After years of waiting, 2 things were acomplished: I got my ass in an airplane and went from Portugal to Holand to see a Hardcore event... and the biggest Hardcore event in history happened! DOMINATOR! When I first saw the commercials in the internet, I tough... this one I just can't miss! On 29th July I arrived at Amsterdam (great city by the way!), and on the 30th July, early in the morning, I was on my way to enschede by train, where I met some gabbers listening to Speedcore quite loud. Of course they were going to Dominator, and they spend some time explaining me why Holand was not flat at all. ;)

I arrived at the train station of Enschede (I paid 35 euro for a 2 way ticket by the way.. ouch!), which is more than 150 km far away from Amsterdam... so over 2 hours later! Then I knew there would be buses to the rave location... 5 euro more for a 2 way ticket and I was on the bus to the event. 100% Hardcore inside that bus and people with all kinds of gabber t-shirts and accessories... I was at home! :) Perhaps it was my t-shirt, or the fact I don't look quite dutch... but people started to mess with me in a frendly way...

 

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 "Where did you get that? What wizard is that?..." and so I had to explain that wizard was a portuguese version of the mysterious hardcore wizard, with typical portuguese motifs... and the back was clearly spam to my website (eeheh). People actually liked it! I learned some quick lessons of how to dance Hakkuh in the bus also. Very important! :P Then I arrived at the Dominator Festival! As I left the bus I noticed the huge amount of Hardcore posters, people and a huge Hardcore sound coming from inside... Promo's remix of Mescalinum United's "We Have Arrived": How adequate... I was with a group of dutch gabbers, who friendly enough, wanted me to hang out with them.

Since I did not have a ticket, because Rige made a mess with the package, I was put in the guest list. After some initial confusion with this process, I was searched and allowed in with a orange bracelet. This was it, I was in Dominator!!!!

 

5th Raider at Dominator with Darkcore tent in the background (photo by eastcore.nl)

 

But I was in the backstage! I checked out pretty much the organization of the rave, and I saw the backstage of Thunderdome, Masters of Hardcore by far... I tough it would be impossible to get to the artists area and stage, so I left to the place! The first impression when I entered was confusion: so big, so much I wanted to see, so many Hardcore people, so many areas, so many posters and flyers laying around... Damn, too much elements at the same time! So I decided to check out each area first...  I found out my previous bus mates, and hang around with them, checking each area. First was with Masters of Hardcore! I had seen the preview photos, but this was too much! What a huge stage, and by the construction of it... promised heavy special effects. Great Masters of Hardcore baloon!

 

 

Me and my new gabber friend (Chris) at MOH area... the rave just started!

 

The Hardcore sound was already pounding, enough for a 10 minute Hakkuh try out... and to the next stage, Darkcore. The sound was terrible, and almost no one was in...altough the DJ was trying its best, it sounded like and old AM receiver played loud as fuck. I was very disapointed, since I wanted to be in this area a lot... Darkcore was a large, round orange and white tent, very dark inside... no special effects.

Then, the awaited moment... the area I just wanted to be in... THUNDERDOME! I had seen the previews, and by far from the MOH area, the hardcore wizard.... Just when I get there I noticed the stage was huge, made with mirrors, and speakers and a huge wizard flag (I would pay a lot to get that one!). Sound quality was like hearing a CD, and for as loud as it was, did not hurt: perfect! Tons of people were already dancing and hangin' around.

 

The crew of gabbers that welcomed me to Dominator! Look, Thunderdome area! :)

 

I had the impression the rave area was very very large, but I did not see many people... 7000 at most! I tough people must be on their way, or this rave will suck! I was with a little bit of fear, because I had invested so much to be here.... We decided to check out Houseqlassics, which was pumping PCP 06 B side: Reflections Of 2017. Awesome! It was funny because few people seemed actually to dance to it or enjoy it... while some few (me included) were completly out of their minds. I guess many people into the Hardcore scene nowadays prefer recent Hardcore or don't know the classics at all. Houseqlassics area was indoor, smaller, but nice, with a good sound system and freaky decoration in the stage. We moved into Mindcontroller which was also very good, and then B2S. We ended up in the line ot get tickets for the drinks... More than 11 euro for 5 tickets, ouch! 1 ticket = soft drink or beer, 2 tickets = vodka, etc, 3 tickets = mixed drink, hamburger, hot dog. So not exactly cheap!

 

How do I still got one of these? Now this must truly be a collector's item now! :)

 

We decided to go to the lockers and I left my stuff there. Well organized, and a locker would be precious to take the 3Kg of flyers I would collect at the various merchandise and publicity stands. I was not the only one to do so! ehehhe...

