TAKEOVER | APOLLONIA | YALTA CLUB | REVIEW
The French trio Apollonia was the first headliner of the Takeover series this year. The project visited the leading Bulgarian club on the 20th of January with all the members present. For the first time since the Takeover series started, the event was held in Room 1, which gave a different feel to the event, while simultaneously retaining its unique concept. This was also the first club show for the three Frenchmen in Sofia, after they participated in last year's Solar Easter only 6 months after Dyed Soundorom had been the guest-headliner on Takeover night at Yalta Club.
The party started in 23:00 and the resident of Yalta Club and Takeover - Liubo Ursiny - was the man who directed things behind the decks. One of our top DJs, he was on the stage for about three hours and supplied the trio with a beautiful opening set, showcasing his ability to control the situation at all kinds of events - be that techno, tech house or soft, deep, melancholic house music. His beats poured one after the other in a complex combination of mixed tracks, which the artist complemented with effects both from the mixer, as well as from his additional equipment.
We've always been against categorizing DJs based on the equipment they're using. Liubo Ursiny's constant strong presence and his perfect mastery of the various functions, which his favored console offers, prove that the so-called "laptop artists" can be much classier than many of their CD or Vinyl colleagues, as long as they know what they're doing with their equipment. And Liubo Ursiny is a man who knows how to work with all kinds of machinery and is skilled in bringing out every hue of the emotions of the ecstatic crowd.
Apollonia took over the stage around 02:00 and started their richly arranged set. After showcasing their unique taste in music during their previous visits to the capital, the Frenchmen again proved their artistic abilities. But in order for the event to be at the highest level of appreciation, the crowd should have a fine taste as well. And the crowd at Saturday's Takeover proved it's an educated and knowledgeable one. Although Apollonia's triple b2b set was an extended one, more than 4 hours long, the guests offered a compact, dynamic performance, which alternated perfectly calculated key moments with more subtle, melodic tracks. Supported by a solid quantity of authentic vinyls and an enormous collection of CDs, Apollonia offered the Bulgarian audience an intelligent performance which will probably be one of the year's best. And we've just gotten started.
Although the musical programme was the main reason for the importance of the event, several other things caught our attention. Firstly, there's never been a Takeover in Room . Up until now the concept series had always been held in Room 2. And the basement was an essential part of what made the concept work so beautifully - a dark setting with lots of monochromatic lights, absence of light effects, lots of smoke and uncompromising sound. And, sadly, not very many fans on the dance floor. The last Takeover turned some of those distinct characteristics around. One of those was the audience - it filled out both floors of Room 1. Although the main room doesn't have that underground vibe, that Room 2 has, the club management had tried to appease those fans that wanted the original feel of the concept series. The lighting was toned down and there was a lot of smoke. The distinguishable red lights were dominant throughout the night and even during those rare moments that other spotlights were shining, they were significantly toned down.
Yes, the Takeover concept definitely moved to Room 1 successfully. Even the most fervent undergound fans exchanged lines like "It's different. It's not the same. But it's great." And we all know how hipster-y can the undergound fans be. Another interesting moment, which will be a part of every other Yalta Club event in the future (not only Takeover events) is the Craft Bar. A bar that is going to invited a guest bartender who's going to be mixing all kinds of cocktails in unorthodox ways. This is not at all unfamiliar to those who know the history of the club. After all, Yalta Club was the host of the 2014 IBA FLAIR championship.
Another subject which we wanted to talk about was the "What will happen to Room 2?" question. After the main room was reopened, the basement has not held parties and even Yalta Club's lesser known project Yalta Club Art Room, which held its events in Room 2, has not had any activity. We're almost entirely sure that Room 2 is in the same position in which was Room 1 several months ago and it's undergoing renovation work. Speaking of which, Yalta's main room has been beautifully renovated. The end result has the DJ decks moved to the stairs, where they were several seasons ago. Instead of the huge electrical wall behind the decks, there's only a small table there now and the audience can freely interact with the guests.
The first Takeover was definitely a memorable occasion, which started the year in a most spectacular way. A new location, new audience and new ways of perceiving the concept, but preserving the underground vibe and the strict concept rules. Finally, we were welcomed by the sight of the next guest of the Takeover series. On the 24th of February, returning for his second Takeover, after more than two years, is 4 time winner of Resident Advisor's DJ № 1 poll - Dixon!