Words: Marcus Barnes

Every year Amsterdam becomes the focal point for electronic music as the mammoth ADE event takes over the entire city. Held annually around mid-October, Amsterdam Dance Event has been around since 1995, when 300 delegates attended. Fast forward to 2018 and over 300,000 people signed up and flew in to the Dutch city to catch well over 2,000 artists perform at 140 venues. These insane figures make ADE the world’s biggest club festival and conference and it’s an extremely exciting and dynamic event, a place where more music industry business gets done than any other time or place each year; where you’ll catch some of the biggest parties and some of the best DJ sets.

Pulse was on the ground for five days during ADE, traversing the canals and streets of Amsterdam to get involved with the nightlife and report back on some of the most unforgettable performances.

Steve O’Sullivan (live set) - Dailycid

The owner of Mosaic was one of the highlights at DJ W!ld’s party, which boasted one of the best lineups of the week. Steve’s live set was deep, immersive and full of soul and flavour. The crowd were hooked from the dramatic opening, right through to the scintillating close. Steve’s mastery of captivating, dub-influenced techno was evident throughout and his set was a total delight. The perfect way to get ADE started.

Young Marco (DJ set) - Shelter

Rush Hour’s party at Shelter is now a staple for most hardened ADE party heads. The local record label may as well call Shelter its front room they are so comfortable there. The club itself is a masterpiece, with excellent sound, lighting and an electric atmosphere no matter who’s playing; just as you may expect from an Amsterdam club. Young Marco delivers each and every time, with disco, classic Italian house and pure groove running through his selection—absolute vibes.

Pillowtalk (DJ Set) - Living

Held at the amazing Duke Of Tokyo bar, right in the centre of Amsterdam on Reguliersdwarsstraat, Living was one of the parties of the week, and if you missed out, shame on you. Intimate, naughty and buzzing with social activity, friends new and old were brought together at the slick venue, which also has karaoke rooms. Pillowtalk threw down with a supreme selection of house cuts that had the dancefloor locked and bouncing with positive vibes for two hours.

Seth Troxler (DJ Set) - VBX

Seth closed VBX’s huge warehouse shindig, jumping on the ones and twos after Ricardo Villalobos—who delivered a great electro-fuelled performance. Keeping the energy levels high, Seth played vinyl from start to end, with some typically nuanced techno cuts, verging into disco territory on occasion and closing with an bewildering track that had the whole crowd transfixed; it was akin to Gregorian chanting and sent everyone home feeling zoned out.

Bonobo (DJ set) - Outlier

In the insanely big NDSM Docklands, Bonobo stepped up at his own party to take centre stage. The main room at NDSM was jam-packed with people, and the atmosphere was friendly and joyful. For two hours Bonobo massaged the room with a buoyant, often spine-tingling selection of cuts, including a few of his own. Against a backdrop of amazing production, the music carried everyone off into a dreamland of uplifting pads and mesmerising basslines. Goosebumps and beaming smiles all round.

DJ Koze (DJ set) - Outlier

Following Bonobo couldn’t have been easy for DJ Koze, but he switched the vibe up right away and took the room into tribal-esque techno territory with his opening track. The sinister sounds were the total opposite of Bonobo’s bright selection, but it worked. And as the energy in the room went through a transition, Koze locked us into his groove. Soon we were entering the disco realm and from there it was a wild, eclectic, yet cohesive adventure until the very end. Masterful.

Tale Of Us b2b Dixon (DJ set) - Afterlife

If you managed to get into the Afterlife party then you were one of the lucky few thousand who got to enjoy some serious back-to-back sets, the likes of which you won’t see very often. A definite highlight was the link up between a few giants of electronic music scene, the dynamic duo (and Afterlife label heads) Tale Of Us, and Innervisions bossman Dixon. Words don’t quite do it justice, but if you were there, you know how spectacular it was. An amazing set at a crazy party.

Photo credit: 

Laura Jacobs
Laura Jacobs
Duke of Tokyo
Lieke van den Oord
Sven Flier
Sacha Hoebergen
Sacha Hoebergen
Header by Niels de Vries