Category Archives: Gigs

Zouk Singapore: Sander Van Doorn (Apr’12)

I’ve been a loyal listener of Sander Van Doorn‘s Identity podcasts since a while ago and sometimes, I even relied on these podcasts for music discoveries and features on our weekly playlists. Sander has amazing taste in picking out and featuring really good electronic tracks on his shows. Every now and then, he also plays his own production and that’s how I came to discover that this man does not only have good taste but is also an excellent producer who churns out hits after hits of bangers and ear-worm tracks!

After getting to know the man better on his weekly identity show, I also started looking forward to his live sets and I must say that they are good! Thus, when the news spread around that Sander is heading to Singapore to spin for a night, there was no way I’m going to miss the man in action!

As usual, even before Sander‘s appearance, the crowd started piling up at around 1AM and like true veterans of Zouk’s guests nights, the crowd knew exactly when Sander was coming out and began chanting his name repeatedly just minutes before Sander‘s appearance.

Sander Van Doorn opened the set with the incredibly sexy track “Alright” from Mark Knight, probably to prep the crowd for the frenzy that they were about to get into before dropping the massive single “Chasin” alongside with the dry ice release at the track’s crescendo and thus, leading the crowd into delirium.

Tracks after tracks which blended smoothly to keep the crowd’s adrenaline up were played, including Nicky Romero’s “Haters Gonna Hate”, Midnight City’s “M83” in the Eric Prydz Private Remix, Qulinez’s “Troll”, Otto Knows’s “Million Voices”, Swanky Tunes with Matisse & Sadko’s massive track “The Legend”, the rave-worthy track “RIA” by Angger Dimas & Bassjackers and Afrojack & R3hab’s “Prutataa” which had incredible build-up. Towards the end, Sander also dropped a surprising “Kernkraft 400” by Zombie Nation, which is practically impossible to go wrong! Yes, within the span of a few hours, I believe the crowd went crazy for at least a hundred times… figuratively.

Of course, a Sander show would not be complete without the man’s own tracks with his stylish and distinctive style. Some singles that Sander dropped was “Who’s Wearing The Cap” which was a collaboration with Laidback Luke, the ear-worm track “Koko” which is always stuck in my head every time I listen to it, the classic “Love is Darkness” and of course, Sander’s hottest new track “Nothing Inside” which features the lovely vocals of Mayaeni. “Nothing Inside” is this massive track that’s melodic and soothing which eventually leads up to this amazingly high energy, fist-pumping tune. Now that is a track that’s perfect for a rave!

To conclude, Sander Van Doorn‘s talent cannot be denied and the man’s charismatic charms and marvelous attitude towards what he’s doing and how he responds to the crowd and his fans only proved to us followers that he’s somebody that can’t go wrong. He can be sure that a fan right here will constantly look forward to more surprises and awesome productions.

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Zouk Singapore: Arno Cost (Apr’12)

Upcoming, young French DJ, Arno Cost played at Zouk on the 5th of April for Zouk’s celebration of being the number 5 club on DJ Mag. I didn’t really take notice of Arno Cost until I heard Trilogy, a track he produced together with  Laidback Luke and Norman Doray. Before Trilogy was out, I had only heard of Cyan (which is a very nice track by the way 😉 ) and Magenta. So only armed with 3 of his songs, I bravely went for his show hoping that I would know most of the tracks he is gonna play.

Please forgive the low res images. I only had my phone then. I tried to get the best shots.

Being the excited me, I couldn’t wait for Arno Cost to play Trilogy. So for the first part of his set I was standing patiently with puppy eyes, trying to contain my excitement while he played songs like Titanium and Rolling In The Deep to get the crowd going. Finally when he played Trilogy, I sang my lungs out to the tune of it. Unfortunately here in Singapore, I don’t think the name Arno Cost rings a bell to many people. So there I was, in my own world, singing to the tune while I received a few weird glances from some party goers. It’s a shame though, I must say, I truly believe that he deserves much more recognition than this.

I got lost for quite awhile before Arno Cost played In My Mind, Epic and Kick Out The Epic Motherf*cker which  brought me back to Mother Earth. (This is what happens when you don’t listen to enough music.) I then got lost again until he played Avicii and Nervo’s You’ll Never Be Alone Again.

By now, the set got a little slower. Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, The Island, Chasing and Million Voices are the subsequent tracks that I managed to remember with my after work brain.

