THE CASTLE KOH TAO - KEEP CALM AND PARTY!
It's 5 days after Full Moon and we're on our way across to the next island Koh Tao - for another magical night at The Castle. I'm on the ferry with Jungle Experience resident DJ, party organiser and fire/dance performers, and there's another crew of us Phanganistas on the next ferry over - 13 of us in total - lucky for some! Holiday to Koh Tao!
Genial hosts/owners Aaron & Kat are there to greet us. This switched-on couple are soon taking us to a Hacienda style hotel opposite where we take in the entrance to The Castle: there are frangipani trees and a giant turtle statue by the doorway to their 3-tier club, and above the ivy-covered DJ booth looks out, over the open-air dancefloor, to the palm valley below.
Kat of the Castle is excited about the line-up for tonight's Full Moon After Party - their old friend Marco Loco is back from Ibiza, and along with Jungle Experience's Darragh Casey and J'adele (Ministry of Sound, Pacha, Egg) it is a night starred to soon become one of Kat's 'best parties ever'!
Aaron tells the story of how he met Marco back in 2007/8 - on Koh Phangan at a Full Moon party - when Marco convinced a DJ to let him play just 5 tracks. And that is all it would take: Marco soon had a gig fixed up in Samui, and with rave reviews coming from the Samui bar owner, Aaron brought him over to Koh Tao... and Marco smashed it!
Aaron holds his cupped hands up as he describes how this rough, unpolished gemstone had fallen into his hands - and he didn't even realise it. 6yrs on, a Space Ibiza World Tour under Marco Loco's belt, it is The Castle Koh Tao who are the lucky ones…
That night we enter the club's inner archway to straight away feel we are crossing a drawbridge - the leafy arches above our heads, the wall fashioned like a portcullis, the silver sentries with pikes and gold helmets heralding our entry into The Castle. This is a vision of a fantasy castle: there are stone gargoyles at the winding staircases, exotic Asian artwork on the walls, and trees growing up through the chill out areas to the dance floors above.
Down at ground level the Ruby Room's curved lines leads us in to a cavernous grotto of DJ booth and basement bar, with mosaic tiled floor and fire devil wall art, where everyone is heading for their first free shot. Danny Nation is playing deep melodic house to a bouncing crowd as we take in the Castle motto on the t-shirts pinned behind the bar : KEEP CALM AND PARTY !
I wind my way up the spiral staircase, eyes wide at the florescent alcove in the wall - big and deep enough to seat the three guys who are lounging on the cushions inside it! Feeling like Alice I climb the stone stairway to find giant ants and red eyed dinosaurs greeting our way out into this party wonderland under the stars. The moon shoots through the palms onto the dancefloor and the thought hits us: very jungle like, isn't it…
J'adele is on the decks, shining her smile out at the Koh Phangan faces catching her eye. She's warming up the main floor for Marco and as he takes over they give other each a big hug - they played together in Ibiza this summer.
And then Marco starts the night off how he means to go on - with some banging tech house! Jungle performer Natasha is following suit, shaking her touche in green fringed skirt in front of the Jungle's visiting banner, surrounded by a Koh Phangan entourage on the dance floor - like tarzan girl! - says a delighted Kat.
By now Marco has the whole place jumping up and down, and soon our own maestro Darragh comes to join in the fun, going back-to-back with Marco - the two of them as energetic as the crowd going wild before them.
Darragh takes over the main stage and Marco is heading back downstairs - where tonight these two legends-in-the-making will continue the party on till the morning light in the cavernous underbelly of the Ruby Room. Into the night the place is packed with a crowd full of high spirits as both Darragh and Marco bring out tune after tune after tune.
As Marco brings out some unreleased tracks he's produced I hear Kat's voice behind me: Listen to this! Hijack! The fun-loving uniqueness of his sound, the originality of the strummed chords turned into tech house, we are led on a journey - where are we going now? The crowd comes to a halt , then instantly goes crazy again as those twisted air-guitar chords of an imagined 80's rock god come back in!
I'm no DJing expert, what I am is an ear in the crowd who can hear and feel how the music moves you - I understand good music when I hear it.
And Aaron will say the same thing: even if you don't know this music, even if you've never heard tech house, if you are at The Castle listening to Marco Loco you're going to get it, you're going to love the music, and you're going to have a good time! No more than the man himself!
A magical night out at the Castle Koh Tao.
This vibrant Underground Scene which we find ourselves immersed in is not only limited to Koh Phangan - there is a wealth of parties happening on the Thai islands... and The Castle Koh Tao has just become one of our Phanganista favourites.
Huge thanks to Aaron and Kat and all The Castle crew for their generous hospitality and fantastical visions! See you again soon at the Castle Koh Tao!
Previous blogs by Mia Escobud
|French Kiss at the Secret Garden|
|Loi Lay A Musical Journey|
|Jungle Experience with Marco Loco|
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