elrow Barcelona Halloween 2016 review

With elrow's global dancefloor dominance ever-increasing, we packed Becca Frankland and Jimmy Coultas off to Barcelona to see how the madness matches up on their home turf.

Becca Frankland

Last updated: 5th Nov 2016.
Originally published: 3rd Nov 2016

Image credit:  Here & Now

The Spanish hedonistic paradise elrow's journey to clubland domination has seen the brand take over festival arenas, host mammoth events at iconic clubs and appear in countless near-viral online videos over the past 12 months. Although the team bring their signature production magic and effort to all their events across the globe, how does it compare to a party at elrow's Barcelona home?

Row14, located near the airport, is the place where the Sunday parties started to blossom, and elrow began to flaunt its feathers when it came to unparalleled party details, and the ultimate soundtrack to match the madness and the ethos. Despite the spin-off events around the world, it turns out that nothing beats the absolutely encompassing ridiculous that takes place in Barcelona.

Practically skipping with excitement through the entrance of the venue, the walkway into the main area was wrapped from bottom to top in fake cobwebs, as hordes of people boasting fake contact lenses, harrowing makeup, and extravagant fancy dress shuffled past each other, all keen to find a place to settle within the madness. 

The club itself is like a mini maze for those who haven't attended before, outdoor areas leak into dark coves, walkways spiral around the main dancefloors and each space seems to have numerous entrances and exits - every inch of each arena was decked with some of the most impressive Halloween decorations, including the open air Row Bar which we started our night off at. 

The outdoor space had a real DC10 vibe, with planes soaring above us every 15 minutes or so - only this time the place was haunted. The area, complete with a sandy floor, palm trees and sweeping, creepy decor was comfortably busy as Fineheartz played proper party groovers like Late Nite Tuff Guy's 'I Get Deeper'.

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Over in the Main Room, which was by far the most impressive when it came to the extensive Halloween rig-out, Pan-Pot were wasting no time getting stuck into their early slot time. They took it up a gear with their own tracks including their scintillating edit of neo-trance classic 'Age of Love', meaning that by 3pm and the room was booming, pulsating techno ricocheting from every orifice.

You know it's a good party when Seth Troxler is walking around off-duty, just mingling with a massive cocktail-filled fish bowl as around him fancy dressed ravers cavort to the glistening grooves on offer. The attire ranged from scantily clad party girls framing their curves with ghoulish garbs to the downright weird; one man entertaining the masses with a catalogue of fake turds and a trademark dance he called 'the wiggle'. This is not your standard clubnight.

The production was unreal, a reputation they've delivered across their huge swathe of shows across Europe clearly taking a new level of pride in their nerve centre. Huge 100 ft zombie and medusa heads frame the dancefloor, whilst a litany of walking acts both small and massive in scale make their way around. Imagine being trapped in a puppet show on acid and you're only halfway there, an experience which would be legendary even if the music never held up. 

Luckily it did. The expansive Terrace was home to Jacky, the big-haired hero of tech house who's spent 2016 ratcheting his profile up via his Jacky & Friends concept, and at elrow he was on top form.

Bristling beats formed the backbone of a set which teetered over the edge without quite descending into bedlam for the majority of his two hours at the control, the kind of tight rope walking command of groove that very few DJs manage to maintain. The pandemonium moment did come, delivered via his own edit of Halloween staple 'Thriller' - an edit purposefully made a handful of hours before the show.

He was followed on by Sante who again kept the momentum up, but it was elrow resident Bastian Bux, who closing the Main Room, really delivered. Captivating all and sundry with his slew of house and techno bombs, by the time he drew everything to a close with a bass heavy bootleg of The XX he'd crowned what was a furiously twisted afternoon to an end. Quite simply, elrow is the most fun you can have at a rave right now, the most mental but downright brilliant party on the planet.

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