On the 6th of February 2016 Trance Nation Netherlands returned to Amsterdam! The original location was the renowned Heineken Music Hall but it turned out that doing it there considering the amount of tickets that were sold wouldn’t be right for the atmosphere. So, in one-week time the organization completed a location switch to ‘The Box’. In 2014 this location was actually also used for this, back then it was still The Sand. To help out the international visitors who had obviously booked a hotel near the HMH a free shuttlebus service to The Box was arranged, great job by the organization. Considering the line-up which features a big amount of legendary DJ’s we had definitely looked forward to the event. Check out our experience below!
We wanted to arrive at The Box on time and it seemed quite a lot of people had the same idea. The lines were already getting long at 9 pm. When you walk through the entrance of The Box it instantly becomes clear why it’s called like that. A cube hanging from the sealing with lights on it decorated the venue nicely. As for the stage 4 big lasers and some stroboscopes promised what was going to be one hell of a lightshow. The DJ booth was located pretty much in the middle of the stage with walls on which projections could be shown on the light, right, top and bottom.
Stephen Kirkwood, who actually didn’t only have the honor to open the main-stage but also played at prime-time in the second room, started off quite relaxed and finished relatively uplifting.
At the very moment Alex M.O.R.P.H. started playing it seemed like people suddenly woke up & the first bass-lines of his tracks trembled through the speakers. Visuals started to be applied more frequently and the ‘spacy’ theme definitely fitted. Alex captured the crowd and managed to keep their attention. He played the first track of his own label ‘Universal Nation’ which is called ‘The Journey’. In our view a great name because it does sound like you’re being taken on a journey through space.
Near the end of Alex M.O.R.P.H’s set we decided to check out the second room. The room was rather small but that actually created an intimate atmosphere. Unfortunately there was no light at all behind the DJ booth which resulted in the fact you needed to get quite close to the DJ booth to see who was playing. We didn’t regret going there at all though since we managed to catch a bit of the sets of Arla Feeney, stunning tunes, and Drym, which mostly was uplifting music.
Paul Oakenfold, meanwhile, was absolutely smashing it at the mainstage. The boss of Planet Perfecto records was, considering he was already active in the 80s, one of the most experienced guys at the whole night. We got surprised by lighted water coming out of small fountains on the right- and left-side of the stage and the crowd got very pleased by Paul’s set. A cool moment was when he played his 2015 Sandstorm remix. The lasers were perfectly synchronized during that track & the crowd went nuts.
Up next it was time for legend Ferry Corsten to take over the decks. Ferry needs no introduction but we should mention that it’s very interesting he’s planning on conquering 2016 with an upcoming Gouryella tour! The energy level went straight to maximum when Ferry started playing. Magnificent melodies & especially when he closed with Gouryella – Anahera which could very well be the best Trance track of 2015.
If you haven’t noticed the rise of Egyptian duo Aly & Fila you must have been living under a rock. Last year the duo impressed the world with a FSOE show near the actual pyramids in their home country. We can definitely understand that Trance Nation felt to book them. The fact that there’s a very active local fanbase became clear when we saw many people with farao like caps. Aly & Fila got a very unique style mixing Egyptian vibes with real uplifting trance. They turned up the tempo a bit compared to the amount of beats per minute Ferry used in his set.
One of the main-acts from Germany was Infected Mushroom. We hadn’t seen them live before which isn’t very odd since it’s really about 10 years ago since their last performance in the Netherlands. The act had a pretty cool intro but what happened next wasn’t appreciated by everyone in the crowd. Infected played a mix of dubstep/trance/rock/techno, a bit of a strange combo. It’s obviously known that their style is very diverse but we think it could have been better if they would have focused some more on the Trance elements.
Sean Tyas, one of the big names in psy-trance nowadays, made things right and got positive vibes back and Simon O’Shine who heard last-minute that he got the honor to close the mainstage did that worthy.
We have to compliment the organization of Trance Nation with this event. The line-up has been quite special and they successfully switched locations within 1 week. As for the date we think for the next edition it’s a good idea to not plan it in same month when ASOT is coming to Utrecht. If it would have been in May again we bet the HMH would have been full. As for the DJ set’s & atmosphere we’re quite happy with what we experienced. Ferry Corsten, Paul Oakenfold & Aly & Fila were highlights in our view. We’re curious what Trance Nation will come up with next year!
Reporter: Alexander Bouten