Sadly, I gotta say that I was a little disappointed with the night. It felt as though there wasn’t any climax. It was a nice build in the beginning but it just stayed at that level which had gotten pretty flat and before you know it, he was closing his set already 😦 And there wasn’t much engagement from him with the crowd. The only interaction I got from him was him telling us it was gonna be the last song. Maybe I’m just too used to high energy sets from DJs like R3hab, Hardwell and Laidback Luke etc that Arno Cost‘s set becomes too flat for me hurhur.

But I really hope I’ll get to catch a better set from him in future!

P.S

I hope you guys don’t mind my honest opinion on the whole set. We believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, so if you guys were there and felt otherwise or you have heard a better set from Arno Cost, do share with us your experience or how you felt about his set!

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Zouk Singapore: R3hab (MAR’12)

Originated from Breda, Netherlands, Fadil El Ghoul aka R3hab has proven himself to be more than just a regular DJ. To date, R3hab has remixed tons of tracks ranging from popular pop and dance music from artistes such as Lady Gaga & LMFAO to some of the definitive house music producers such as David Guetta and Afrojack and having his remixes played by them. Besides remixes, R3hab has also produced several head-banger tracks such as “Prutataa” which was a collaboration with Afrojack.

R3hab came on at about 1.30AM and started the show with a blast, dropping the track “Sending My Love” which was an original by the man himself and collaboration with Swanky Tunes Featuring the vocals of Max’C. The crowd was instantly warmed up because of the track’s amazing build-up and intensive drop and not forgetting, the help of Zouk’s amazing lightings and occasionally huge dosage of dry ice shower.

Some of the originally remixed tracks by R3hab that were played include LMFAO’s “Sorry for Party Rocking”, “Champagne Showers & “Party Rock Anthem”, Adrian Lux’s “Fire”, Lady Gaga’s “Marry The Night”, Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away”, Calvin Harris’ “We Found Love” and David Guetta Feat. Usher’s “Without U”.

Other tracks that R3hab played also included a mashup of Sander Van Doorn’s “Koko” & the Acapella of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep as well as Dada Life’s “Kick Out the Epic Motherfu*ker”.

R3hab‘s remixes usually include his signature monstrous buildup and rhythmic drops and with this signature style, he’s turned tons of ear-worm vocal tracks into something completely refreshing and original. One of my favorites that R3hab dropped that night was his remix of Lady Gaga’s “Judas” in which there was a pretty long crescendo followed by the massive drop of a rhythmic electro-dance sequence that caused an infectious dance fever on the dance floor.

Regarding the flow of R3hab‘s set that night, there’s only one word to describe: excessive. In the sounds of R3hab, we can be sure that there’s never enough buildup, drop and energy and therefore, everything is always in excess. The excess went on for four hours continuously with bangers after bangers that led us to non-stop raving alongside the crescendos of the tracks at the dance floor, which ultimately sucked away our energy because it was constantly so intense (I actually think I burned quite a lot of calories that night due to all that intensive raving and dancing)!

Usually, Gigs that go on for that long can be dangerous because the crowd may get too exhausted to keep up towards the end or the flow of tracks may screw up and break the momentum and hype, but R3hab totally killed it.

To end off, R3hab‘s famous “Chainsaw Madness” is real. It’s not a legend or just plain saying. It’s easy to be a part of this “Chainsaw Madness” movement whenever R3hab is around but it’s not easy to keep up.

Now that I know, the next time I’m going to attend a R3hab show (which I’m sure I will!), I’ll be sure to prep myself with comfort footwear and 200% energy because the rave is not going to stop and you’ll need all that excessive energy to keep on raving. That’s just R3hab.

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Zouk Singapore: Hardwell (Feb’12)

Superstar DJ and music producer Hardwell aka Robbert van de Corput created a frenzy during his gig at Zouk Singapore two weeks ago. This young dutch star broke into the scene in 2009 and has since produced tons of chart-topping hit singles such as “Encoded“, “Cobra” and the collaboration with superstar veteran DJ Tiësto to produce the massive track “Zero 76“. More recently, Hardwell just released his latest earworm track titled “Spaceman“.

Before the gig, I’ve already predicted that it’s going to be insanely crowded that night but when I got there, the amount of people sure exceeded my expectation. We knew that Hardwell will be coming on at about 1.15am – 1.30am and therefore, at about 12.30am, we stood firmly on the dance floor (we were at about row three from the DJ’s booth), anticipating the appearance of Hardwell. By the time when it was 1 am, the dance floor became so packed that it was even getting hard to move but we waited patiently because we knew it was going to be worth it.

