Looking back, it seems like a different world, but in the late ’90s, when EDC and the like were still just glints in Pasquale Rotella’s eye, a whole host of club nights across the UK attracted the biggest names in dance music on a weekly basis. But while most are sadly departed, one brand still remains stronger than ever.
Liverpool-based Cream has become unstoppable of late, hitting a sweet spot in the British club scene, perfectly capturing the current renaissance in dance music. Their May 4 bank holiday event came just two months after their previous outing, but from the reaction of the crowd, you’d think the sold-out show was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
The queue at Nation stretched around the block as several thousand people waited to enter the venue, a nondescript warehouse nestled in the centre of Liverpool. Yet if the walls could talk, they’d tell of sets from hundreds of the world’s greatest DJs spanned across more than two decades. Now, the current heavyweights of dance music are ready to add their own chapter to Cream’s archives.
Spread across three distinct spaces, the main room was very much a Dutch/Belgian affair, with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike headlining, backed by Dyro, Blasterjaxx and Wolfpack.
As the club reached capacity, nicely warmed up by Cream residents Rob Harnetty, Anthony Probyn, and Gareth Wyn–who make the club stand out in their own right across the three rooms–the big names started to add to the building’s history. Blasterjaxx was a highlight of the event, with some clever remixes that appealed to everyone’s taste. Builds from uber-mainstream tracks such as Avicii’s Hey Brother dropped into dirty electro house remixes, the skilful mashing of genres mixed with some astounding energy behind the decks.
Next up was Dyro, who dropped some massive big room tracks, notably his recent release Sounds Like and the Dimitri Vangelis & Angello track Payback, the latter getting plays from a few DJs across the night. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike headlined the room, mixing hits such as Ocarina with some deep and tech, an unusual move which proved a hit with fans, and made for another legendary set, now etched in the annals of Cream’s history.
Once again, the Courtyard was filled to capacity, with R3hab and MAKJ building up to Australian duo Nervo, their music almost eclipsed by their electric stage presence. Meanwhile, over in the Annexe, it was trance as it should be, with Cosmic Gate, Simon Patterson, and Ilan Bluestone. Together, they almost created their own little club, as a dedicated fanbase mixed and danced with the newcomers to the genre, a great example of the inclusive nature of trance.
Cream has been raising the bar for a while now, to the point at which their lineups are flawless and their nights are almost guaranteed to be at capacity. With a whole summer of Ibiza events and the UK’s biggest dance music festival still to come, the brand represents the current state of dance music, a shining example of how you can cater for the times while still holding true to your core values.
Photos by Anthony Mooney