Homelands, Mosney Holiday Centre, 29th April, 2000
Mud and Mitsubishis. No matter where you were at Homelands Y2K, Version Spring, it was impossible to escape them. The mud rose to ankle height and splashed even higher, sapping energy from the teeming sweat-encrusted mob, most of who seemed to have a Mitsubishi logo on at least one item of clothing. Ecstasy use may be falling among clubbers, but it's still around.
First up for Sorted was Paul Oakenfold, the world's first million pound per year DJ. After this performance you're left wondering why. A set that lacked soul, it smacked of somebody who didn't give a shit and was just waiting for the pay cheque. His nauseating attempt to please the crowd by mixing a techno version of a U2 song led to a quick exit. We weren't alone and within 15 minutes half the tent had emptied. The other major disappointment was David Holmes who, it was promised would play a techno set, but immediately launched into his funk-inspired long players that almost caused a stampede to leave.
Performance of the day was from Death in Vegas's Richard Fearless, who was imperious. He surrendered to the crowd's impulses and was probably the most passionate performer of the evening. One of the main attractions of homelands had to be Richie Hawtin's appearance. No trace of his Plastikman alter-ego was to be found in the full-on techno set he played to awe-inspiring affect. The concrete floor was reverberating in time to his tunes and though some accused him of lacking soul, I wasn't complaining.
Other highlights included Paul Hartnoll, Disconauts and Mr Spring. Primal Scream started well, but descended into farce while the less said about Ian Brown the better. Leftfield announced themselves with huge bass-lines that sent the VIPs near the speakers reeling as their ear-drums threatened to explode. However, they rapidly ran out of ideas and within 30 minutes we departed for the train. No amount of jumping around will compensate for haring similar sounds over and over again, with little variation in between. They are going to have to bring more of the warm sounds that dominated their first album into play if they are to succeed as a live act.
The fact the homegrown tent was half-empty for the whole day says much about Irish clubbers' attitudes. We still prefer big names, preferably foreign. The organisers should try putting Holmer and Johnny Moy in areas like this in order to attract people to them and introduce them to Irish talent. The decision to give over one whole arena to drum n' bass was questionable. The End lacked any atmosphere and the large gaps in the dance floor would have fitted several Roseanne Barr's. Irish people just do not get d n' b in the same way our neighbours do and it seems wasteful to devote resources to something catering for a small minority of people. Still, Razor did his best to lift the mood, but the MCs were too repetitive. Whether they are even necessary is a question worth asking. Homelands is an experience and will prove to be one of the highlights of the year. More commitment on behalf of some of the acts would be appreciated, but if you're willing to look around you won't be disappointed.