 

 

View from the lockers...

 

Meanwhile a flood of people invaded the place and the rave got full! I don't know, but about 20000 people, if not more! Brutal! I mean, there was enough space for all, but it was pretty crowded, which was good. The arenas were full, Thunderdome and MOH were rocking pretty hard with tons of people dancing, shouting, and some even doing some pogo in the front. Ok, but I had one of these orange bracelets, and after getting around for 1 hour or so... I decided to take a better look at the backstage! I left my group of mates and went into the "forbidden" area....

 

My ticket to the rave + backstage!

 

I wandered around the backstage area, which was huge, with tons of cables and trucks and many busy people. I was not finding the entrance the the Thunderdome stage, until I saw some little stairs. When up and magic! I was behind the Thunderdome stage, along with some DJs...

 

You can see the MOH arena in the left, Darkcore tent in front and this is the Thunderdome arena... viewed from backstage.

 

5th Raider at Thunderdome backstage with a nice view of the audience!

 

The first guy I knew was DJ D, which I did not recognise at first. Evil Activities was playing then. I got to meet him too, and also Art of Fighters! Art of Fighters are very amusing, and they can animate the party a lot! They are latinos like the portuguese... :P

 

5th Raider (already collecting flyers...eheheh) and DJ D

 

5th Raider and Evil Activities

 

5th Raider and Art of Fighters

 

Next was the Endymion crew! I could see the crowd going wild! :) Along with some other people, I decided to get out of the backstage and head for the arena to enjoy the party! I met Endymion after the set, Nosferatu and Drokz. All of them are good people, with a friendly attitute. I think many people did not recognize them, because we are all used to names, and not faces. Drokz is more "recognizable" and had many people asking for photos. I had seen him in the stage introducing the artists to the crowd as usual, but had no real chance to talk to him before... unless I talked on the mic too... which I would do gladly!

Good atmosphere, and all these artists seemed surprised to see a portuguese there... "Where do you come from?" - the regular question! I had to tell them few people are into Hardcore/Gabber here, so there are no parties, yet portuguese people into Hardcore like their music a lot. We chatted a little while listening to DJ Daisy's hard and dark set, and then decided to move in the drinks stand.

 

5th Raider and 33% of Endymion + little brother of another 33% of Endymion!

 

5th Raider and Nosferatu

 

This one is taken from Endymion.nl and features 5th Raider, Nosferatu, 33% percent of Endymion and his little brother and a friend of them.

 

5th Raider and Drokz

 

We hang around in the drink stand, which was, by the way, the exact stand at the exact time I had arranjed to meet with some people from Rige.nl foruns! I met quite a few, that recognized me because of the t-shirt! All nice people, with a party mood. It was nice to talk to them in person, and see so many people from different countries. I bumped into Stunned Guys, so I just had to take a picture with a great representative of the Italian scene...

 

5th Raider and 50% of the Stunned Guys

 

I hanged around talking to people, then I went for some dancing in MOH area to the sound of Angerfist (they drove the crowd wild!), and I could listen to the start of Ophidian's set. Then a quick stop at Darkcore (the sound was still lousy) and a bit of time at Houseqlassics, where I danced to the end of Human Resource's set. I then moved to Mindcontroller where I got to see Rotterdam Terror Corps – the chicks were already naked (lol), so it was in the final tunes! Horror and Schizofrenic live sounded very good... I also saw Weirdo play a while. I just had to see these artists, since they are markstones in the scene.

I returned to Darkcore to dance to Outside Agency, which had a nice choice of tracks, altough the sound was not yet completly good. I passed in MOH again to see a little bit of Outblast, and off I went to Thunderdome backstage just in time for Armageddon Project! I dunno why, but not many people were around during Armageddon Project. I think it was because Outblast was playing and he is very famous nowadays. We could actually see the crowd jumping in the MOH area (I had been there just a few moments ago and people were wild). But I guess the Darkcore lovers keep strong to the sound of this italian duo. During their set I had the chance to meet more artists, including DJ Daisy. I wanted to talk to her, since she studied in more or less the same area as me – I just finished Medicine and she took Biology, a postgraduate diploma of Psychopathology and she began a Ph.D in Neurogenetics. So I can say we shared common interests which are uncommon for the majority of hardcore artists and fans. It was pleasant talking to her, and I got to know she left the scientific work (hard to get jobs and real investigation potentials) and started DJing pro (she always loved Hardcore!). So a bit like me, altough as she well put it, I doubt I will have the time to practice Medicine and DJ simultaneosly (altough I will try to compose something once and a while). Ok, now apart from this personal chat, I also met the owner of Audiogenic: a very nice girl, which cool hair and a good attitude. Nice talking to her, and realizing the plans she had for the label (and sub-labels) and her dedication to the scene. Made me respect Audiogenic even more! I got to meet Akira, who is very into the Speedcore scene, and one could clearly see that by talking to him. It was nice to meet a person who is supporting underground Hardcore worldwide.

