Lazarus Rises As Heart Factory Closes

Posted on October 1, 2015

Images: Tamara Sini

As we arrive a naked woman is slowly having grey paint poured over head. Not live, but in gigantic high-definition on the screen which covers one 15 or 20-meter high wall of Heart. It’s a stunning image rendered more than slightly surreal by the packed dancefloor where members of the crowd are wearing more clothes than they’ve had on all summer. It’s almost cold outside and it’s definitely wet. Sensible people would stay at home. Warm and dry. But who needs sensible? This is Ibiza and the closings are in full swing.

Heart Factory with Damian Lazarus 03
Heart Factory with Damian Lazarus 04

Tonight it’s last call for one of the most talked-about parties of the summer, Heart Factory. A daring marriage of live music and DJing, it’s brought the likes of Nile Rogers’ Chic and George Clinton’s Funkadelic to the intimate space of the new Heart club created by Cirque du Soleil and the Spanish super-chef brothers Ferrán and Albert Adrià. We’re here for the last visit of the summer by Damian Lazarus and the Ancient Moons. The air is heavy with expectation from everybody who has heard about or witnessed either of the band’s last two appearances. Damian is in many ways the perfect performer for Heart which has rapidly made a name for itself through its adventurous booking policy. The DC10 veteran, Crosstown Rebels record label boss and all-round style leader has been bringing his brand of trippy psychedelic techno to discerning clubbers seemingly for ever. But the band is a new departure. It’s one that makes a lot of sense. Not only do they say that inside every DJ there’s a rock star trying to get out, but it taps into the feeling that people want more than just a guy in a booth. Nights spent worshipping one man and his laptop are sometimes beginning to feel a little past their sell-by date.

Heart Factory with Damian Lazarus 07
Heart Factory with Damian Lazarus 06

As the assorted musicians take to the stage it’s clear that Damian is a natural-born band leader. He’s a demonic bundle of shamanic power bouncing from one side of the stage to the other, dancing, hammering drums and jumping round a synth. The dancefloor’s so packed that it’s becoming hard to move, but it doesn’t matter, Damian’s expending enough energy for all of us. He’s definitely channeling his inner rock star. But, unlike the leader of a guitar-based band, he has a much broader electronic palette to play with. The pounding beat is overlaid with influences, rhythms and melodies from many times and many places. Most of the tracks come from his recently-released album “Message from the Other”, much of which was recorded in Mexico with musicians from Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria. Played live the feel is slightly less dreamy, more pounding and the music seems almost to float in the air. It helps that in Heart there are no obvious stacks of speakers to look to for the source of music.

Heart Factory with Damian Lazarus 10
Heart Factory with Damian Lazarus 12

Damian introduces one track as new, but for those of us who are probably too old to be out, it has a familiar ring. Ancient Moons vocalist Zulu sings: “Every time you call my name, I heat up like a burning flame.” It’s so soulful. The name of the song is on the tip of my brain. Eventually Google comes to the rescue. The tune’s “Abracadabra” from late 70s and early 80s lite rockers The Steve Miller Band. Shorn of its cheesy chorus and totally repurposed it’s been turned into a new dancefloor classic. The band follows it with the standout floorfiller from the album, “Vermillion”. Too soon they’re off. The set seems shorter than it was. But the night continues. One of the joys of Heart this summer has been the visuals. While in many other clubs it really is just about the music and everything else can feel like an afterthought, in this brand-new venue you can be immersed in sound and vision. Artists can take advantage of colossal wall-sized videos and tricks of technology. The dancers seem better, their costumes more spectacular, that any other venue. Even when the basic ideas are tried and tested, there’s always a twist. So, we’ve all seen balloons bouncing across the crowd, but not ones that are metres high and and burst scattering glitter over the dance floor. Others are transparent, filled with lights in bunches that float almost to the ceiling and back down again. Can’t wait to go back to see what they’re going to do. That next visit could be for Heart’s closing party on Sunday October 4 featuring Damian Lazarus, NU and Acid Pauli whose Acid Sundays won the DJ Awards kryptonite for best Ibiza night. No matter what we’ll be back at Heart next year.

Heart Factory with Damian Lazarus 14
Heart Factory with Damian Lazarus 13
Heart Factory with Damian Lazarus 15