It’s always exciting to see where the Hardstyle scene out of the Netherlands is at, and Germany, being home to one the largest Hardstyle fan bases next to the Netherlands and Belgium, has a lot to offer. Musical Madness is spearheading the Hardstyle movement in Germany, organizing quality club events with residents and headliners throughout the entire year. We checked out their massive “Madness XXL” clubnight at Bootshaus in Cologne and were blown away by what we were allowed to witness!
The Boothaus is a venue located in Cologne-Deutz, located in a somewhat industrial area of the city. Black floors and walls and an unusual main floor setting (the DJ booth being in a corner, rather than a wall center) as well as the look and feel of the location are just perfect for Hardstyle, Rawstyle and Hardcore. We got told it’s one thing to sell out the Bootshaus, but another to sell it out again and again with something seemingly so underground in Germany as Hardstyle. The last edition had been quite the experience for us, but this one should top it.
We arrived in time for opening act Airtunes. And this is where the ‘Madness’ began: in a matter of just half an hour into Airtunes set, the venue was packed. And by packed we mean: you could actually see and feel that this was a sold-out event – and this was just the opening act – that was insane to witness. Needless to say that Airtunes took the chance to show the dedicated crowd what he’s got and the place was on fire within a few tracks. Next to own stuff and new tracks from talented colleagues, it was a melodic opening set that set the tone for the rest of the night in the best way possible. Meanwhile at the BLCKBX, the smaller room, D-Liciouz and Benjamin R delivered one of the most delicious early to classic Hardstyle sets we witnessed this year.
With Devin Wild the first headliner took the stage at the Main Floor. People danced, raged, it was intense and we just embraced the atmosphere. Devin Wild’s set was a great mixture of the current euphoric sound with an raw edge, that being emphasized by having taken colleague and friend RVAGE on stage for a track. The crowd had welcomed Devin Wild like a legend, but what happened during Code Black was next level. Having danced in the middle of the floor for just a bit we were almost “forced” to stay on the dancefloor as it was so packed and full of motivated party people. We were getting a bit thirsty here and checked out the bar. Walking around the venue without looking at the floor was a dangerous limbo though, as the different levels of the Bootshaus are separated by long, badly lit stairs that made us almost fall not just once. Prices for drinks were a bit more expensive than your everyday club or bar, but still lower than at most bigger festivals. We enjoyed our beer at RVAGE who was tearing the ‘Dreherei’ room apart so hard that apparently the bass decided to not function anymore. When it was back, the youngster showed zero mercy and had fun doing so – one can tell he might be a very big name in the future.
Meanwhile In the BLCKBX, Audiofreq was playing. We were not ready for this, we were ready for anything by now – but this was next level. Audiofreq’s usual sets are somewhat more mainstream friendly and tailored to a festival crowd, but seeing him perform in a club was “some real next level fucking insane shit”. Crazy-fast mixing, crossing genres and BPMs, insane energy on stage and coming from the speakers, the Aussie proved why he’s one of our personal favourites in the scene. Back at TNT aka Technoboy & Tuneboy were were swept away by a totally different sound: accessible “big room Hardstyle” with a lovable Italian touch. It was getting strangely packed by the end of their set, looking at the time table it wasn’t for nothing. And then they they were: Bioweapon. We’d never seen Bioweapon live in action, so this was huge personal moment as well. The mind-blowing crowd response, the fantastic stage presence and the flawless set made it one of the most epic sets of the night for us.
People told us Brennan Heart was a god to the german Hardstyle crowd, but we didn’t believe it until we saw it. Never in our lives had we seen a club crowd going mental like this! It was un-be-lieve-able! Singing, dancing, screaming, crying – everywhere! What WAS this? After a bit of his set we had to chill a bit at the BLCKBOX again and get a drink there as it was next to impossible to walk through the crowd and to the bar on the main floor without breaking a leg on the earlier mentioned stairs. Sounic was playing a very “upbuilding” set and every time we passed by the BLCKBOX, she had cranked up the tempo a bit more and the set was slowly fading from Hardstyle evergreens to Hardcore. Closing the Raw room, the ‘Dreherei’ was Regain – and german Rawheads were giving it all. ‘Kurwa’, what the hell. The polish guy’s stage presence is one of the best in the scene and it was fantastic to watch him play again in front of the crowd he deserves. Closing the main floor and Madness XXL was Amentis, who followed a similar set strategy as Sounic. And even half an hour before closing the floor wasn’t empty – Germans just fucking love their residents, and we wished it was like that in every country. The evening was over, the night was cold and we were tired. But we were also damn sure we’d be coming back soon!
The people of Musical Madness didn’t just call their latest bigger production Madness XXL just for fun. It was madness. It was intense. And even though the indoor season just started, we can safely say: This has been one of the best indoor parties of the late-2017/early-2018 indoor season already. What. The. Fuck.
Shots by Digitized Reality