Photos: Farhad Khodadadzade
“I named my dog Noisia”…
Sometimes a homemade banner in the crowd can say more than a million words ever could. We don’t know what breed of dog it is, its gender, its age, its favourite toy, whether it’s a good boy or girl, but the fact there’s a dog in the world called Noisia for some reason seems to capture the ridiculousness of tonight’s scenario, the electric vibe and the incredible influence the hosts have had on so many of us for the last 20+ years.
Rescheduled more times than Andy C triple drops in an hour, the last ever Noisia Invites was a poignant affair before it even began. Held within hours of the release of their third and final album Closer, and almost precisely 10 years since their first ever curated event (at the same venue – Melkweg, Amsterdam) Friday May 13 will go down in history as one of the most legendary raves in the band’s history. Judging by the queue that stretched all the way back across the Leidseplein, and the atmosphere and vibe among the queuers, it might well have been one of the most raucous and highly anticipated raves the city had seen for some time, too.
Not only was the line-up full of the VISION founders’ closest friends – Phace, Posij, Halogenix, IMANU, Fre4knc, Black Sun Empire, Icicle, DJ Ride, Former, Subp Yao – but the 2000+ full-cap club was, too. Artists who’d taken a night off their schedules to mark a moment in time that was meant to happen almost two years ago came from all over; Buunshin, The Caracal Project, The Outsiders, Secula, Reuben, Scartip and Overview Music founder Peter Piper were just some of the artist merrymakers who UKF encountered during the night.
They’d all simply come to pay respect and party with the Dutch trio one last time, all of them buzzing with excitement and highly charged with that full-loop feeling – anyone under the age of 30 was almost guaranteed to have been switched onto this music and culture by Noisia in the same way The Prodigy had done for the generation of ravers before. For them, like the thousands around the world watching on the live stream who weren’t able to make it to The Netherlands, this was a show you’d sell your nan or throw your last pair of shoes out of a window to see.
No doubt there were many, many more in attendance – the aforementioned dog owner definitely is one – but the music and spirit of the night was too good to pass round questionnaires. Everyone had a lot of dancefloor admin to do. Not only to make up for lost time that covid had taken from us but also to mark the last time this set of circumstances would ever happen again. Besides a handful of festival bookings this summer this was the last time the band would play in this way and the vibe was being savoured exquisitely by every person in attendance from the moment the doors opened and Subp Yao dropped his first rumbling 140 banger.
An inspiring set from start-to-finish, the fellow Dutchman set the scene and wide-armed musical sentiment of the night as he gradually ramped up through dubstep, jungle and halftime to the hyper room two crowd. He was followed by Former who played such a wildly eclectic, head-bending and ultimately beautiful set comprising everything from classic Dutch trance to hip-hop, that he caused this particular raver to miss Fre4knc and Halogenix’s sets in the venue’s main room.
Then came the heavy artillery as Thys stepped up to play a solo set in room two. Backed by a full entourage of Noisia members, VISION crew and all friends and family, his love for turning the area behind the decks into the same type of rave as the dancefloor was in full effect. Burning his way through the 130 breakbeat spectrum – from UKG to Baile funk – Thys set the energy beyond maximum. A spirit that continued as DJ Ride took to the wheels after him, instantly matching the energy with his award winning scratch routines and a wild display of junglistic and hip-hop fury.
But an even hotter fire was about to take place in the main room as Thys, Martijn and Nik followed Phace’s incendiary selection and took to the decks for one of last times. “We’ve only got an hour, there’s no time to be emotional…” shouts Thys on the mic before the band broke every single person in the room down into emotional wrecks.
The following hour became a blur of Noisia classics, brand new bangers from the Closer album, recent remixes from the Resonance volumes and many of the band’s favourite tracks from their friends. Each cut seemed to hit harder than the last with highlights including the monstrous moshpit during Tentacles, the several minutes of teasing before eventually dropping Posij’s remix of the cult Hustle Athletics body-popping behemoth Lekker and the 1.21 gigawatt jolt of euphoria that was the finale Supersonic.
Time seemed to pause at points as they stopped the music to celebrate friends and peers; Buunshin took a bow when Dancing In The Dark was dropped, IMANU was cheered at incredible volumes when his recent Noisia collaboration Shift came thundering through the club’s fine-tuned rig and even this writer/fellow VISION Radio host enjoyed a moment of craziness as Thys commanded the crowd to shout ‘No Dave’ as loudly as possible.
But the most beautiful moment of all was when Walter Flapper – the band’s fourth member, long-standing maverick manager and strategic powerhouse behind everything they’ve achieved over the years – was ordered to go to the front of the stage and dive into the crowd.
Arms instantly thrusting to the roof, everyone embraced him and safely gave him a tour of the whole room, once again highlighting a goosebumpingly special moment that captured the influence, energy and cult of this unique band. Not only did the packed out dancefloor know who this man was, but they appreciated him as much as the trio themselves. Can you even name any other bass music act’s manager, let alone lift them up off the ground?
This is testament not only to Noisia but the entire community of fans who’ve followed and supported them over the last two decades through their music, their radio shows, their curated events, their game soundtracks, their solo projects and everything else they’ve achieved. It doesn’t matter how big Noisia have become over the years – to the point that Skrillex purposefully flew into Holland earlier this year, specifically to create a special track for their new album (Horizon) – they’ve remained completely engaged and connected with the generations of bass heads who trust and support them.
As Walter made his way back to the stage, the band wrapped up and Black Sun Empire followed. Passionately introduced by Thys as one of the most influential acts in Noisia’s development, the fellow Dutch titans, and Icicle who took the honours of the final set, ensured the energy levels and celebratory flavour of the night would continue right up until sun-up, galvanising the legit historical, will-never-happen-again status of the rave.
The room two spirit was just as strong, too, as IMANU followed Posij and whipped up the same fizzy frenzy, causing a major 6am meltdown. Flanked by besties Buunshin and The Caracal Project, IMANU displayed a firing sense of energy, innovation and spirit that’s been passed down faithfully to the new generation and is so strong and inspiring that you could easily imagine someone naming a dog after in the future.
Like the dog named Noisia, we won’t know its breed, its gender, age or favourite toy. But we have no doubt it’ll be a very good boy or girl… Just like everyone in attendance on this momentous night. This wasn’t just a celebration of Noisia but a salute to everything they stand for, everyone who’s ever supported them and everyone they’ve inspired. The band may be splitting soon but their legacy will never die. Thank you Noisia.