The budget airline & rave is a winning combination - so much so that a rather improbable trip to Madrid for a mere eighteen hours could be done in less expense than most jolly jaunts across the UK. It also had the added bonus of checking out one of the most heralded expanses of the Iberian rave contingent as well - outside of the usual summer haven of Ibiza - for a very Spanish and even more Madrid shrouded experience.
Said enclave was Fabrik, the mega capacity club nestled way out in the sprawling suburbs of the Spanish capital that was playing host to the eighteenth birthday celebrations for party starters Goa. They assembled a line-up that featured stadium house and techno from Maceo Plex and Nic Fanciuilli, extra-arena awesomeness from Theo Parrish and Camo & Crooked, and an ensemble of local DJs which left a tantalising mark on the tongue.
As smash and grab raids on the continent goes, this had the hallmarks to be up there with the best of them and despite a rather sluggish start it certainly didn’t fail to disappoint. Pulse swung into the venue at the innocuous hour of 6pm but already the venue was starting to heave with people of all kinds. The main room - a monolithic club space that is up there with privilege in terms of size - was already full and consequently, the ridiculously charged crowd of almost exclusively all-Spanish was already heaving; the very nature of size meant that the DJs weren’t indulging in a slowly metered warm-up.
Instead the sound was rather on a formulaic electro tip which, whilst serving the purpose of getting large swathes of the crowd going, fell rather deafly on the ears of others; its best summarised by Pulse’s personal indifference to hearing Tiga’s remix of Tomass Andersson’s ‘Washing Up’ before we’d even had chance to get in the swing of things. That’s not to say we weren’t impressed with the production; huge rafts of sky piercing lasers and a flurry of sexually suggestive dancers hanging from the roof and flanking the stage perked us up - but the music wasn’t quite catching our ears. Yet.
A quick forty minute detour into the direction of Theo Parrish though proved a more rewarding experiditon, with his afrocentric vibes much more pleasant on the ears. He’s a DJ that you can spend hours indulging in, and our brief dalliance confirmed this was still an option. You don’t fly off to one of the biggest clubs in Europe though to lose yourself in swathes of music in a back-room for undetermined hours however. Once the spirits were suitably pepped from Theo’s bluster, we returned to an increasingly better looking main room.
The time elapsed had not only resulted in the production levels increasing even more, but the music had also moved towards the more serious realm of house and techno. By the time Maceo Plex announced his arrival with a flurry of fireworks the ill ease of before was a distant memory, perfectly eradicated by Plex’s coolly comfortable stadium shattering sound.
Last year Maceo began as a bit of a hero in his homeland, but one that was about to embark on a scintillating run of prolific productions that has yet to relent. Most have been built on infectious groove heavy house music but this was a set befitting of the occasion, a blunderbuss of rioting beats and monster, ear piercing synths.
It was best summarised by Barnt’s monster ‘Geffen’, all crescendos of drums and glorious analogue electronic melodies, filling the room to the point where everyone was smiling, not least a delighted Plex. It’s little wonder that right now Maceo is heralded as one of the world’s finest, and not even a blistering follow-on from Nic Fanciuilli (a man who himself knows a thing about transformation from house hot thing to superclub techno monster) featuring expert use of recognisable acapellas such as Inner City’s ‘Good Life’ could top it.
Even when Fanciuilli ended on the still magnificent ‘Knights of The Jaguar’, teased in for what seemed like an inordinately long period of time, this was always about the inescapable rise of one of the best DJs on the planet in a room befitting the ridiculously huge appeal of his sound. In terms of epic raves in the time-honoured tradition of Ibiza clubs, German festivals, Italian beaches and British car parks this was as good as it gets. Chin Strokers might be best served elsewhere (even with Theo Parrish in attendance) but for those lusting after a full-blooded party of supreme four-four music, Fabrik and Goa is an essential pilgrimage.