 

5th Raider and Akira

 

5th Raider and Digital Boy

 

Other artist I met was Digital Boy, who's been in the scene for ages, and promoted Hardcore in Italy for many years. Here is a photo with 2 italian gabbers, who had just finished their set at Thunderdome: Armageddon Project!

 

5th Raider and Armageddon Project

 

I could also meet Dave Rodgers (Delta 9), from which I am a fan for years! He was one of the first Speedcore producers I've heard and his Disco Inferno CD is now carefull guarded in my CD collection - a classic! We talked a little bit, and I was surprised to know that in the USA the scene is very small and parties usually have 100-1000 people and are ocasional. Besise being a cool and friendly guy, he has an interessing view on the scene, somewhat closer to what I have... I enjoyed talking to him! And I could not afford missing his set at the end of Dominator! It rained during Dominator at least 2 times. They gave away raincoats made of cheap plastic (but effective) at the stage, and it was fun throwing them at the audience. People went to indoor tents to find shelter from the rain, so sometimes Houseqlassics and Darkcore were really crowded! But the rain did not last long and did not spoil the rave.

 

5th Raider and Delta 9

 

I got to meet Tieum, which had a nice t-shirt, but I did not have the chance to talk much to him. The lady with the blue hair is the owner of Audiogenic, of who I had stated before. That orange plastic is the rain coat! :P

 

5th Raider, the owner of Audiogenic and Tieum

 

I then notice a thin guy with a familiar face from my VHS tapes and DVDs. Neophyte! I didn't talk to him much, altough he was very cool. He seemed like a shy guy, but yet everybody knew him. :) I must mention everybody there got along, and most seem to know each others for years! There was a good mood among all the artists and it was a privilege to be there. I also met Marije, a nice girl, from whom I did not get a picture, unfourtunatly. She was very cool to me and I hang around with her for some time.

 

View from Thunderdome Backstage

 

5th Raider and Danny Greten from Neophyte

 

I left the Thunderdome backstage while Placik K was playing and went out to see a bit of all areas, including Headbanger at MOH, and Lenny Dee at Darkcore, which already had a better sound. Marije knew DJ Noisekick, which I also knew from the internet for some years ago, so I went out to talk to him. He was quite nice, altough at first he did not seem to know who I was, so I had to explain... :)

 

Noisekick and 5th Raider

 

One thing that was quite noticeable was the way dutch girls looked and dressed at the rave... most are blonde with light colored eyes, and cute... and while many wear clothes with gabber logos, others wear sexy outfits with very short skirts and almost just a bra. Awesome! Hurray for liberal Holland! :)
There were some people with army boots, army trousers and Lonsdale t-shirts... or quite nationalist wear... I actually saw people fighting, so I suppose many of these could be the so-called zwabbers. Anyway, I also met people who dressed like this, and were cool. So, it's a matter of attitude and not clothing. I saw some pogo/mosh action, specially at Darkcore and Masters of Hardcore, but it was fewer than to be expected with such a hard style of music. People were usually civilized and very peace-loving. And it was good to see so many girls loving Hardcore, specially because they were wearing such nice clothes and looking good. :P Altough the organization did not allow drugs in, some people used them (specially ecstasy or marijuana), but fewer than I expected – beer was more in the order of the day! But even the people on drugs were friendly (xtc is know as the "hug drug" too!). And yes, dutch people are really liberal, I actually saw a guy masturbate a girl at the darkcore tent - hand inside panties style! Nope, I did not take a photo for the site, altough I was tempted... ehehe! As for the t-shirts gabbers were wearing at Dominator, you would be surprised with the variety of them, from old beautifull Thunderdome longsleeves, recent MOH t-shirts, all sorts of caps, bracelets, and so on...


