Grandmaster Flash at Applebum review

Jo Waddington spent the night at Sankeys Ibiza with the legendary Grandmaster Flash for one of the island's most exciting new club nights.

Becca Frankland

Last updated: 18th Jul 2016.
Originally published: 13th Jul 2016

Image: Applebum Credit: Tillate

Unless you've been living under a rock you'll know that the hip-hop focused Applebum is currently taking Ibiza by storm with a Tuesday night residency at Sankeys Ibiza. If you follow Skiddle on Snapchat, you would have witnessed the night unfold live, but if you missed out then we've re-lived it through the power of words.

New night Applebum is dedicated to the quest of re-living iconic hip-hop culture, fashion and sounds that helped shape a generation, so who better than to lead the proceedings for one of the party's biggest events then the legendary Grandmaster Flash.

After what seemed a treacherous journey from San Antonio to Bossa (the Disco Bus broke down!) on the most humid night of the season so far, we arrived at Sankeys Ibiza exhausted by the heat but just in time for the master himself. Unlike many of the clubs on the island, Sankeys' air-con is pretty phenomenal, as is their internet connection, so we were in good hands as the night began to unfold.

The Bronx born DJ took to the stage with rapturous cheers and applause. The house lights came on and it was only then that we started to realise the enormity of what was happening. Every person in the room focused on Flash and pumped up ready for whatever he was going to throw at them.

He predominantly focuses his sets on classic hip-hop with some RnB classics from the 90s and 00s thrown in for good measure. There are modest nods to snippets of his own hits including 'White Lines' and 'The Message' too but he doesn't seem to milk his own tracks in their entirety. Between track switches, he made the most of these opportunities, showing off the legendary scratching skills that made him so recognisable, making beats within beats. 

He gave us Roots Manuva, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Aerosmith and as he switched from genre to genre, the crowd seemed to get more and more energised. He's great at interacting with his audience and often directs them to get their bodies moving, wave from side to side in unison and jump around.

He also briefly acknowledged contemporary RnB by announcing that music is a unified experience and as long as the music makes you feel good then it shouldn't be discriminated. It was with this statement that he eased us into modern chart toppers such as ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ by The Weeknd, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ smash hit ’Uptown Funk’ and the latest Justin Timberlake offering. If Grandmaster Flash is dropping these ditties into his set, then we no longer have to be ashamed of our guilty pleasures. Hurray!

He told us we were all suffering with ‘too cool-itis' and to make some noise, it worked. Playing to a packed out house where everyone knows and loves everything you spin is one think but Grandmaster Flash raised the game even more by engaging with the crowd. A unique trait these days.

After his hour and a half setlist, Grandmaster Flash climbed off stage looking incredibly proud of the show just executed. He made his way through the crowd to exit Sankeys, where a car is waiting for his next destination, but as he left he enthusiastically shakes the hands of appreciative sweat-drenched dancers and posed for numerous selfies leaving behind a trail of awestruck revellers.

We'd spoke to Doorly briefly before he took over the decks from Gramdmaster Flash and he appeared nervous. "How do you follow a legend like Grandmaster Flash?" he said, but Doorly didn't disappoint either. As soon as he dropped Beastie Boys he had the audiences full attention. That's why he's Ibizas seasoned pro.

It's an exciting time in Ibiza currently as so many genres are breaking out on the island. It's no longer just about electronic dance music, it's a place where hip-hop, grime and RnB are selling out venues. A few years ago something like Applebum would have been too big of a risk to take, however, two months into the season, it's hard to imagine a week without the party on the calendar. What a breakthrough. 

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