Reviewed: Cocoon In The Park
After the mammouth opening to festival season, it was time for Cocoon in The Park to step up to the plate and lay down some atmospheric techno. All of this in the peaceful and picturesque Temple Newsham Park in Leeds.
The love child of the Mint Club and Mint Warehouse team along with one of the pioneers of electronic music Sven Vath, the grandfather of Techno as some may call him, had an idea back in 2009. That idea was to create an open-air event under the Cocoon banner in a gorgeous location with just one stage that would showcase some of the finest Dj’s on the circuit.
An early start to the day as I’m catching the 8.03 train from Kings Cross however when its rave day all concept of time goes out the window and soon I’m pulling into Leeds Station and the anticipation is mounting fast. Quick pitstop to the hotel to drop the bags off and change into rave gear, I’ve opted for the all black techno look one I regret immensely as I make my way to the festival with the sun beaming down behind me!
The walk into the festival was a bit of a long one but with the mini marathon walks of We Are FSTVL and Wild Life behind me, I was up to the challenge. My upbeat mood was helped by the beautiful scenes in front of me at Temple Newsham, beautiful trees and buildings filled the area I almost forgot why I was there. I was brought back down to earth with the sound of thumping bass, with all open air festivals there’s that worry that the sound is going to get lost, but not today. The stage, set against the backdrop of a small forest, was kitted out with one of the best sound systems out there, Funktion One, this low end, thumping bass, growing, emerging from out under the foliage. Hi-hats and low ends so crisp that even from the back of the festival every note could be clearly heard.
The weather God’s are really on our sides today not a cloud in site, revellers basking in the sun and waiting for legends in their own right Adam Beyer, Joseph Capriati, Richy Ahmed to work their magic behind the decks before Cocoon owner Sven Vath closes for the night.
Opening the stage are newcomers, Bobby O’Donnell, Alex & Digby and Annie Errez, due to travelling I missed the opening sets, although speaking to some of the festival goers they all agreed that the pace for the rest of the day was set by these amazing DJs. I arrive just as Richy Ahmed is finishing up, a strange addition to the line up in my eyes as you don’t see him on such a heavy techno bill but boy was I wrong. He was throwing down some naughty beats with a little bit of disco, an odd combination you might think but with gleaming rays coming down from the sky it worked perfectly well.
Next up is the ever versatile Joseph Capriati, I’ve seen many a set of his on social media but was yet to witness him in person. He followed where Richy Ahmed left off with a slight disco vibe, the atmosphere was electric. He surely knows how to work a crowd and we are eating out the palm of his hands. An hour in and his set is in full swing, Capriati is just taking it all in his stride, such a calm and cool presence behind the decks a true sight to behold. Standing in the VIP, which is a raised platform slightly off to the right of center stage, I notice the vibe was about to change, strong hi hats cut cleanly through the mix and Capriati removes all low end, a bit of echo and reverb. Looking out I can see what’s about to happen, raised hands all the way up the hillside and in true Capriati style he brings in the techno rollers, a storming entrance for the reverbed heavy bass line introduced by a kick drum, that frankly makes my teeth shudder and the crowd respond in like with wolf whistles and shouts, he has everyone on edge, every person in the park has noticed the transition into the dirty techno. The Italian maestro is flawless, he’s got the crowd all geared up for the next pioneer on the bill Adam Beyer.
I’m slightly biased when it comes to Adam Beyer, this is the third time seeing him this year alone, to say he’s my favourite DJ is an understatement. The Drumcode boss is truly an inspiration and within minutes of him beginning his set, the crowd has surged forward to the front of the stage, like churchgoers eagerly awaiting a sermon Adam has once again captivated the masses. No stranger to playing for Cocoon, a regular on the line up for their Ibiza residency he delves deeper and deeper into his catalogue of rolling beats and heavy techno.
Beyer’s set is coming to an end, he’s really taken us on a journey with this one but its now time for the main man himself, you couldn’t have Cocoon In The Park and not have the head honcho behind this out worldly concept Mr Sven Vath not grace the decks, he’s playing for a straight four hours to close out the night. The backstage starts to fill behind him, everyone who’s played gathers to witness the genius take the almost 5,000 crowd through a story telling of techno. The first hour or so is very much an upbeat atmosphere, the cocoon ladies are joined on stage by Sven’s brother Holger who literally steals the show. As the night is during to a close the sun starts to set, the lights on stage turn to a red colour and the music takes an ominous turn. In true Sven Vath style, he shows us why Cocoon is still one of the best sounds out there, going deep into his vinyl collection and showing everyone how it is done. With a career spanning over 30 years, even if the style isn’t always to your liking, you’ve got to respect the guy and what he’s done for the electronic music scene, paving the way for some of the best-loved DJ’s of today. Cocoon, what an apt name.