Cocoon in the Park now into it’s 9th year at Temple Newsam in Leeds was being lit up by glorious sunshine for a day of hedonism up Northern England. On paper this was one of the strongest line ups we have seen in recent years which enforced a ‘techno is back’ statement with Joseph Capriati and Adam Beyer in support. For many it was “yeah we have Drumcode at Cocoon” which is a double whammy 2 for the price of 1 techno deal not to be missed. Let me tell you how it went.
Well it started off with a questionable Nat Nav coupled with bad navigation skills which got us to Leeds a little later than planned, followed by a lost bank card in Tesco before we had even checked into the hotel. Apologise to the warm up acts we had missed including Bobby O’Donnell, Annie Errez, Alex & Digby and Richy Ahmed. We made it in time for Joseph Capriati who incidentally was the last set I heard at Awakenings only two weeks before, closing the main stage hammering it down with rain. It was a Capriati carry on but now it’s in warm up form on a crisp summers day.
With a two hour set it rolled out as expected, starting quite groovy tech house with a terrace vibe. A few of the crowd pleasers were in their including Inner City ‘Big Fun’ and the track that everyone is asking about at the moment – Mr. Bart Skils ‘Retrodade’. You know the one… Rozalla’s ‘Everybody’s free’ sample with a lovely vocal loop building you up ready to break out into “brothers and sisters together we’ll make it through”. Great stuff, and even getting played by Picotto at Luminosity (due out on Drumcode soon). The second hour picked up perfectly as did the heat slowly burning the back of the neck. We headed on down the front to get involved and check out the upgraded tower stack Funktion-One system. Wow, it was pounding and pure power. We were there literally minutes before we bumped into quite the celebrity clubber of the moment Bradley Gunn. It was great to briefly meet him, he’s an inspiration and very nice guy to boot, and yeah… he certainly has the moves.
Adam Beyer was next up. I purposely chose not to watch him at Awakenings knowing he was playing today. After watching his closing set on be-at.tv I was hoping for more of the same. In particular to here the Victor Ruiz & Thomas Schumacher remix of Depeche Mode ‘Everything Counts’. He done me proud along with Digweed, Muir and Emerson‘s ‘Tracer’, Layton Giordani ‘Live Again’ (“make your transition”) and Enrico Sangiuliano ‘Astral Projection’ (out now on Drumcode).
Before I move on to Papa Sven there was a slight change to the drinks system this year to make it cash and token less. You topped up your wristband which was then scanned at the bar. It definitely improved the speed of service but the only problem was knowing how much money you had left on them. On the flip side any money that you didn’t spend was easily refunded back to you. Although later on towards the end I found out you could still pay cash anyway.
After at least 5 hours of searching for friends to meet up with I finally found them, and just in time for early doors of Sven Vath‘s 4 hour set. Its no secret or to any surprise that each year Sven is known to reset the tempo. He drops the energy and vibe to begin his own journey/show/experience whichever term you choose to use. It’s his show after all. There is a split opinion here where I am going to stay neutral to both sides yet still address it. I’m the biggest fan of a set being a Journey, a musical piece of art, and this is what Sven does. But is it the right time to do so? Closing the day? I hope this opens debate!
All day the music and atmosphere has been building, slowly cooking up, being stirred in a big black techno cauldron just waiting to bubble over the edges to be removed from the heat to cool down and settle just as you’re ready to let all hell fire. This is from a clubbers point of view who craves that energy to keep them going, push them to the next level of heightened senses. I fully understand this! I also understand the DJ point of view with somebody as skilled as Sven who thrives on his sets being an experience of musical knowledge which has been developed, sculpted and crafted over his decorated career. And, it’s further testament he does this on vinyl which makes knowing your music that even more important. It’s a true craft. I personally enjoy Sven’s sets at Cocoon in the Park, he always plays tracks I’ve never even heard before which makes it an experience.
The tempo can drop but it can still hold energy as Sven’s direction paved us down a more dirty, in some parts funkier electro-disco route that ever so slowly an surely climbed back up to where we left off. As I mentioned earlier it was a fairly hot day and by this time there were a few casualties to all day drinking starting to appear. It probably did a few people the world of good to get that break which wasn’t too intense musically.
I’m sure you have all seen the video of Holger dancing on stage to Patrice Bäumel ‘Glutes’ which has been dubbed as “stealing the show”. Moments make memories and I’m sure this moment will be spoken about for a few years to come. For me, tracks such as KiNK ‘Neutrino’ what a tune this is, Moderat ‘Running’, and a whole abundance of tracks I wish I knew the names of. The last track especially was an absolute menace way to end the day whilst teaming up alongside an IP Attorney by the name of Emily and her brother Ed who managed to maintain the dance off with us until pretty much the very end. Good work to you both!
In conclusion I couldn’t have asked for a better final 2 hours building up to a more melodic and driving crescendo, the last hour specially was nothing short of banging. The iPhone Health App confirms 29,127 steps worth throughout the day. I call that a success! This now leaves me thinking what will be in store for the big 10 years next year. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.