Elrow goes to Amsterdam at De Marktkantine review

Carnival dancers, Damian Lazarus and cups filled with confetti, Becca Frankland reviews her first ever Elrow experience.

Becca Frankland

Last updated: 7th Dec 2015

Images: Elrow

Stilt performers, inflatable mini lilos and chunky house tracks delivered by world class DJs. Where else in clubland can you find what Elrow offers? Their Rowshow brings a bit of the fantasy world to venues across the world and Ibiza, the UK and Amsterdam have all been witness to the glorious nonsense this year. 

Following the spectacle we witnessed them create at ADE, Elrow arrived at De Marktkantine Amsterdam for a Brazilian carnival themed whirlwind of confetti, umbrellas and dancing, headlined by the Crosstown Rebels overlord Damian Lazarus.

On arrival, the main room was initially mainly lit by the huge production set up surrounding the DJ booth. A giant snake framed the stage, whilst the words 'Rowshow' beamed in red just below. The club was curiously calm, but the lurking inflatables waiting on the upper tier were a tell-tale sign of the nonsensical night to come.

Ici Sans Merci was on warm up duties. He delivered rolling tech house in the form of DJ T's 'The Growing', the lights hanging from the ceiling throbbed, dimming and glowing in unison with the deep, haunting vocals. He moved swiftly into funkier territory with Neil Parkes' 'Me & You' (listen below) as the main room began to fill.

De Marktkantine was brought to life as the night went on, spiralling further and further into an unpredictable world. A man dressed in safari attire came in from the side of the crowd, crouched down and unnervingly asked, "Have you seen a Gorilla?". Elrow's performers, including beautiful women dressed in tribal wear transformed the experience from something aesthetic to something immersive. 

Sans Merci's set finished with Hot Since 82's 'Veins', ensuring that no body in the room was stood still. At moments like this you find yourself helplessly grinning, exploring the room from ceiling to floor with your eyes, picking up on draping vines above and the trodden inflatables below. 

Elrow's concept is quite simple - go all out. It's extravagant. Whilst most dance music events focus on the minimal, with the stripped back warehouse space lit with just a couple of lights, Elrow is the opposite. It's every bit flamboyant - nothing is spared when it comes to detail. 

The second room was themed with umbrellas. Vintage parasols surrounded the DJ booth, and big paper brollys were dotted around the room, inviting anyone passing to pick them up and twirl around with them as Lopoll & Radiosus offered up thumping house tracks. 

Despite the frivolity taking place in the main room, there was something overridingly satisfying about the second room. The warm crimson lights, the soulful grooves and laidback feel were enticing, keeping us set there for the majority of the night.

Later in the evening Aron Friedman worked through pretty much every avenue of house, including an eighties inspired banger in the form of the Spirit Catcher Way Of Life mix of Offshore Funk's 'Mega Bit Me' (listen below). He finished his set with 'La Rock' by Vitalic as he and the rest of the crowd fist pumped the last remainders of their energy away. 

Back in the main room, the night was reaching a climax as Damian Lazarus worked his way through darker tech house beats, juxtaposed against the rainbow of colour bursting from the confetti cannons as the strips fell into drinks, down tops and in eyes as ravers looked up to absorb what was happening in front of them. 

The dancers on stilts worked their way around the room throughout the night, their wacky smiles and dancing infectious. One of the tribal clad women came around with a prop box, filled with pirate hats, oversized glasses and other random bits. That's the beauty of Elrow, it encourages everyone to get involved with the lunacy.

In a scene that can be filled of too much of the same, Elrow is a welcome breather from the sometimes rigidness and repetitiveness of electronic music events. It's a night long journey of absolute raving ridiculousness, fuelled by quality tracks.

It blurs the lines between a circus and a dance music event, it's an indulgent experience that would make some critics cringe, but for us it spurred nothing but smiles. Uninhibited and unembarrassed, Elrow is the ultimate place to lose your head.  

Like this? Try Elrow at Melkweg, Amsterdam Dance Event review

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