Finally, a smiley and energetic young man came on and took over the booth with an awesome opening of his massive track, “Encoded” and everybody started banging and screaming to the music and to Hardwell himself. Shortly after, the track “NickTim” by Avicii & Nicky Romero came on and everybody seemed to know the track really well and were humming to it. Next up came the usual tracks-of-the-moment such as Sebastian Ingrosso & Alesso’s “Calling (Instrumental version)”, Alesso’s remix “Pressure” by Nadia Ali, Starkillers & Alex Kenji.

By the time “Pressure” came on, the dance floor was so packed that it was getting hard to breathe, so we decided to get out of the dance floor and continue the party at level two where there were still space to stand around. Later on, Hardwell dropped the massive new track “In My Mind” by Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl Feat. Gerogi Kay in the Axwell remix, which was great!

Throughout the set, Hardwell was dropping tunes that constantly switched from high intensity headbangers to sexier, groovier tunes which was really great because that way, the crowd was able to keep up with the pace since it wasn’t all high intensity fist-pumping tracks (so people got the chance to somehow breathe). Some of the tracks that were dropped later on include “Toulouse” by Nicky Romero, Avicii’s “Sweet Dreams (Gregori Klosman Remix)“, Hardwell‘s very own remix of Robin S vs. Steve Angello & Laidback Luke’s “Show Me Love vs. Be“, “Cobra“, “Zero 76“, Calvin Harris’ “Feel So Close“, Sandro Silva & Quintino’s “Epic“, Knife Party’s “Internet Friends” as well as the Skrillex remix of Avicii’s “Levels” and Benny Benassi’s “Cinema” and finally closing the set with his own latest track “Spaceman” (which is still stuck in my head till this day) to make the night a perfect one.

True enough, he did it. I think he actually extended his set because at one point of time, I could hear the crowd shouting “Encore, Encore” and then miraculously his set continued and everybody just went insane. That night in zouk was ridiculously packed and yet nobody wanted to leave because it was such a good set, paired with such a suave and energetic young man taking over the booth.

Hardwell is the kind of music producer whom I’ve always had faith in and have always looked forward to his releases because the tracks never disappoint. Now that I’ve seen and heard him live, I can safely say that he is the kind of producer AND DJ whom I’ll always have faith in because his choices in music is just well, always right. While I sure don’t look forward to the crowd, I’ll be looking forward to his next gig somewhere near.

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Zouk Singapore: Kaskade (Dec’11)

Ryan Raddon aka Kaskade, is one of the leading electronic music producers from America. Having been active since 2001, Kaskade came a long way and have pretty much been involved in the evolution of the dance music scene around the world. Having released more than 7 studio albums to date and have worked with several other big names such as Tiesto and Deadmau5, just to name a few.

Weeks before the event, when I first heard about the news that Kaskade will be coming for his debut in Zouk Singapore, I knew it was a night not to be missed. Despite the excitement, my friends and decided that it’s going to be a night to unwind after a day of work so we stayed away from the dance floor (we foresaw the sardine-packed crowd that will happen that night) and hanged around the second level of Zouk. True enough, the dance floor was packed way before Kaskade‘s arrival.

The moment Kaskade took over the booth, insanity started among the crowd. Front-rowers jumped crazily trying to get Kaskade’s signature, photos and high-fives. Others just danced… non-stop. Throughout the night, Kaskade dropped several of his tracks from his latest studio album “Fire & Ice” such as “Lessons In Love” featuring the Neon Trees. Some of my favorites from the album are “Turn It Down” featuring the Swedish duo Rebecca & Fiona as well as “Llove” featuring the talented vocals of Haley and sure enough, I was glad that Kaskade dropped these tracks!

Besides the original softer tracks, Kaskade also dropped several current popular tunes such as Dada Life’s “Happy Violence“, David Guetta’s “Paris“, Alesso’s “Raise Your Head“, Swedish House Mafia’s “Save The World” and of course, the unmissable “Levels” by Avicii. Of course, I was most pleasantly surprised when Kaskade dropped the Tiësto‘s classic “Lethal Industry“.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed because towards the later part of the set, tracks after tracks seemed to be mainly the “out-there-tracks” that’s pretty much played everywhere in the Dance music scene right now. Sure enough, that seemed fine since the crowd seemed to really enjoy them.

However, for Kaskade who’s had more than 7 studio albums, I would’ve expected tons and tons of original bangers from the man itself especially since he’s come from a journey of successful singles and I must say that a lot of the original tunes are really good so there’s really no reason why they should be excluded for the popular tracks that are played everywhere right now. That’s just my two cents worth.

All in all, the night was still splendid considering how the crowd seemed to really enjoy Kaskade‘s set. I, too, was enjoying and indulging in a musical journey led by Kaskade.

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