“Ibiza’s changed more in the last five years than it has in the last 15.” So said Pete Tong in an interview in March, citing the island’s delayed reaction to international competition from the likes of the US and Croatia. It was an ongoing theme of ‘Tong’s industry conference IMS this year too, and no where was the White Isle’s wave of changes more obvious than the IMS afterparty and launch of 'Pacha Sundays’, which this year shaked both the dancefloor and the island's clubbing community with the announcement of Solomun as the weekly resident. Simply titled Solomun + 1, teaming a byword for glamorous clubbing with an artist who is now generally considered a case study of how to widely showcase an underground sound without becoming overexposed was always going to be an ambitious move. The opening night certainly wasn’t shy of the theme either, Solomun drafting in techno heavyweight DJ Koze as his +1 act.
So how does Pacha look with pounding tech-house? VIBE arrived at 1:45AM to a full venue and a hybrid crowd. On the steps, at the bars, were the Island’s kick-drum clique: hats, vests, shorts and serious looks, unsure what to make of the sea of floodlit purple that coated Pacha’s usual suspects: the Europeans, the synthetically sexy and the serious spenders. There was almost a pause, a change in air pressure as the gigantic German took to the decks, but within seconds of the first seamless switchover, the dancefloor was charged: hands in the air, tech-heads high fiving transexuals, bankers fist pumping to basslines and cap-wearers exchanging hot looks with VIP models. It’s hard to tell who was more turned on by this weird temporary marriage: the regular or the barbarian horde visitors but all were entranced nonetheless, punctuated by lasers and green light emitted from the 40-foot Solomun sign balanced above the modified DJ booth.
The shaking up of traditional stereotypes between glamorous and gritty venues and lineups has beamed in across a number of venues this year: the extension and fattening up of Ushuaia’s line-ups and opening hours, the back-to-roots approach of this year’s Sankeys being other examples, however Pacha, the traditional elite stronghold, taking on Solomun as a weekly resident is surely the most ambitious. And at 6am, with the dancefloor still rammed and VIPs spilling into the DJ booth, head nodding to Solomun and DJ Koze as snares disappear and the back-to-back set begins, it’s obvious there’s a hunger for this. Hold tight, Ibiza.
Words and Photo: Ally Byers