Ruigoord Church, Amsterdam
Walking into the grand church in the centre of Ruigoord kind of feels like entering a dystopian future; perhaps by the fact you’re surrounded by huge rotating wind turbines and storage silos – or perhaps the pentagram, forming the main focal point of the stained glass window, that resides above the monumental entrance. Since the docks closed in the south of Amsterdam, and the ship yard workers were replaced by a community of artists and musicians, the community has provided refuge for more left-field events that wouldn’t fit into the, on-mass, polished reputation of Amsterdam central. This helps to breed concepts like Once In A Blue Moon, planting the seeds for more unique events and cultivating them so they bloom – rather than wither and die in the already saturated scene enclosed in the A10 motorway which surrounds the city.
Taking the stage first was Ostendorf, whose signature blending of tribal influenced half-tempo techno really kicked the evening off nicely as punters started to trickle in through the huge wooden doors. The interior gave a really interesting effect in the converted church, with huge chandeliers packed full of hanging plants and flashing LED lighting controlled by the lighting desk situated on the old balcony at the rear of the room. Visiting a knave is something many of us hold in distant memory, and although previously associated t with a musky smell, discordant organ playing and sermons that felt like they lasted half a day – the crowd tonight had arrived for a different fix.
Here for kick drums and not religion, as Holger Hecler took to the altar and addressed the loyal congregation, that was absolutely what they were about to receive. Beginning with euphoric melodies, airy synthesisers and gentle percussive undertones, Hecler soon dropped the highs completely and resorted to his danceable deep style of techno. Blended superbly, and following the crowd reaction, he took the assembly through moments of half-time progression before kicking back in with punching kick drums and interestingly syncopated time signatures. Although experimental with his mixing – Hecler’s music is as danceable as it is interesting – and this mix of quirky percussion and trance-like musicality fitted in perfectly in the surroundings of the Ruigoord church.
But it was RSS Disco that really raised the bar and took the venue to the next level. The German trio, who are one of the few acts that manage to pull off subtle matching attire without looking like a wedding cover band, really played to the vibe in the room. With pulsating Fusion festival style techno, but with more of a melodic groove, they locked in with the crowd – and even though their slot ended close to 6am – they kept the busy room energised and the buzz in the space alive. Featuring their own edits, blended together with retro-disco, early house anthems and psychedelic progression , the set felt personal to the selectors and the track selection definitely reflected the space they were performing in. Armed with numerous bottles of Club Mate to keep the fire burning through the early hours, the Hamburg contingent were met with rapturous applause as the sun began to stream through the high-set windows in Ruigoord church and the residents took to the stage.
It’s gems like Ruigoord that provide hope in the current times of venue closures and strict licensing laws. The mantra is to keep the interesting aspects of nightlife alive – and that’s exactly how the night was conducted – continuing on till 10am effortlessly with not a complaint from the staff, the community or the local authorities. The controversial setting, coupled with the thorough interior design and the strong music selection made for a great evening, and although a good 20 minutes outside the centre of Amsterdam – the turnout was outstanding. And you can understand why the devout following made the pilgrimage, and will do many times again, because after all – this kind of magic only ever happens Once In A Blue Moon.
The next event, hosting Satori’s album launch, can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/263128494113229/