It's Saturday in Glasgow, and a long night of trance is on the cards. Rising star Ben Nicky is in town to headline Synergy at TUR, along with Adam Ellis, himself fresh from his latest big collaboration, 'Set To Sail' with the legendary Menno de Jong and vocal queen, Kate Louise Smith.
The local crowd are notorious for spotting new talent. It's well known that in the early 90's Gouryella, aka Ferry Corsten, and Tiësto spoke of the Glasgow crowd being one of the first to actually focus on the DJ on the decks.
Stepping off Queen Street and down the TUR stairs, DJ Mag immediately notices how dark the club appears, no illuminating lights, no overexposure to LED. It's clear from the outset: TUR is a perfect venue for a night of hard trance.
Fearlessly, your DJ Mag trance addict makes his way into the DJ room, mingling discreetly alongside the steadily expanding crowd. A quick gaze toward the decks reveals Paul Trainer, Synergy's brainchild, promoter and evidently, DJ, is building up the anticipation for Ben Nicky and Adam Ellis.
Glancing around the room, it's clear only moments after stepping over the threshold that TUR is all about the music. Stripped back aesthetics, black walls, 'Only Music Can Save Us' inscribed on the back wall and pew like seats on one side of the room. This club was created for fans to worship at the feet of dance music. A place where egos are left at the door.
Stepping away from the dancefloor for a moment, DJ Mag somehow becomes embroiled in a discussion about the over-homogenization of dance music, and how removing the flaws in a set or a track can alienate the listener. While we agree that the real beauty of a live set can often lie in its flaws, the the infamous phrase “only in Glasgow” does spring to mind!
When we meet up with Paul after his set, his passion is crystal clear. “What a night for Synergy,” he says, “it's a complete sell-out. We've been turning people away at the door, our phone has been ringing non-stop and our social media has been buzzing all day.
“The thing about Synergy is, we're fans as well, we're all about the music, and this is only the beginning,” continues Paul. “If the fans are having a great time, we're having a great time. It creates a synergy between DJ and crowd.”
Stepping back into the mainroom, we manage to catch the very talented Robbie Graham warm up for Adam Ellis, with the now bustling crowd reciprocating huge appreciation for the talented, local DJ.
It's time. The crowd lulls, the stripped-back lights fall dark, the crowd holds it breath...
Suddenly the lights and speakers explode into life and Adam Ellis launches into his fantastic new single 'Set to Sail', an unequivocal future trance classic. Ellis' set continues into vocal, hard, progressive and even psy. Another highlight, 'Brush Strokes' by Simon Patterson, a notorious psytrance classic, almost tears the roof off the 350+ capacity club.
Fresh from his two hour set, an ecstatic and out of breath Adam tells DJ Mag: “Easily my gig of the year. Sometimes you're just with the crowd and they're with you. Tonight was one of those nights.”
If Ben Nicky feels any pressure following Ellis' unbelievable set, he doesn't show it. Trance's new icon knows his crowd, with a set as diverse as 'Find Yourself' by John O'Callaghan, Motorcycle's 'As The Rush Comes', remixes of OceanLab, and even Pop Art's 'Disco Madness'.
“We just play what the crowd wants, throwing different genres into the mix, we don't need to stick to a formula anymore, the fans love it, and we love it,” says Nicky as he steps off stage to rapturous acclamation. It feels like this is Nicky's moment. And as DJ Mag steps back out onto Queen Street, we're almost certain that he and Ellis are the future kings of trance.
WORDS: Gregg Kelly