***This review was written by The Mexican.
Saturday afternoon. Round about five in the afternoon. We pull up to the gates of Zone and are immediately greeted by the friendliest gate staff. So friendly that I forget to stash the glass bottles of vodka and tequila. My bad, at the least the security lady allowed us to decant after I tried a Jedi Mind Trick on her. Once all that was settled we drove in only to turn around to get a car pass. The thing is we drove back the way we came, which of course was a one way. What a way to start a party, if anything it indicated how silly we were about to become as we descended into the danger zone.
After parking, loading up on drinks, hitting the loo after a ride which wasn’t that long, we headed off to the dance floor to be welcomed by the handful of early party animals who had the pleasure of a spacious dance floor, which was perfect for the bouncy progressive beats that Stereotype was churning out. I got to doing my thing quickly, greeting everyone I knew and proceeding to lose myself in the sexy beats that Byron and Mark were delivering to my senses. Perfect set to welcome myself and those who rocked up early!
Up next was multi talented Lester Pywell rocking under his UP-PSY-DOWN pseudonym. He flowed in perfectly after Stereotype, raising the energy and preparing us for the night time full on sets that were coming our way. For some reason I ended up acquiring a camera and found myself shooting for my good friend Jess aka the Media Monster. The music got aggressive real fast as it was none other than the rocking duo that is Super Evil that took the stage next. As usual they got everyone doing a perfect combination of stomping and head banging and played one the hardest, rocking sets and between seven and eight in the evening I might add. I unfortunately for some reason missed out on Bionic’s set, but when I returned to the dance floor as it was ending I was delighted to see that the crowd had grown exponentially and everyone was already giving it their all.
I was quite shocked with who was up next and that was the insane Killawatt. Fast becoming one of my favourite acts, this man showed no mercy despite his early time slot delivering yet another unforgiving set. I smiled when I noticed how many new and younger trancers were jamming to this brand of psytrance which most run away from, but as he did at Organik, he kept it friendly enough for all to jam along too.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any crazier for the time of night, the giant aka Rubix Qube emerged from the chaos and did what he does best, taking shit to the next level. As one of South Africa’s most talented producers he once again proved to us why his name is immaculately huge. All I can say is Rubix Qube at ten o clock on a Saturday night is absolutely insane and therefore I loved it.
Badass is the term I would like to use to describe Shift, with regards to his beats and the set he played on Saturday night. Badass basslines tumbling over badass breaks, this badass really knows his shit. Shift pumped one badass thumper after next proving why he is one of the oldest badasses in the business.
The man of the hour was up next – that being the creator of Zone himself -Calvin aka Switchcache. The mastermind bounded onto stage this time accompanied by another veteran in the business this being Storman. These powerhouses showed no remorse as they took the party by the balls and pretty much destroyed the dance floor. I can’t really say much more than that, as myself was too busy jamming, and when I jammed to hard I found myself regurgitating my supper behind the bar.
Much to my dismay after this I lost a few hours, but I found myself taking photographs again at the beginning of Distorted Cultures set. It was round about three thirty in the morning and these guys definitely played a fine set fitting to the time slot. I quickly snapped some shots and found myself back in the thick of it. Once again I was a bit over zealous and lost some time and memory. Next memory I have is of The Skragg VS Tune Raider ripping the new arrivals a new one as the light was trying to break through the overcast veil. Pamm and Craig played the perfect set to welcome in the newcomers and to further test the strength of those who not bothered to sleep.
The ever amazing duo that is Deliriant VS Mad Piper appeared next, and as usual did not disappoint. Hard to believe that this was in fact the one year anniversary for Mad Piper as it was at last year’s Zone that he made his debut. Truly amazing and hard to fathom that someone could come so far in just a year and he proved it yet again on Sunday, why he deserves to be up on stage with the likes of someone like Deliriant. I’ve lost count as to how many times these two have rocked a set together, but I’m in no way getting bored of it. Their unique styles seem to match each other so well, one could only hope that they might consider a conjoined act? Perhaps start producing together under a new name? Hint, hint, nudge, nudge.
Morning came in fast and I found myself all over the place, running around embracing all my fellow family members, stopping for shots of tequila, gangnam styling with Barry and Adam. Pitch Hikers, Iliuchina and Menog provided the best possible music for this beautiful day. I remember exclaiming to the gods: “WHERE IS THE SUN???”, and in no time my wish was granted. The clouds had lifted and we were grilled to perfection in a beautiful sunny day. I got what I asked for, and the time was perfect for a swim and to take in the beauty of this venue. Surrounded by vineyards, mountain views and a beautiful dam to splash in its hard to believe that this venue is so close to home for all. In all honesty I had only heard the name Menog being mentioned by many in my first year in the world of psytrance. And I didn’t bother researching or listening to his music (with the exception of one track – I See Change) as I wanted to be properly exposed to his expertise at the party. I must say that I am fucking proud of that feat. I was absolutely blown away. This artist clearly has a passion for music. Every track he dropped seemed to tell a story and at the same time made me stomp even harder with each drop. After a quick swim I returned to the floor in time for Bruce and was greeted by a mass amount of silliness. It seems the perfect line up coupled with the heat and the massive amounts of joy found on the floor had everyone smiling ear to ear. Zezia followed on perfectly after Bruce’s set taking us into the afternoon. His daytime beats provided a perfect soundtrack to the perfect day that was unfolding before us. Headroom was up next and for some reason I found myself in the same situation I was in at Jungala. I gave it my all and more thinking it was the last set and much to my dismay and satisfaction I was wrong. Again. Gokon Rave came up next and I quickly jumped back to my feet and proceeded to close the party with what little gees I had left. Running around in a chef’s hat and jamming I couldn’t have been more happy despite having not slept at all. Gokon Rave provided the energy I needed to get through to the end.
All in all being my first appearance at Zone I was extremely impressed. Close to home, a perfect line up albeit crazy, insane decor which was even better at night with the impressive visuals and a gorgeous venue, I was quite the happy and exhausted camper by the time the crowd was shouting for one more. It’s safe to say that I will definitely find myself rocking through the danger Zone again next year!
***ALL pics by Emlyn Photography