Image: ADE - A'DAM Tower (Credit: Coen van Tartwijk)
The 22nd edition of Amsterdam Dance Event was attended by a record number of 395,000 visitors. With 7,200 representatives of the worldwide electronic music industry attending the conference and people from over 90 countries, ADE once again cemented its position as one of the world's leading platforms for electronic music.
As an opportunity to spot the latest developments: from musical trends and upcoming talents to the most recent output of dance’s pioneers and superstars, we really were spoilt for choice in Amsterdam. Here's just some of the things that we'll take away from this year's instalment.
Loft parties in the late morning are as special as you'd imagine
Audio Obscura decided that this year they wanted to capture the spirit of a true after party by hosting afterhours sessions, starting at 7am and running them right through until the afternoon. Taking place at The Loft, located on the 16th floor of the A’DAM Tower, the three events were headlined by Jackmaster and Optimo, Maceo Plex, and Job Jobse.
We headed up the tower on the Friday morning, catching Glaswegian selectors Jackmaster and Optimo back to back as they unleashed everything from minimal grooves to big 2017 tracks like Bicep's 'Aura'. It's not something we'll be forgetting in a hurry.
Always keep your ear to the ground
The ADE programme is overwhelming, but a thing of beauty - hundreds of sessions taking place in venues ranging from pubs to shops to the notoriously intense Warehouse Elementenstraat, where DVS1’s Wall of Sound offered a massive wall of speakers for techno disciples to happily die next to.
That’s only part of the action, though. We also found ourselves up high for more discreet gatherings at Urbanears Hideout, and below for a bash with Young Marco at Lux, which finished on a slightly premature airing of ‘Last Christmas’, but we’re not criticising. The point is talk to people, get involved, see what happens.
Classic Music Company are in the midst of a purple patch
Classic has been fully back on our radar since the beginning of the year, thanks to key releases from industry greats that have been lighting up dancefloors with whole load of, well, class. The label put out Midland's epic 'Final Credits', Red Rack'em got wonky and now Luke Solomon is making new disco records (not edits!) and DJ-of-the-moment Honey Dijon has just released her debut album on the imprint.
The basement room of Defected's ADE party at AIR Amsterdam was a complete Classic takeover, with Luke, Honey and DJ Haus taking us through until the early morning. It was further proof that the label is completely capturing the zeitgeist of house music once more. Check out our video from the party above.
Google Maps, beers, and bikes are a recipe for being exiled
With free roaming across the E.U. now (let’s not think about 2019) the temptation to stick an address into your phone and stare at the direction arrows while walking has has never been greater, with many venues within easy walking distance. It’s also a surefire way to piss off all the cyclists trying to get about their daily business while you’re in party mode. Courtesy, and a responsible glance left and right before stepping off the curb is essential to avoid getting in the way of the silent two wheelers, and their fury. Trust us.
DVS1 doesn't half speak some sense
During the 'Role Of The DJ' panel with DVS1 and Oscar Mulero, the American artist honed in on how clubland is shifting so that the DJ is at the centre of attention, whilst he's keen to keep it all about the music and the experience.
He commented on shorter DJ sets within clubland, and how it's down to the rising popularity of festivals, something which is making all night long DJ sets even more appealing these days. All in all it was a great insight from someone who has been a part of the underground techno scene for .
Lokier, Manfredas and Studio K was a great combination
ADE is no stranger to monumental shows. Sometimes, though, it’s the smallish parties that really stand out. Musically speaking, the Ransom Note x Spun Out x ZeeZout session over at Studio K, a theatre-style space in a former school spread over two floors with plenty of corners for mess, was outrageously good.
We arrived to catch one half of She Made Monster, Lokier, whose tense, darkroom house and tech-y stuff veered from deliciously driving to broken and building. Manfredas - regular at London’s Waiting Rooms amongst other spots - also blew us away with solid but trippy curveballs dished out by the bucket-o-sweat load. Optimo and Andrew Weatherall smashed it, too- respectively fast and slow- but that goes without saying.
Amsterdam is a truly beautiful city
Ok, a pretty obvious one, but something that has to be mentioned. The weather on the Wednesday and Thursday of this year's ADE was glorious; sunny, crisp and pretty toasty for the time of year. This made wandering around the streets and over the flower-framed canals even more notable than usual. It's a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the nightlife scene.
Volkshotel is where at least some of it is at
The city may be awash with accommodation options, ranging from luxe to places you probably don’t want to leave a suitcase overnight, but Volkshotel is as solid as they come. Our weekend closed out with Lakuti and Tama Sumo doing their muscular disco and solid house thing on the rooftop, dancing arm in arm with a 52 year old from Montreal, and this address was also home to enough panels, workshops, and record sales to make up for the absence of chips with the burgers served in the foyer.
Secondary ticketing is more complex than ever
We attended the panel on secondary ticketing (surprise, surprise) on the Thursday, the fact the topic was the subject of a panel was proof enough on how crucial this issue is to the music scene at the moment. It was a look at the multiple points of view regarding the secondary market, and how it can be used to improve the situation for fans.
The guests, including the head of Ticketswap, discussed bots and how the problems with secondary ticketing actually stem from the primary market, for example, big ticket companies giving secondary sites allocations without fans even getting a look in. They talked about transparency, and how fans are finally taking a stand. Find out what we're doing to combat touting and exploitative secondary ticketing.
You will never, ever hit everything - or even come close - so make the most of what you do
There’s no point in attempting to visit more than a couple of spots in one fell swoop, unless you’re OK with spending most of your ADE on the move and not really getting stuck in anywhere. Pick one, pick two, at the most pick a few for the duration, and do them properly. Every second in a taxi is time you could be on the floor experiencing some of the best events the electronic music calendar, and there’s always next year.