Not even hail and heavy rain could dampen the Japanese festival's jubilant tenth anniversary.
There's a reverence reserved globally for certain Japanese electronic music festivals that has seemed to elude Rainbow Disco Club. Everything from its name—cutesy rather than mysterious—to its current location in Izu, a picturesque, typically temperate peninsula conveniently accessible from Tokyo, contributes to an atmosphere of inclusivity and friendliness, which doesn't necessarily foster impassioned evangelism. But it should.
It's remarkably easy to enjoy Rainbow Disco Club. The kids running around behind the main stage, clambering up the climbing frame and hiding out in the festival's treehouse, attest to this. So do the dogs wandering around the dance floor, their owners dancing as they follow, leash in hand. Having had the pleasure of attending the festival for many years at various sites, I can't think of another that's been so consistently enjoyable and welcoming to so many different types of partygoer. This year, Rainbow Disco Club's tenth anniversary, was another special edition—not even rain and unseasonably chilly weather could spoil the occasion.
Here are five key performances from across the weekend.
Rainbow Disco Club is famous for its mild spring sunshine, so the first day of this year's edition was a shock to the system. Temperatures dropped so low that hailstones pelted down in the afternoon. But even this created a lovely moment, as a stunning rainbow shone over the site. This provided the perfect cue for DJ Harvey, who strode onto the main stage and delivered four and a half hours of infectiously positive tunes that, despite the challenging conditions, got the crowd dancing. Leading with a string of disco anthems, including Joey Negro's remix of "Candidate For Love" by Negro and Horse Meat Disco, he soon segued into clubbier tracks such as Artwork's "Acid Lines" and Jex Opolis's new one on Dekmantel. To finish, he dished out another triumphant round of festival favourites.
Early in the evening on Saturday, Tijana T played at Rainbow Disco Club's indoor stage, a school sports hall that, thankfully, has gradually been made to look less and less like a sports hall with every passing year. The Belgrade-based DJ attracted a sizeable crowd, and it was clear that people were eager to see if she would live up to her considerable reputation. She didn't disappoint, turning in a powerful techno set that spanned new cuts from the Dutch label Who's Susan and bruising tracks, both new and old, from the likes of Physical Therapy and Model 500.
Sandwiched in between Tijana T and Leon Vynehall, who both dolled out heavy and unforgiving techno sets, DJ Sodeyama was given the tough task of keeping energy levels simmering, which he assuredly managed. The Tokyo-based DJ, who's also known for making music under the name The People In Fog and as the driving force behind the label Arpa, kept the crowd moving with mutant techno and bubbling acid lines. His set, underpinned by a consistent stylistic core, explored disparate ends of the techno spectrum. It was a mature and robust performance.
The Rainbow Disco Club resident Sisi has typically opened the festival in previous years, so to see him graduate in 2019 to the second-to-last slot shows how highly he's rated by the organisers. As a veteran of Japan's club scene, it's unlikely that this responsibility would have phased him. Sure enough, he thrived at peak-time, moving from African funk and disco by M'Bamina and Ondeno to more well-known hits by the likes of Alexander Robotnick. It was an eclectic set that demonstrated both Sisi's depth of musical knowledge and his ability to get a dance floor rocking.
Antal b2b Hunee
At this point, Rush Hour's final-day takeover of Rainbow Disco Club is enshrined in tradition. Among the acts this year were label cofounder Antal and Hunee, who went back-to-back in a repeat of their closing sets in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Once again, they went big and joyous with a set full of anthems, drawing from Rush Hour's back catalogue as well as newer favourites like "Only Human" by KH (AKA Four Tet). It was a fitting end to the tenth anniversary, unapologetically exuberant and nothing but fun for every man, woman, child and pet still left on the dance floor.
We've compiled a YouTube playlist with some of our favourite tracks from Rainbow Disco Club 2019. Check them out here.
Resident Advisor co-hosted the main stage on the second day of Rainbow Disco Club 2019.Photo credit /
Masanori Naruse - Top
Suguru Saito / Red Bull Content Pool - DJ Soteyama, Tijana T
Alexis Wuillaume - All others