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Review: Warriors opens at Sankeys Ibiza, 2016

Steve Lawler assembles his warriors

I've just snapped out of a head-scratching, chin-stroking ponder at what I was getting up to on Sundays last season. How I got from 12 AM on Sunday to 12 PM on Monday for five months has completely fallen into an abyss that my grey matter won't be recollecting any time soon. But, whatever I was doing, I never made it to Sankeys for Steve Lawler's rhythm remedy – big mistake. I knew somewhere in my subconscious that Lawler's roots in dance music could be unearthed from those early rave years, however it was only through his recent documentary, The Art Of The DJ, that I got to really know the inner ticks of this British veteran. I'm more than sure I've heard him blasting some ballsy beats somewhere, but last night was a proper induction to both him, and his Warriors residency teardown.

This wasn't to be any ordinary review; it was mission to get other house and techno hunters involved in giving judgements on what's booming on Bossa's pavements. It started off well with me rolling along solo on the disco bus, so I thought why not start asking myself questions. It was quite good for a while – I knew all the answers – but then I spotted a sign of hope in the form of fellow humans, only for it turn out they were headed to tangle under the bedsheets – not the same sweat session I was in for. Clearly I must have just missed some mad exodus from San Antonio into the heart of the action, because from a snatch at Facebook Sankeys, I could tell it was rammed. Fifteen minutes later I rocked up and it was absolutely booming. While Subb-An's deep house swimmer, 'Sun 101', was being spun by Lawler, I started preparing to see how many sweat beads I could balance on my face and had another moment of regret at not making it in last year. Mark Jenkyns was your man in The Lab and he was cracking on with one of my favourite techno thumping brutes – Clio's 'Techno Frequencies'.

Tunage sounding the good kind of threatening in all quarters of the club, it was time to get up to the terrace and see what nuggets of golden information I could squeeze out. I'm yet to prove this, but I swear Scottish people can sniff out their fellow men and as you'd have it, my first targets were Scots. Jo McGinly, your typical up-for-a-banter Scottish lass, is a worker here and has four years to her season-post. Why was this Ibiza loving human here tonight? “Because I've met a curly-haired sexy lady, that's why.” Cheers mate. You´ve got your mad fans that can simply say that they love their mixing maestro, or you can have it in MC lyricist form. Hers went like so: “They call MC Jo, MC MC MC Viva Warrior, MC MC MC ViVA Warrior, I've got the Sankeys vibe, ViVA ViVA. Sankeys is the best. Sankeys Warriors is it.” One of Jo's buddies for the night, Stephen Ronson from Manchester, cancelled his flight home and paid 130 € to stall his return to Tuesday so he could squeeze in a Warriors session. Lawler doesn't mess about when it comes to accumulating loyal followers and there's a case in point example. I probably said something like “good on you pal” before the conversation took a tumble into debauchery. Banter continued with another hilarity-inducing member of their team, Danny Johnson, who was also a Scot. “I'm not even here. I'm a ghost,” was his answer to why he likes Ibiza. Brilliant start ya phantom. Next I drilled him on if he likes Lawler. “I do, I do and he likes me. I like Warriors because…I'm a bit of a warrior myself. Different situations, different costumes. Warrior for days.” Comedy away from the box is still all about deliverance, and I know reading this probably isn't going to do Danny's excellent patter justice, but this guy feeds off the banter drip regularly. I could have been with that lot for hours, but the digitised mic needed a bigger club sweep.

Back indoors, Eats Everything was stirring a melting pot of robust techno rhythms with a bit of acid house lumped in. I was loving Edu Imbernón who blazed Cirez D's 'On Off' and Pig & Dan's techno trucker 'The Saint'. Climbing the steps back into the terrace, James Morris, a holidaymaker told me he was here “because I wanted to see Warriors. A friend of mine, our king organiser who always takes us on good nights, said you've got to come to this thing tonight.” His mate Sam had whet his appetite after sending a Steve Lawler Soundcloud set his way. “It's my first night and this has been a very good shout. We got here at 12 and I don't know what time it is, but I've had a good time ever since. It's surpassed my expectations anyway.” He was also liking a bit of The Lab action and said “there's more space to rave and it's more hyper music.”

Returning to the basement for Eats Everything's race to the end of his closing set, the high-octane tempo had been brought into groovier, house territory with classic ´90s track, 'Make The World Go Round' (Deep Dish remix) by Sandy B and The MD x Spress', 'God Made Me Phunky'. He chucked in a dynamite curveball with Mariah Carey's r&b classic 'Fantasy', which was bled back into electronic beats and finally, the all-important closing track was an absolute peach from the banks of vintage dance years, 'Pacific State' by 808 State. “Absolutely phenomenal. Eats Everything dropping that at the end. It got all boiler room,” was what Nick Johnson from Sheffield had to say after being spewed out onto Playa d'en Bossa's streets. A big fan of the Bristol producer, he said “I've seen him play at elrow, really hippy techno, and tonight it was just absolutely spot on. Every tune he played just fitted with Sankeys on the dot.”

I'd heard some wrong stuff in my grilling quest, but top award goes to the guy who stored used chewin gum behind his ear. Total wrong 'un. Weird character behaviour aside, it's going to be another big year for Steve Lawler at Sankeys.


WORDS | Aimee Lawrence PHOTOGRAPHY | Sankeys

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