At Bar Theo in Amsterdam’s Rozengracht, the great French DJ Kitten will play a set on Thursday afternoon – unexpectedly. It’s all ADE: from small buildings to deafeningly large aircraft hangars, there are over a thousand events in over two hundred locations in five days.
This year, ADE’s musical outline was drawn using hard, sharp, hard dance pencils. But the sound of Afrodiaspora also figures prominently this year – where many boundaries between genres are broken, as in the small Radio Radio in Westerpark where German collective Vinyl is a guest on Thursday afternoon. At 4pm, DJ Shaleen’s BPM meters are already showing red. She happily pummels eardrums with tracks like “Prometheus” by Berlin techno producer Red Rooms, but keeps the song’s coolness alive with the beats that seep through.
“This is not jazz,” keyboardist Kamal Williams (aka house producer Henry Wu) says Friday at the Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond of his emotional, wistful show. Along with Brian Hargrove, he plays a poignant live improvisational version of his song “Magnolia.” Hip-hop, jazz, house, breakbeat. “who cares?” Williams said.
On Friday night, a few hundred people wait for hours to enter the Belmerbagis family’s former boiler house. Amsterdam KI/KI brings the club to life with a minimum of 145 bpm. Shirtless men dance to powerful beats, and the sky rains sweat.
But not everyone who wants to enter can enter. Mayor Femke Halsema tightened the rules regarding visitor numbers during the dance festival a week before the start of the ADE. She did so after assessing safety at major events in Amsterdam, after being stabbed at the Amsterdam Solid Groves festival in May.
While visitors stand in an endless line outside, the surprise of the evening happens inside: trance legend Armin van Buuren makes an unannounced appearance alongside KI/KI. In an interview in this newspaper, he described her as “A breath of fresh air“On Friday night, they play grinding and fuming and screaming together. Then and now, old rave, new rave. And when the news hits the queue, it’s just as grim. There’s shoving and screaming.”
More than pounding music
ADE is more than just up-tempo music. The professional conference taking place at the Felix Méretes Cultural Center on Saturday is a summit Mecca, with 65-year-old American hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash chairing it. Striking: During a panel discussion on the rise of the dance scene in the Middle East, not a word was mentioned about the war in Israel, while clubs like Garage Noord and Raion had kept their doors closed the day before in solidarity with the Palestinian people. . .
ADE’s business summit is the Amsterdam Music Festival on Saturday. In the crowded Johan Cruyff Arena, world-famous celebrities such as Afrojack, Charlotte de Witt and Armin van Buuren perform.
On the entire front side, countless LED panels together form what appears to be a huge residential building. The DJ unit in front of the massive wall contrasts sharply with the tens of thousands of people in the stadium embracing being together with light-up bracelets. The techno is deafening, the bliss booms from the audience in all languages of the world.
Interview with techno DJ Reinier Zonneveld: “Hard techno is taking over the dance world”
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