Tiësto @ Escape Into The Park 2004

•• Escape Into The Park @ Singleton Park, Swansea, 14 August 2004
•• Published: SoundsXP, September 2004
•• Original article: http://www.soundsxp.com/1120.shtml

It looked for some time that the worlds of dance and rock had managed to settle their differences and live side by side as one big happy musical family. Dance acts were more than welcome on festival main stages, the Prodigy picked up punky guitars and keyboards were embraced as part of many bands' sound. So what happened? The great rock revival spat out the influences of dance culture and now the dance scene is wheezing face down in its self-created, synthetic, uncreative gutter.

Or so a large chunk of the music press would have you believe. The electronic influences of bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Chikinki and luxembourg show this clearly is not the case though and as for the dance scene being dead? 20,000 people dancing in a sun-baked field in Swansea would beg to differ. Escape Into The Park is, it must be said, a purely dance oriented day out along the same lines as Global Gathering or Creamfields but any truly open minded music lover would have found plenty to enjoy here.

The rock-tinged strains of Hybrid's uplifting orchestral dance are followed by a live PA from the bizarrely-named vocal gymnast, Motorcycle. Her boundless energy fails to work the crowd up into the joyously hyperactive state she herself seems to be in but top marks for enthusiasm all the same. The first big-name DJ of the day then takes over the main stage in the form of Radio One's, Dave Pearce, as he bangs out some dancey trancey cheese. Nicknamed 'Dangerous' Dave Pearce, the only real danger comes from being hit by the huge chunks of edam he throws relentlessly at the crowd or losing your teeth due to the pounding kick drums and sugary sweet trance treacle he liberally dishes out.

To avoid injury we duck into the house tent to see veteran DJ, Joey Negro play a refreshingly varied set including Talking Heads and some Latino-flecked jazzy house before launching into Big Fun by Inner City which, in spite of being over 15 years old, creates an excellent flush of goosebumps. Dance music suffers from many shortsighted, promo-centric DJs who believe music has had its day as soon as it hits the shops but Joey Negro is not afraid to mix styles, genres and eras and the crowd seem more than appreciative of his efforts.

Another criticism levelled at dance acts is the lack of a decent live spectacle but one time Mercury Music Award winner Roni Size produces a live performance that is incendiary. Banging and bashing away with some tough breakbeats and huge basslines, this is pure drum and bass, but with live drums, live bass and a range of talented vocalists and MCs, Size and his Reprazent collective provide an explosively energetic set. Roni nods and grins throughout as he seems to be enjoying himself every bit as much as the beaming crowd.

And so to the end of the night and Tiësto, the Superstar DJ of the moment at a time when the Superstar DJ is being shunned and dance ducks back underground to regroup. But there is no sign of Tiësto's star fading as his anthem-laden storming hard dance and uplifting trance set begins with stage explosions and ends with a full-scale firework display. This marks a spectacular end to a day that triumphantly reinforced the fact that electronic music is not just going to disappear due to the fickle finger of fashion, or the fad-obsessed ignorance of the music press.

The music scene seems to be saturated with narrow-minded tribalism at present and that can only prove ultimately limiting and stifle creativity. Being completely genre-bound can only remove some of the potential enjoyment that can be derived from listening to and playing music, whether it be rock, dance, metal, hip hop, folk or country. While Escape Into The Park may not provide the deep and meaningful experience some crave through music, it certainly was fun, and surely that is just as important?

- Ian Roullier, 08/2004
Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014