VBX x SlapFunk Records x Natives
As Amsterdam Dance Event drew to a close on Sunday, the VBX x SlapFunk x Natives showcase was on hand to serve up 20 hours of musical mayhem beginning at 7am going all the way through until 3am Monday morning. So the party dynamic was always going to be unusual, partly acting as an after-party spilling over from Saturday night then flowing straight into what could be coined as the after-after-party; a fitting end to the weekend.
SlapFunk Records has long been an advocate of the dubbier ends of 4/4 variants since the label began two years ago. Before that came their notorious parties which saw them build up a strong fanbase in their home city of Utrecht. They consider themselves to be more of a music collective that just so happen to be a label too while their music is bound by a commitment to get people moving on the dancefloor via raw, stripped back old-school sounds.
The cultural arts centre Tolhuistuin was to be my final destination of ADE in the Noord district just a short ferry ride away from the iconic Central Station. The journey was straightforward; one of Amsterdam’s efficient trams from the west directly to the station and a short walk to the ferry stop. Cyclists and pedestrians huddled close to the ramp where the ferry would arrive and once it dropped, we jostled on-board side-by-side standing since the journey was so short. Fortunately for me, the entrance leading up to Tolhuistuin sat literally in front of the ferry stop on the other side. I first made my way up the exterior stairs to the smart looking cultural hub to find a number of older aged heads, some old enough to be my parents, in a very formal canteen setting. I wasn’t sure I had come to the right place, somehow…
Upon asking a bartender, I was redirected downstairs and around the back of the building. Still no music to be heard at this point – evidence of good soundproofing. Making my way round the back, I caught my first glimpse of revelry, the chatter seeping from the smoking room overhead. Having entered the darkened main room (it was daylight outside), the party was in full flow with a decent cohort of ravers. Who knows how early these people had arrived? Or how long they had been there for? Conjectures aside, the second mystery guest was rocking it in the form of local legend Benny Rodrigues. It was a strong selection of meaty electro from the Dutchman who was giving it absolutely everything, enough to make you sweat just watching him.
By that time, it was already around 6pm and shortly after The Mole came on, accompanied by his moustache, for an inspired 2-hour set of funky grooves on the rotary mixer that only he can put together. He had a hard time dropping the smile from his face, as did everyone else dancing especially when he found space for Robert Hood’s “The Dancer” which sounded great on the crisp soundsystem. The Panorama bar resident Ryan Elliott then stepped it up a notch delving into more techy realms dropping “Hear The Music” by Paul Johnson. He demonstrated a control over the burgeoning crowd that can only come from playing regularly in Berlin’s techno temple.
It’s worth mentioning the quality of the production value. The organisers made the extra effort and it showed with a classy professional finish to the venue. An awning of camouflage was draped over the dancefloor with light bulbs threaded in between and upside down umbrellas adding to the super visual facilities.
Back to the music, Mr. Ties built on the momentum and went in hard taking the party to the crowd, but it was perhaps a bit too forceful and the overall effect felt slightly overdone. Ferro went back-to-back with Samuel Deep to round things off nicely where Deep ensured that the raw SlapFunk slamming sound drove the party home. Then the dreaded moment arrived as the lights came on to howls and applause. The people with enough dedication to stay until the end showed their appreciation for a well rounded party.
It was a job well done by the organisers and they had every reason to be pleased with their efforts. Sadly the curtain had come down on ADE for another year, but I still had a sobering bike ride to look forward to across that amazing city before catching the first coach back to London…”Dank je wel” and until next time Amsterdam!
See our interview with VBX x SlapFunk x Natives Interview here
See our exclusive mix from The Mole here
By Geoffrey Chang
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