It doesn’t matter how many times you step foot into Ushuaia, it is impossible not to get blown away by everything the open-air venue has to offer. Though upon arrival, a few things are a must: First, snap a quick photo of the venue as you walk in, then purchase a mixer of your choice from the bars scattered around the venue, and lastly, find the closest, friendliest looking stranger to take a group photo of you and your friends – one with the stage as a backdrop, the other infront of the pool or one of Ushuaia’s many statues scattered around the venue. One little touch added to the venue that I hadn’t noticed until this Thursday were the ANTS crawling up and down the walls of the hotel, tempting you to join the gang and become a member of the colony!
Loco Dice’s agency Artist Alife has been a leading light for many club nights across the world this year. This season, Thursdays at Ushuaia have been a showcase of Dice’s leading talents, with artists like tINI, Hector, Yaya and Robert Dietz joining the German maestro on a regular basis, though this week saw a very special guest in attendance as the theme of swaps continued on the island. The legendary Carl Cox joined Yaya, PREMIESKU (Live) and Alexkid on the lineup, so to say there was an air of excited expectation around the venue would be an understatement.
Early on, the three steps I mentioned earlier were followed to perfection. I spent the first twenty minutes being the friendly stranger taking photos of groups of excited clubbers, while taking in all the sites myself, before settling down to the stomping four-by-four beats of Yaya, who dare I say, delivered my favourite set of the day. His hour and a half set was dominated by snappy percussion with a real hip-hop feel to it. Dark warped vocals, high-hat synths and storming bass lines kept the crowd swaying in unison underneath a dark grey cloud that luckily only threatened us with rain, though I’m not sure anyone would have been bothered to leave even if we had gotten wet!
At eight o’clock, Loco Dice took to the decks as a group of break-dancers and B-Boys kitted out in Loco Dice and Used+Abused gear took over the podium to the back left. At first it seemed strange to see backflips, top rocks and slide glides to the borderline house and techno sounds of Dice, but considering his hip-hop routes, it was good to see Loco Dice putting his stamp on his night, bringing something different to the island. As for his set, Loco was on form. Meaty bass lines saw the CO2 cannons of Ushuaia tested to their limits, green diamonds dominating the stage as wAFF’s ‘Puke It Up’ and Hot Since 82 remix of Green Velvet’s ‘Bigger Than Prince’ stood out as highlights.
Over to Carl Cox. Starting out in his usual high-energy ways, Coxy brought a real festival feel to the event. Letting out an ‘Oh Yes, Oh Yes!’ early on brought euphoric cheers from the crowd, who were clearly there for the long time Space resident, who stepped out of the famous Playa d’en Bossa super club for the third time this season. Showing that he has not lost a step, his transitions from track to track were as smooth as any DJ on the circuit, effortlessly tossing in tracks like Mark Fanciulli’s ‘Sacrifice’ – a classic that still pumps the crowd up today as much as it did a few years ago – before dropping a sample of ‘Jack Your Body’ by Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley, getting the crowd jacking and grooving at a high pace.
Spot on 11pm, the man behind the party reappeared on stage, going back-to-back with his long time friend. You could immediately tell these two magicians behind the decks had played together before. Loco Dice and Carl Cox exchanged blows for the last hour, trading punches with progressive buildups as hands in the air techno danced out of the Ushuaia sound system.
As the hour-long back-to-back special came to an end, many crawled back into their hotel rooms for a private party, or out of the venue and onto other fiestas popping off around the island, craving more infectious electronic sounds. This might have just been the best Used+Abused yet, and topping it all off, Richie Hawtin crosses the road from his home at Space next week, joining Dice in what promises to be a very special event!