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I Love Techno!

Our mission, if we chose to accept it, was to do a techno-fuelled weekend, Europe-style - in Rotterdam... see the photo gallery for her pics

23 Nov 2000

Our mission, if we chose to accept it, was to do a techno-fuelled weekend, Europe-style - in Rotterdam, courtesy of DJ Joachim and friends, and in Gent, Belgium, at the original I Love Techno, Europe's biggest techno festival. Anyone worried about their techno-handling abilities was advised not to even think about boarding the plane - they play hard on the continent and you'd better be up for it.

On a travel journalist kinda note, Rotterdam absolutely rocks. If you're visiting die Nëderland, skip over Amsterdam and its hordes of Antipodean Contiki kids and head south for the real deal. It's that Auckland/Wellington, Sydney/Melbourne kinda thing - sure, it's harder to discover the good times in the smaller centres but you're damn glad you bothered when you do...

Friday night meant a colossal three-hour Jeff Mills set at Rotterdam's Nighttown, thus little sleep and sore, severely shaken asses - even though we'd set out to do a quiet one so as not to spoil Saturday. Local boy Michel de Heij impressively kicked off the night before the man from Detroit hit the decks. He played a wicked selection ('Strings of Life'! 'Jaguar'!! 'The Bells'!!!) but was a touch on the shabby side on a few mixes and there was a distinct lack of the tricks one's come to expect - presumably he was saving himself for the big one. Fantastic vibe though - mmmmm, we love Rotterdam crowds! So friendly - and so cute and tall...

Aaaanyway, after a day spent hiding from Rotterdam's cold and wet reality enjoying Holland's finest in Joachim's toasty warm lounge, it was time for techno. Our eight-strong NZ-via-London contingent joined 125 crazy Dutch techno-heads on the luxurious (smoking permitted) Sound Architecture-chartered buses to commence the road trip to the Flanders Expo centre. Woo-hoo!

I Love Techno has been going for five years now, starting with just 700 people and a line-up including Daft Punk and Richie Hawtin, and getting bigger and presumably better each time. This year saw a massive 38,000 people filling five enormous rooms. The coat check alone was twice the size of Ellerslie's main room - needless to say, we abandoned the idea of checking our jackets...

With a bewildering array of talent on the bill, planning any sort of schedule for the night was out of the question. The masses all appeared to be heading to either Dave Clarke or Carl Cox to start the night but we decided to check out the Red Room ("red-room! red-room!") and its 11-1 resident, the appropriately monikered DJ Hell, instead. He certainly wasn't the best DJ we caught that night (and he looked suspiciously like Clarkee) but it was worth it just to hear Slam's 'Positive Education' and to see 5000 or so people punching the air as huge video screens spelt out H-E-L-L - perfect North-Shore-nana-shocking footage for the Holmes show.

Next up, we took a look-see at Monika Kruse, looking very Emma G with her luscious long blonde tresses - great skills, pity about the tendency to drop cheese, so it was off to the Yellow Room for an outstanding live set from Speedy J. One of the best of the night, this guy was tight as and absolutely farkin' wicked - Dean Webb is still creaming his pants. (Somebody bring him out to NZ!) He was followed by a disappointingly monotonous Richie Hawtin, then it was time for another room-hop, this time to the Orange Room to check out Mr Sven Vath.

Phew! If you haven't caught this man live yet, you're missing out big time, for pure spectacle alone. Picture the world's cheesiest, blondest Chippendale Ken doll as a German techno übergod, prancing, dancing and big-time loving himself while playing some of the most fuct-up, twisted shit you're ever likely to hear.

Aspiring DJs - take a tip out of Sven's book and spend your last track gyrating bare-chested in your tight silver pants on a specially-constructed catwalk in front of the turntables while your adoring crowd begs for more. If it was anyone else, you'd laugh him off stage but, perversely, it worked like a charm, not least coz we were laughing at him. While totally in awe, of course.

We caught a smidgeon of Steve Rachmad's set (aka Sterac - insanely good, amazing long mixing, beats and pieces popping up all over the show) before heading off to the last hour of Jeff Mills in the Blue Room. And the man did not disappoint this time, returning fully to form for what was our fave part of the entire night - shit, that fella has the funk! Even with the right speaker stack down, Mills on decks and drum machine was unstoppable. When all speakers kicked in, it was simply mind-blowing.

We just had time to squeeze in 45 minutes of a absolutely impressive Marco Carola dropping hard Swedish nu pschidt in the Red Room before having to leave in order to get on the bus back to Rotterdam. Our 125 crazy Dutch techno head comrades seemed to be unfazed by the fact they'd just spent eight hours going hard and showed no signs of slowing down. Personally, however, I could have done without the hardcore gabba soundtrack, which was distorting majorly through the speaker above my head. The scary thing was that the tape actually belonged to the driver - god only knows what he was on...

So yes, we got back to Rotterdam, partied on all day, staggered back to London and went to work on the Monday... and that, pretty much, was I Love Techno 2000. We could write loads more but you probably get the idea. Well worth missing the Tua fight and not having a brain for a week.

rollerjen@hotmail.com

Links:

Check http://plus8.com/tour/diary/ for wicked photos and a sneaky peek into the dinner we wish we'd been invited to.

We say big thanks to the Smart Store - http://www.thesmartstore.com for their extensive and effective range of herbal ecstasy which helped keep us going all weekend.

Partying in Holland? Go to http://www.parties.nl

And for all the info you'll ever need and a very stylee site (shit, buy a t-shirt and pretend you were there), check http://www.i-love-techno.org