Over the last few years, Ibiza’s legendary Space club has evolved from a world-renowned nightspot on a tiny Balearic island into a globally recognised brand — with offshoots across the globe. One of the most exciting new additions to the family is in Egypt, where Space Sharm resides in the tourist resort of Sharm el Sheik. We were in the Egyptian resort — especially popular with Russians and Brits — for a double-header featuring a Top 100 Clubs Party on the Friday (they shot up 28 places to No. 41 in the 2013 poll) and a Future Sound of Egypt party on the Saturday.
Approaching the venue on Friday night, via a dust-filled desert-style road, we can hear the pulsating bass coming from the top of the hill. The car park is rammed full of local characters, getting the party started outside the venue. From the outside Space Sharm is an impressive beast. Proudly the first-ever Space club outside of Ibiza, the walls of the venue are illuminated with the iconic logo. Stepping inside the venue we are struck by the similarities with the parent Ibiza club. This is no branded shell; the whole place has very clearly been built with the Ibiza ethos in mind. Rough exposed brickwork decorates the walls, and the DJ sits in front of the biggest LED screen we have ever seen outside of the festival circuit.
We ease in with a few vodkas as resident DJ Gareth Stirling warms up with a selection of high-intensity bombs, funky basslines and deep vocal breaks. Originally from Manchester, Stirling has been on the circuit for many years as Ministry of Sound tour resident prior to landing the Sharm el Sheik residency. With the room suitably warmed, guest DJ Gregori Klosman steps up and works the room into a frenzy with a three-hour set that takes in Dirty Dutch, electro and eventually tech house cuts. We stumble out of the venue well after closing time and back to the hotel for round two…
Egypt has big love for trance. Saturday night’s Future Sound of Egypt party line-up has been curated by local legends-come-international trance superstars Aly & Fila. And arriving at the venue it is clear that this event has attracted the local crowd — as opposed to the holidaymakers who populated the dancefloor on Friday night. Up first Giuseppe Ottaviani gets the crowd warmed up with a firing live set of trance classics thrown together with a blinding array of synthesizers, hardware and live kit that fills the spacious DJ booth.
He is followed by the Argentinian Heatbeat, who thrashes out an energetic set of trance, electro and even dubstep styles, demonstrating the fact that his diversity as a DJ equals that of his prodigious studio talent. The real highlight is saved for the finale however as local heroes Aly & Fila take to the booth to rapturous applause from the largely Egyptian crowd. Firing through tech trance bombs including various cuts from new album ‘Quiet Storm’, Fadi works the mixer and FX to perfection, keeping the dancefloor packed to the finale.
In a relatively short space of time, Space Sharm has established itself as a major player in the Middle East clubbing scene. Its similarities to the mother club in Ibiza go beyond the architecture and brand name, however. Both venues target a pool of tourists who return year upon year and as such every night has the sense of abandon that give it that special edge. As we depart the club we are shown a cavernous outdoor space, demonstrating that more is still to come from this exciting new venue.