Reviewed: Elrow at Motion NYE
December is certainly a hectic month. It seems to rush by in a blur, barely any time to enjoy and take it all in. But after all the presents have been opened, after all the wine and turkey have gone, attentions turn to the final party of the year. While you’re sweating out yet another hangover, taking stock of a year gone by. Reminiscing about those summer days that seem a distant memory. Those festivals you danced at into the early hours. Days you spent at work longing to leave for yet another weekend. The summer holiday either spent with friends or loved ones. Birthdays, weddings, births, deaths, it all culminates into this one night, a 365 day build up to New Year’s Eve. So, for me, what better way to bow out of 2017 than attending the global phenomenon that has swept across the UK this year, Elrow.
We leave early from Milton Keynes and make the 2-hour journey to Bristol. The usual playlist is on and we’re anticipating a great night. This would not only be my first Elrow experience, but also my first of Motion. Born out of Spain, Elrow has captivated clubbers and hit a boom in the last couple of years. Combine that with a venue that has received its own vast amount of rave reviews, this leaves expectations high. After dinner is eaten, pre-drinks finished and final touches to outfits, we take a taxi to the venue. There is a seriously good buzz in the air.
We get to Motion and the bass vibrates through us instantly, windows glowing up a variety of colours and some of the bravest people I have ever seen line-up the road in outfits that wouldn’t go amiss on a beach in Miami. After the usual procedure of going through security, we make our way in. A quick stop at the bar and we head to the most important element of the night, the music.
We bounce between the 2 main rooms, to begin with. This is both to get our bearings and in the hope, we don’t miss out on anything. We catch Butch and Elliot Adamson who both getting the party started. The crowd is in good spirits and were greeted by a giant Pink Panther and stilt walkers dressed as farmers. This is like nothing I have ever seen before. As the set is brought to an end with a heavy downpour of pink and white confetti, we decide to switch rooms to see the New Years in with Skream and not Riva Starr. It’s a decision we’d sadly live to regret.
There have been many records broken in 2017, but it seems organisers had an attempt at breaking one more by seeing how many people they could squeeze into an abandoned warehouse at one time. Moving between rooms was becoming more difficult and the bar area becomes a safe haven to escape the madness for a few minutes. When we eventually squeeze our way through to see Skream he doesn’t disappoint. Its been a busy year for the Bromley born DJ, who has been working his magic at many of the UK’s biggest festivals, as well as being a regular fixture at Elrow at its usual home of Amnesia, in Ibiza. The set is everything you’d expect as Skream, who seamlessly mixes house and techno to progressively bring the night towards its climax.
As the time hits almost dead on 11:45, the lights go out and the music off. The crowd continues to bounce slightly with beaming smiles, but before long bemused looks begin to take over. Murmurs of a power failure begin to sweep through the room. I was naive enough to believe it all might be part of the show, but as the countdown begins, we’re still in complete darkness and I realise this is not the case. We see in New Years with a half-hearted countdown and no music, not quite how we’d expected it to be. We see the other room has managed to get its power back on, so we head that way cursing our bad luck.
The power cut has seemed to clear a lot of the crowd, maybe through disappointment or maybe they’re determined to stick to their ‘New Year, New Me’ resolutions. We hang around in the hope to see Waze & Odyssey, but the lights never come back on. To this day I am not sure if they ever did. We catch some of Marc Maya, I’m sad to say as a last resort. The crowd seem disappointed and people look less than impressed with what had happened. In all honesty, I can see why as it killed our vibe also. After much deliberation and after witnessing a girl buy a hot dog that looked like it was still alive, we decided to call it a night, just an hour into 2018 and bringing our evening to a premature end.
Despite the anticlimax of the New Years countdown, I have nothing but admiration for Elrow and Motion for that matter. Elrow is an event like no other. It’s unique, almost trippy style is something you have to witness, even if the music isn’t to your liking. It’s that style which brings with it a feel-good atmosphere that is infectious throughout the crowd and you can’t help but embrace inflatables to the face once in a while. As for Motion, the venue has everything required to be a success and that is exactly why it is. The two main rooms with balconies give you the option of different viewing points, which is handy considering the way you get packed in. I’m not a fan of filling a venue to the point where you can’t breathe, but that’s hardly the fault of the venue itself. It just goes to show how good both the venue and event are, considering the night was effectively ruined by a power cut, they still deliver to a decent standard. I will certainly be attending both once again in the near future while hoping that my bad luck on New Years isn’t a sign of things to come for the rest of 2018.
Photo Credit: ©Alastair Brookes – Entirety Labs