I was able to find my initial gang, fortunatly, because I had my stuff in their locker (stupid ideia!). I rented one more locker (10 euro! ouch! but 5 euro would be returned after the key is delivered)... and I went shopping! I took more flyers and I bought myself a Dominator T-shirt. I was lucky to find a L size, because they were all getting sold quickly (I bet it will be a hard to find t-shirt in the future). Also bought some VHS tapes and some other stuff. It was a pitty that the Thunderdome XII longsleeve was in XL, it was awesome, but did not fit me. There were other t-shirts and tons of merchandise, but I guess most of it can be bought online in Rige.nl. Still for a person who seldom sees a Hardcore CD in a shop, it was crazy to see 2 tents filled with tons of merchandise. I discovered DJ Distortion in the merchandise stand and we talked about the problem with the ticket for Dominator and so on. One more photo, of course...

 

5th Raider and Distortion at Rige merchandise stand.

 

I packed all stuff in the locker and went out to party again. I went to B2S MOH a bit and later to Dominator to listen to Jappo. I met that friend of mine again and Streunding from Neophyte in Dominator arena. So we danced around to The Producer, and I must say what an amazing set it was. Deathchant stuff at its best. The man is a master at the wheels of steel.

 

Darkcore stage!

 

Masters of Hardcore area

 

I also saw a bit of Destroyer's set, and then I went to see Neophyte at Masters of Hardcore... I got into the backstage of MOH with DJ Neophyte. Very nice! I saw tons of artists and I talked to a few. Day-Mar, which I had encountered early that day in the audience was funny and nice. Outblast was very friendly and open, I must say he looks like he just loves what he does. We spoke about the scene and why would it be hard to have an event in Portugal - few people would attend it. Yet, he would love to play here if it was possible.

 

5th Raider and Day-Mar

 

5th Raider, Outblast and Korsakoff

 

I saw also Bass-D and the rest of the Neophyte crew but I did not take photos (they were quite busy at the time). Neophyte live rocked the audience! A great intro with pieces of all their best tracks and then the usual Neophyte live show with tons of crazy stuff. The audience shouted as loud as they could and there was tons of jumping and dancing around. People went nuts! I left at the end of Neophyte to see Darkcore area again: Akira and Drokz playing bad ass Speedcore (sometimes to 600 bpm!). Awesome sound, brutal indeed... hardest stuff I've heard live. I made a quick jump to see Delta 9 live at Thunderdome, which was awesome. I met a gabber I know from the internet – we exchange flyers –, which was very cool... small world. Again, a recognition by t-shirt! Eheheh.... We hakkeh along with tons of other people to "Welcome to Hell", which was without a doubt a highlight of Dominator! Delta 9 ended the Thunderdome area with a blast! I must say that around 21h30-22h00 the sunset started, and it was awesome for both MOH and Thunderdome arenas to see the sunset with special effects – completly unique! At night, the Thunderdome area showed it's best with lasers, fire, strobes and a wizard with a glowing blue light that seemed magical. Awesome decoration. Masters of Hardcore showed us impressive firework, lasers and lights, always with the creepy ballon standing. The photos could be best, but the crowd was moving a lot, believe me! :) But you can see other pictures in other sites, like thunderdome.com.

 

M.O.H. area at sunset

 

Thunderdome area at night

 

Thunderdome: the Wizard glowed a mysterious blue...

 

After Thunderdome finished, I went to MOH to see DJ Paul playing. I could still catch 10 minutes of the set, and hakkeh and shout along with all gabbers to "Army of Hardcore". Masters of Hardcore ended and Darkcore was still pumping Speedcore/Terror. This area was next! Akira and Drokz playing harsh Speedcore at incredible speeds...a perfect ending for Dominator! After a few minutes, Darkcore closed... Mindcontroller closed too, I just saw a bit of the final of Scott Brown... :( But Houseqlassics was on and I could still dance to Flamman & Abraxas. Then it also closed... B2S was on and there I ended the night to DJ Panic. After all closed, tons and tons of people were going for the exit in a quiet way. More distribution of flyers, I got some extra by Akira too... Picked up the huge amount of stuff in my locker, got my 5 euro back and head for the exit. What an amazing event! I could not believe it was over, I personally would stay there 12 more hours! There was a bit of confusion with the bus, but all went out ok. People in the bus were still in the party mood, and all go a long well. I got to know about an afterparty with J.D.A. nearby, but I had to catch the last train to Amsterdam. And so I did it, just in time. I went with an Italian gabber, who was also thrilled with the rave. When I got to my hotel in Amsterdam and went to sleep I could not help thinking: undoubtly this was one of the best days I've lived. Worth every penny, this is a great experience, which I shall not forget for a lifetime! Maybe next year I'll be there again, there were rumours Dominator will return...

 

5th Raider at Houseqlassics!