With a huge DC-10 shaped hole present in Ibiza this year, 2009 seemed to be the year for Monza to consolidate its position among the Island's most established stripped down house and techno nights. However, at Monza's final party of the year, the night actually felt more in the shadow of Cocoon than ever before. The headlining trio of Ricardo Villalobos, Raresh and Luciano meant that expectation for Monza was as high as any other closing party on the Island. And showstopping performances from Ricardo and Luciano at Cocoon's closing then managed to heap yet even more anticipation on to the event. By Thursday, after some appearances from Luciano and Ricardo at debauched afterparties and low key venues, Monza's summer finale at Privilege was quite literally the talk of The White Isle.
From the word go, however, you got the feeling that Monza may have trouble living up to expectations. Despite officially opening at 8 PM, on arriving at the venue around 12 AM the management weren't yet ready to let people into the club. This in itself wasn't a problem, but huge projection screens surrounding the DJ box displaying mood-killing blue Sanyo screens didn't help.
The main crux of Privilege's marketing campaign focuses on the venue's sheer size and even when the club's only half open, like it was at Monza, the place is still cathedral-like in its spaciousness. The high ceilings and widely expansive dance floor of the venue's main room don't provide the best acoustics for sub-bass heavy club music and early on, before the club filled up with bodies to absorb the music, the sound seemed to be accompanied by an unsettling reverb.
As Luciano made his first appearance behind the decks, you could feel the excitement levels of the club immediately rise. Continental types enthusiastically screamed the Chilean's name as Monza's crowd got ready for the main event. The collective mood of the club was one that was prepared for—and expecting—Cocoon Closing Round 2. Unfortunately, that promise was never delivered.
With Luciano making his entrance to a whirring, jacking and typically Candenza sounding house track, the volume remained at an infuriating level. It wasn't quiet by anyone's standards, but the system just didn't kick enough to let people lose control. As the DJ's dropped tracks that only a few days earlier had gained rapturous reactions at Amnesia, you couldn't help make unfavourable comparisons to Cocoon's closing party as the crowd nonchalantly shuffled to the music.
A quick detour into Monza's second room further highlighted the problems of the main floor. The bass response, volume and sound definition in Privilege's Coco Loco room are all vastly superior to its main room. As such, with people actually allowed to enjoy the music at top levels, a real party could kick off. However, the fun was all too brief as many chose to meander back into the main room after only a short time to see if Ricardo and Luciano had picked things up.
The unexpected appearance of SIS, who deputised for an AWOL Raresh, proved to be the highlight of the night. Deftly blending loopy house and techno with obscurities such as the a cappella from Jay-Z's "Money Ain't a Thing," SIS injected some much needed energy and volume into the night. Nevertheless, it was 4 AM and the night was already halfway over. Ricardo and Luciano once again took to the decks post-SIS, but like before the main room never really sparked off as expected.
It must be stressed that Monza's closing party was in no way shape or form a bad night. The music was spot on and the club was busy; yet the night lacked the crazy carnival atmosphere that Ibiza's closing parties promise and—for €35 admission—many clubbers expect. Although it may be slightly unfair to judge Monza by the high standards Cocoon set a few days before it, the fact that both nights shared the same headliners makes that comparison inevitable. While Cocoon delivered a freakishly hedonistic and wildly out of control party, Monza unfortunately seemed contrastingly tame.