Helen Giles caught sets from Cosmic Gate, Gareth Emery, Eddie Halliwell and more for the Cream showcase.
Date published: 19th Apr 2017
2017 is a milestone year for event promoters Cream, who will see their iconic brand turn 25 this year. Founded in 1992 by friends Andy Carroll, James Barton and Darren Hughes, the weekly house music night ran from the infamous Nation nightclub in Liverpool for over 10 years, before taking over the electronic music market becoming the world’s most instantly recognisable clubbing brand.
Hosting events in over 17 countries including the biggest and longest running club night in Ibiza and Majorca every summer, and dance music festival Creamfields that has collected countless awards, the brand continues to expand its fan base and bring the latest dance music trends to beloved followers across the world. As part of their development, Cream also run a number of touring events, including the Cream Ibiza Tour series that arrived in Bristol on the 14th April for an evening of the best trance and house music, gearing fans up for a summer filled with music and fun.
Upon entering Motion nightclub, it is clear to see why the site has been positioned at #19 in the Top 100 Clubs across the world (as quoted by DJ Mag). From the swift entrance into the venue through efficient and friendly security staff, we made our way through the opening courtyard into the impressive musical fortress, containing multiple bars, two stages adequately separated, with a smaller, more scenic courtyard to the back of the club, situated on the River Avon.
Motion is unlike any other club in South-West England, a blank canvas that is able to cater to the most contemporary of music events with great success, whilst its warehouse structure reminiscent of the early 90s rave cultivation, combining the best elements of dance music culture appealing to a wide spectrum of people.
On to the music, and welcoming us into the impressive main arena were the summery sounds of Anthony Probyn, keeping the warm up proceedings chilled as guests were still arriving. His music selection, containing lots of melodic synth patterns and angelic vocal choruses, and the way they were intertwined so smoothly painted the image of the Balearic coast into your mind so clearly, you close your eyes and believe for a second you were actually there on the White Isle.
Suddenly, the gigantic main arena was bursting from the seams, and following a dramatic introduction Cosmic Gate took to the stage with such positive and vibrant energy, to the joy of adoring fans. Their performance was heavily influenced around their latest album Materia: Chapter One, with the legendary trance duo dropping several of their new tracks, including ‘Fall Into You’ featuring JES, which saw arms soar into the air, taking in every emotion that was being expressed through the beautiful, soulful vocals.
As well as the new material, the crowd were treated to a masterclass in DJ performance as they moved effortlessly through a variety of old and new trance sounds, including hits from Norwegian superstar Orjan Nilsen, club classic ‘Saltwater’ from Chicane, before finishing with their own renowned floor filler ‘Exploration of Space’, greeted with screams of gratitude. The electric dynamic that Nic and Bossi have maintained throughout their long and successful career is commendable, and it is such a pleasure to see two DJs having just as much fun on stage as the audience. This combined with their great technical skills only cements their status as true trance pioneers of a generation.
Up next was fellow electronic music innovator Gareth Emery. Famed for his uplifting trance ballads featuring emotional vocal accompaniments, it would be fair to predict a similar feel to his live performance. What was actually demonstrated on the night was a hugely diverse set, containing both the elements of euphoria we would come to expect and hard hitting drum rhythms and distorted synth patterns, creating an equal balance of high energy movement and moments of soft contemplation, especially with the inclusion of his own timeless classic featuring Bo Bruce ‘U’ that had the crowd reaching for the sky with pure bliss in their hearts.
Ending the set with the beautifully simplistic ‘Long Way Home’ acted as food for thought, that represented not only his journey through the music industry but how the dance music scene has evolved through the decades to the present day, allowing us to reflect on how far it has come. The craftsmanship that had gone into the performance, as well as the undeniable technical capabilities of the DJ and producer displayed his versatility and creativity as a performer.
House music promoters Shuffle were proving popular in the Tunnel with a very excitable crowd. Relatively well-known in the South-West region for their club nights at SIN nightclub in Weston-Super-Mare, the emphasis was to provide an alternative to the trance heavy event with the finest upfront and funky house music, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. A particular highlight from this room was the set from the Shuffle Brothers themselves, Simon David and Luke Merrick, who kept the momentum going in the early hours with light and funky vibes throughout.
Dance music events generally tend to follow a particular formula – a laid back warm up, leading into more upbeat and uplifting sets, with the finale of the night incorporating a much harder and energetic energy to see you off into the night, and tonight was no exception. The DJs tasked with ending the night with an almighty bang were Eddie Halliwell and Jordan Suckley, both renowned for their high-octane sets filled with huge drops into heavy bass synths with a rippling drum accompaniment.
Eddie Halliwell set the pace for the beginning of the finale with a fast-fuelled flurry of distorted synths, leaving the crowd with no choice but to stomp along, feeding off the energy he exuded and the impeccable song choices. Suckley then followed suit, launching in elements of the increasingly popular genre of psy-trance to keep the momentum going, along with his signature tech-trance style. The set was relentless, lot letting up for even a second, and this energy is what kept the main arena buzzing right until the very end.
The variety of trance and house, the setting a unique venue hailed as one of the best in the world, the calibre of talent on offer to fans perfectly epitomises what iconic brand Cream is all about, and it is what they have been offering to the clubbing industry for over 2 decades. They have captured the essence of a Balearic summer and brought it to the heart of South-West England, making us all very excited for what is yet to come over the rest of the year. This night was the perfect antidote to kick start a summer of dreams.