the plush Playa d'en Bossa venue. Having spent the summer in Amnesia on Fridays for the third season running, Carola switched things up by swapping the confines of the terrace for the alfresco hotel, sparking qualms about how the pair would fit together. The odd coupling comes as Carola is one of the most underground, linear, tech house music makers in the business whereas Ushuaïa stands as Ibiza's flashiest, more commercially focused venue on the island; a brave juxtaposition to explore.

Although this year Ushuaïa made a name for itself by championing huge electro residents including chart toppers David Guetta, Avicii and Armin van Buuren, it also hosted many of the shows in the Hard Rock series. The likes of Kylie Minogue and The Prodigy show the club has been eager to delve into new musical avenues and are cautious not to pigeon-hole themselves to purely EDM.

It was a bold stroke indeed but Ushuaïa was careful not to side-step too far away from its calling card of spectacular stage production, glamourous dancers and impressive décor. The entrance boasted an extravagant wooden arch and the entire stage was loaded with exotic plants and palm trees, giving the venue a unique, jungle-esque vibe. Wild shrubbery lined the edges of the famous outdoor pool and Tarzan-like vines hung from the stage's scaffolds over the head of ANTS resident and island gem Andrea Oliva who had took to the turntables from 2pm to warm up for techno tyrant Carola. Clubbers began flooding in in their tribes with heavy expectations and high spirits as the sun beamed down.

Familiar with the open-air decks after a season of Saturday sets, Oliva delivered a mix laced with head-twisting beats and striking pulses. Dancers in heavy, chrome outfits entertained the ravers who zealously shrieked anytime an aeroplane darted across the sky above.

Carola joined the carnival for his mammoth twelve-hour spell while it was still light. Music On fans know from the successful Amnesia parties that the minimal tech/tech-house master usually takes to the terrace booth around 4am, weaving wonder as the sunlight begins to stream through the ceiling panels. Only then do things begin to get weird and wonderful as Carola throws many more risks and reverbs into his set. At Ushuaïa, his mix was the soundtrack to a day-to-night transition which, in my opinion, didn't hold the same mystique as a sunrise change-over. His signature sound was all there however and tech lord looked comfortable in his new habitat as he sunk in to his stripped back, bass-fuelled beats, eerie drones and hypnotic pulses. The recognisable “it's all about the music” mantra was illuminated on the stage, reminding his faithful followers and Carola newbies alike that his famed ethos is still solid despite Ushuaïa's extraordinary display, extravagant production and visual techniques.

Franz Costa's Random Dialogue dispelled through the speakers as the midnight curfew was forgotten and the party continued to the early Sunday morning hours of 7am. Classic Carola was the puppeteer to the ravers as he performed his usual pantomime routine of teasing out the very last lingering drop. There is no doubt he had the revellers in the palm of his hand from the first beat of his marathon mix with a surprising and impressive number holding out to the very end.

The closing party event was a great opportunity to showcase Ushuaïa's developing diversity and reinforced the venue is an important drive in steering the White Isle back to the tradition of daytime clubbing. The bar has now been set for summer 2015 with whispers that the collaboration could become customary. Although that's not confirmed, the party did guarantee two things; Carola is the magician of mammoth minimal tech sets and Ushuaïa's lavish location is undoubtedly the number one on the island for fantastic stage production and almighty shows. More of that next season please!

WORDS | Francesca Evans PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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