MAGAZINE

The Giant, Fire-Spitting Spider DJ Booth Known As Arcadia Spectacular Will Be at Ultra 2016

Article by: Patrick Swift
Published: Thu March 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Arcadia - Central Bristol 2015 - Official Film

First it was BoomTown Fair, Glastonbury, and an appearance in Bristol's city center. It seemed like the UK was having all the fun – until it was announced that Arcadia Spectacular is coming to Ultra for its North American debut in 2016 as part of Ultra's rampantly successful Resistance stage.

What is Arcadia Spectacular? A giant, metal, alien-esque spider that has become a staple feature in recent times at the aforementioned  BoomTown Fair and more recently at Glastonbury  and Bristol's city centre in the UK (where it staged for the first-ever event of this kind). Looming large with blood red eyes in Bristol's Queen Square, the mechanical construction, which is made from 50 tons of recycled military hardware, shot vibrant lasers in every direction and looked like it has just landed from outer space. 

In a city that has a unique vibe and close ties with dubstep, drum ‘n’ bass and nowadays house, bass and techno, it’s the perfect place for Arcadia – it was actually built in Bristol too. The heaving crowd was fun loving and highly appreciative of the bumping beats coming out of the four hefty speaker rigs situated in each corner of the tree-lined square.

Arcadia Spectacular 2015 1

Photo by: Shotaway

Even though it was early September, it was still warm (for the UK) giving the whole festival an undeniable summer festival vibe. The Red Stripe and cider was flowing, and the bar queuing system was second to none, with security directing punters to vendors with military precision which definitely helps when you’re in need of some hydration.

Arcadia Spectacular 2015 1

Photo by: Ben Daure

Monki played, and was joined by fellow BBC Radio 1 broadcaster Annie Mac, Bristol’s very own Eats Everything, and Defected Records duo GotSome, who caused quite a stir with their track "Bassline" last year which was absolutely everywhere. It’s a solid line-up for sure, with each artist well equipped to deliver high tempo fodder that packs plenty of bass – which is very important 'round these parts. When Monki dropped the classic "Superstylin’" by Groove Armada, everyone lost their minds. Yesterday was a real treat too (although Fest300 weren’t in attendance), thanks to local legend Roni Size with his live band, alongside Leftfield and Congo Natty. DJ Derek was also billed, but unfortunately he still hasn’t been found after going missing over two months ago. Hopefully, DJ Derek will be found safe and well very soon.

Arcadia Spectacular 2015 1

Photo by: Charlie Barnyard

Of course, the music is key here, but the main event of the night at was the brand-new Arcadia Spectacular Metamorphosis show. When it took place, it was the only time of the whole night when the bar was quiet. The acrobats gyrating on and around the structure fixated everyone; you simply couldn’t take your eyes off this...thing. Transparent plastic orbs (the same ones which are used for zorbing) dotted the spider's body, with red, green and blue pulsing lights glowing from within. Suspended high up in the air, mechanical spider/ant hybrid inventions are eerily creeping towards the centre of the structure. And at what seemed like every few seconds, flames shot out of the top of the spider high into the sky, with Arcadia implementing biofuel – making it the world’s first recycled biofuel pyrotechnics system.

Arcadia Spectacular 2015 1

Photo by: Luke Taylor

Before long, on platforms at various points in the crowd, figures appeared draped in what looked like chainmail. They were armed with metal poles, which they electrified in time to the music, the voltage surging through wildly. It was sensory overload but in the best way possible, and it gets the crowd suitably hyped, which comes as no surprise. All of this activity was accompanied by a soundtrack of huge dubstep which sounds like it could have been made by Nero, and jump up drum ‘n’ bass resembling early Sub Focus. This spectacular show was then rounded off with an impressive firework display, and raucous applause from everyone in attendance.

Arcadia Spectacular 2015 1

Photo by: Luke Taylor

The rest of the night was then left in the capable hands of Eats Everything and Annie Mac. It was probably Eats who delivered the tune of the night in the form of the superb "Battle For Middle You," a sort of anthem for Bristol, complementing perfectly the packed city centre of Bristolians and people from further afield too via a huge, Bristol-built metal spider. That night, there probably couldn’t have been more of an appropriate selection for the time, place, and setting. Now, all you have to do is hope the Arcadia Spectacular Metamorphosis show comes to a city near you – or head to Ultra 2016.