Rembrandt, Vermeer, and…Maceo! Yep, Ellum’s main man shut down the bike passage of Amsterdam’s world famous Rijksmuseum with a very special Amsterdam Dance event performance this past Friday.
Set as the week’s experience gradually reaches its peak, the early evening set played directly into the city’s up for it after work crowd, taking some 2,000 revellers to places their normal happy hour drink activities could only dream off. Conceived and executed as a collaborative effort between Maceo, Audio Obscura, and KPN, the state of the art production value (for better or worse) transformed the space into a light-columned sea of bodies heaving to the extended set.
For this Amsterdam Dance Event that was, Maceo Plex was the undisputed king. Showcasing his Ibiza-season best Mosaic concept via DGTL on Thursday, acting as special guest for Click vs Obscura where he went b2b2b with Agents of Time, and bringing a sunrise Ellum-style to the A’dam Toren. All this after a year that saw him raise his star to bonafide superstar levels with a marathon 10 gigs in one Ibizan day, setting the release of two new albums, and, as mentioned, debuted the finest residency of Ibiza’s summer season with Mosaic at Pacha Ibiza.
On this night, Maceo’s set was (surely) chock full of unreleased material, incapable of identification even from the most determined of Shazamer. However, of the tracks that were recognisable, a few standouts came in the form of Anthony Rother‘s electro stormer ‘Red Light District,’ Vincenzo d’Amico‘s aptly titled ‘The Groove,’ and Maceo’s own remix of The Smith‘s classic ‘How Soon Is Now’. Known for his mix of melancholic house and ecstatic techno, the four hour set stayed true to form with its intangible laying within the natural acoustics of the space. Similar to Amsterdam’s techno behemoth, Gashouder, the Rijkmsuseum’s bike passage provided an ever so slight reverberation, allowing basslines to hit that much harder, and high hats that much crisper. It is this reason which makes an event like this a truly a unique experience, sonically-speaking.
Naturally, not all was perfect. With the crowd being somewhat disappointing, especially given the selective nature of the event. As mentioned, some 2,000 found there way past the invitation system that saw some 60,000 applicants. Now, I’m not sure what the selection criteria ultimately was, but the fact the crowd looked like an extended model agency surely was not by accident. Also, perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly given that observation, the generic after work drink atmosphere did seem to bleed into the event. Despite a packed audience from front to back, movement seemed constricted toward the slightest of shuffling, with many a reveller stuck behind camera’s rather than losing themselves in the moment. But, these criticisms seem to be more and more prominent as time goes by, especially in glam-filled markets such as Amsterdam and other Western Europe destinations, so they don’t come as too much of a surprise. Still though, since its the crowd that so often makes the event, please try and be more exciting, and thus, more interesting. Looks and clothes take you so far but smiles and conversation will take you farther.
For me, though, the event remained as the highlight of ADE 2016, which was the busiest yet. The combination (and cultural appreciation on the part of Maceo and Audio Obscura, a crew known for finding “high culture” venues for such events) was a breath of fresh air in an industry so often driven by superficiality and a template based approach to creation. It felt special! It felt cultured! It felt unique!
Check out the official gallery from the event below and let us know what your experiences were.
Photo Credit: Katja Rupp