Dance or die? Some kind of robot with killer lasers? Well, if you happened to be in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands round late April 1996, that’s what was promised.

There’s so much to love in this VHS vintage gem. There’s the retro Wolfenstein-styled 3D opening with the dramatic threatening voice over. Or the extensive footage of the build-up of the venue … and drug pat-downs. And then, there’s nothing quite like the 90s sound – mad, mental, absurdly fast, totally dry synths and drum machines. It’s a cartoon-ish silliness that’s a far cry from even the self-seriousness of EDM, let alone the somber, mechanical dirge Eventide-drenched cave techno that’s often in fashion. If that’s a Bach Toccata & Fugue on a pipe organ, this is Spike Jones.

But of course, Dutch people shouting is always the best part of all. (Yes, my friends in the Netherlands, I know you can still get just this crazy.)

I’m sure this has been passed around before. On the other hand, it’s a nice antidote to the potential conformity of today’s parties – and today’s might seem just as odd to someone looking back from 2027. Plus, some fashion tips.

  • Peter Principle

    “it’s a nice antidote to the potential conformity of today’s parties ”

    The music, dancing, and fashion might be different than to today’s standards, but most in the crowd look and move very similar to each other and even the dj from nyc sounded similar enough to the others

    • Only watched bits of it, here and there, but my impression is similar to yours. Was never part of that scene but did participate in a few events which had a similar “vibe”, at the time. Never struck me as anticonfirmist. Certainly doesn’t feel like an event welcoming diversity in attitudes towards music.

      • Peter Principle

        every scene has its conformity. most of the music was dire. happy hardcore has no place in nostalgia, lol

  • baju-baju

    Whaaaaatttt???? No phones???? How did they ever know they went to a rave without streaming it live and taking selfies????

    This is obviously a well organised event, I remember the abandoned dock sheds and black plastic foil as decor, entry money in a box…

  • Dubby Labby

    https://www.vice.com/es/article/53g88x/ruta-bakalao-movida-valenciana-cultura-club
    1993 “La Ruta del Bakalao” (later it gone hardcore with the “Ruta Destroy”
    https://youtu.be/qNJ5HgYHOn8

  • This is the ‘gabber scene’. The big hardcore parties like Thunderdome and Masters of Hardcore were great. People looked like total idiots but they all were there to have a good time. Everyone was friendly and fights were a rarity (might have been the good xtc ;)).

People from all over the world came to The Netherlands to visit these parties. I still meet people who start talking about those raves as soon as they hear I’m from The Netherlands.

    In October of this year there will be a 25 year reunion party: https://www.facebook.com/events/1834506216817843/

  • Michael Mueller

    Haha, seriously? Thunderdome was one of the most aggresively commercialized, formalized, and yes, conformable spin-offs of 90s mainstream rave culture. Their compilation CDs were traded on every school yard in the country, and those crazy looks were nothing but a uniform.

    • Michael Mueller

      By country, I mean Germany. It was probably even crazier in the Netherlands.

  • Max

    No girls, just guys with a head full of cheap chemicals.
    It was the techno equivalent of heavy metal …

  • Christian Naumann

    White people couldn’t even dance back then either.

  • Chryst

    I used to play at parties like these. The atmosphere was actually really friendly and warm. Great memories.