Let’s start with some history and background: Located in the very centre of Amsterdam near Rembrandtplein, AIR is one of the most modern clubs in the city. It is split into multiple rooms and can hold over 1,000 people, with five bars and, like a lot of Amsterdam clubs, secure lockers to provide guests with a more reliable option than a cloakroom. It’s equipped with a Void Acoustics soundsystem and features walls lined with lights and a video projection screen and is always one of the main places to check out during ADE each year.
In 2014 it was no different. Things kicked off on Wednesday with a special Doorn Records label but on Thursday when we attended it was the small matter of Radio 1 and UK dance veteran Pete Tong returning once more with his All Gone Pete Tong night, which featured the man himself as well as a range of big name house stars such as Heidi, Tube & Berger, Amine Edge & D.A.N.C.E, Waze & Odyssey, Jaymo & Andy George, Ejeca, Walker & Royce, Mr Belt & Wezol and Quinten 909.
When we arrived in the already bouncing club UK house duo Waze & Odyssey were in full flow. The energetic pair bounced about in the booth and ramped up the atmosphere in the club, getting people dancing with vigour, even though it was a relatively early slot. Their set was filled with their own cuts as well as fresh house and colourful tech.
Following on from those was the inimitable Heidi, another Radio 1 stalwart, who immediately made the club her own with lots of jacked up, classically informed house selections from a range of modern-day greats. She smiled from ear to ear as she did so, whipping up plenty of positive vibes throughout the dancefloor – some people even got up on each others’ shoulders in response to her fun selections!
Over in room two, which fostered a slightly different, more heady vibe, Ejeca was the one banging out the beats. His retro stabs, diva vocals and then more serene and proggy vibes went down well and had everyone marching as one. The dark room was lit up with cutting lasers, which swung about and chopped up the floor into interesting fragments.
Of course, the main draw was always going to be Monsieur Tong (MBE) himself, the man who has put his heart and soul into dance music. As you would expect, his set was full of the latest beats, big crowd pleasers and a few gems from the vaults. He mixed them all with ease, energy and a smiling face.
Elsewhere on the night there was so much to choose from it was impossible to see it all, but shouts must go to Amine Edge & DANCE who did their G House thing well.
In summary we’d say AIR is a first-rate club with first-rate line-ups that should be checked out whether it’s during ADE or not.
Words: Pete Downes