Valhalla Festival – Amsterdam, Netherlands
So it was that time of the year when I dust off my dancing shoes for the indoor soiree that is Valhalla in Amsterdam. The festival is only in it’s second year and after the amazing time I had at the inaugural shindig last year it was evident that I would arrive at the sequel with my high hopes for this years edition intact. With debauched fixtures set all round the high-rise hangers, including magic shows, 1920’s style boxing matches, trippy backdrops, top of the range laser strips and heavy hitting sound systems, this was a truly well balanced machine.
Speaking of well oiled programs, the line up also boasted an intelligent selection of house, techno and electro stalwarts. A blessing really, as it would have been a touch stale to have been drifting from arena to arena if there wasn’t a varied array of talent on show. This said, we were drawn to three of the major rooms heavily throughout. The Orchestra Pit summoned us to the sounds of Tensnake, curating deep blends onto a quickly filling dance floor. Although somewhat of a early set for the German, he threw in classics like New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ to gain a solid crowd reaction.
Local hero Tom Trago then projected some fine elements through his live set, setting a melodic tone for the most part of his set and laying more than solid foundations for the main attraction Solomun to later bring down the house with his two hour stint on stage.
The Diynamic boss did not disappoint and didn’t offer his generic take on proceedings but instead the deep and sultry cuts we have come to know and love. This was a punchy tech house offering with darker and energetic stabs, the perfect accompaniment aforementioned lasers that danced around in the air above the crowd. The visual backdrop was well worthy of a mention with production values clearly set at a high level best exemplified by the huge spinning wheel complete with 12 foot puppet attached upon a marked board a knife thrower would show his tricks on. It was quirky touches such as this that really added an extra dimension to the crowds immersion within the debauched theme on offer. It certainly struck a positive outlook on the audience and even the artists playing.
The Revenge was on site to drop a mixed bag, with all in attendance loving his merry disco ethos. Space Dimension Controller struck a similarly positive note with the crowd in his intimate surroundings as did Makam. However it was the eye opening arena that was classically named ‘The Coliseum’ due to its Roman like approach, with centre podiums for dancing and surrounding balconies to watch the acts which was our favorite arena space wise and offered quality production for the techno pumping through the stackers. The pick of the bunch however was most definitely ‘Floorplan’ aka Robert Hood, the Detroit innovator adopting a no nonsense approach and blending acid tinges over crunching drum line which more than moved the crowd on the dancefloor.
After watching Robert Hood’s retro-fitted masterclass we then set our sights on heading back to back to The Orchestra which was met by the sounds of new XOYO resident and blogospher favorite Eats Everything curating a back to back extravaganza alongside TEED. Eats Everything’s performance summed up a whirlwind year before with him delivering a confident display behind the decks alongside collaborator and good friend TEED. A mixture of crowd pleasing house and intricate drops provided their receptive audience many a hands in the air moment throughout their set .
Valhalla is a fine announcement to the public that with the right balance of music, programming and decoration an indoor festival can really be achieved to such a positive outlook. We all look to events like Timewarp to fulfill our clubbing/ festival crossover needs but whilst perhaps struggling to compete with the stellar musical roster that’s been delivered by Timewarp in the last few years Valhalla has certainly on its way to forging a similarly impressive reputation of its own and certainly already matches from an entertainment and visual aspect. If your yet to enjoy Valhalla yourself then we’d recommend putting next years installment in your diary for the coming year as its an event that really does deliver…