It was even more glorious than we'd anticipated.
After months of hype and a week of sleepless nights — seriously, we reverted to being eight years old on Christmas Eve, having already spotted a receipt for an N64 in our mum's bedroom a few days before — the THUMP boat party finally rolled out into the Adriatic Sea and it was even more glorious than we'd anticipated it would be.
An early flight, and a genuine sprint through security at Gatwick to make sure we actually boarded said flight, saw us arrive at Hideout ever so slightly bleary eyed. Any tiredness evaporated after a few cold beers under the scorching sun and we passed an incredibly pleasant few hours doing the kind of people watching that perpetually nosey people like us love so dearly. Seriously, if you can think of a better way to spend an afternoon than drinking tinnies and while a poolside DJ drops "Music Sounds Better With You" by Stardust then literally please let us know right now. Like, right now.
Suitably refreshed, we ambled down to the shore and up the gangway onto what was effectively HMS Hideout. It was rammed to the gills with hordes of people defiantly, definitely, well and truly up for a good time. And that's what we gave them.
Our tried and trusted THUMP DJs got things off to a raucous start, whipping through a stack of jump-up, rough and ready house numbers that got the place kicking. There were beach balls and bikinis everywhere. Vodka and Red Bull flowed prodigiously. The late evening sun shone down over the gently undulating sea and for a moment, just a moment, it felt like paradise.
Still, we aren't the type to blow our own trumpets so enough about how good we were. Handing over the decks to a genuine Chicago legend isn't something you get to do every day, so letting Chez fucking Damier take the reins was one of those moments, one of those things you know you'll find yourself bringing up at every party you go to for the next...forever. "Yeah, played with Chez Damier on a boat once..."
Luckily Chez didn't disappoint. His impeccable set was a masterclass in minimalism and restraint. He's a DJ whose technical mastery of the mixer is apparent from the second he hits play but there's no element of showing off, no desire to make his slot about him rather than the music. Jacking house seamlessly wove in and out of beefed up disco cuts and the kind of hypnotically heaving edits he's known for. This was proper dancefloor dynamite, each subtler than subtle manipulation of the EQs sending the crowd into raptures of ecstasy, each massive kick sounding huger than the last, each wash of Salsoul strings coaxing us into previously unknown states it pleasure. He was quite good, yes, thanks for asking.
As the sun sunk behind the vast mountains of the island of Pag, everyone's favourite bloggers turned superstars, Bicep, commandeered the CDJs. Having played three sets at Glastonbury this weekend past, they'd be forgiven for turning in a by the numbers set, but to their infinite credit, they absolutely fucking smashed it.
They've long since thrown the 90s house revivalists tag in the bin so anyone aboard expecting Masters at Work tunes after Masters at Work tunes might have been a little disappointed. That's not to say that they avoided chunky, thick, ludicrously chord-y house entirely, but they played with panache. Taking cues from Chez, they peppered their hour with delightful disco and beatific boogie. They even dropped an out of this world edit of "He's the Greatest Dancer" by Sister Sledge that killed it.
Darkness enveloped us and as the night wound down, the boys from Belfast treated us to a double whammy of TC Crew's seminal end of the night tearjerker "I Can't Do It Alone" and their own "Just". Which, you'll remember, is THUMP's track of the year so far. So that was nice.
The boat slunk back into the harbour and we trundled off, elated, into the night.