One of the most influential labels in the industry, Protocol Recordings has built a reputation as a platform for only the most captivating releases. With label boss Nicky Romero at the helm, the label has continued to expand over the years, and has seen the release of some of the most iconic hits in dance music since it was founded in 2012. While the core sound that fans would associate with the brand is euphoric progressive house, the label has seen its fair share of other styles, and has continually shown diversity in it’s releases. Protocol Recordings hosted its annual label night at Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), which year by year sees some of the industry’s most illustrious talent light up The Melkweg. This year however, the event had even more significance, as Protocol celebrated its 5th anniversary, bringing House superstars such as Kryder, D.O.D., Florian Picasso and many more to perform.
As a venue, The Melkweg has an intimate feel, not taking long to fill, which makes the atmosphere reach an intense level almost immediately. Walking in, it is impossible not to be impressed by the breathtaking stage design that Protocol have put together, which enables artist performances to look their absolute best, set on such an impressive backdrop. Accompanying the awe-inspiring stage, the pyro and visuals also make a dramatic impact on the visual experience of attendees, creating an assault on the senses in the best possible way.
Packed from the onset, the event played host to an absolutely stacked lineup, with names such as Sam Void, Tom Tyger, Corey James, and Raiden bringing attendees in early. As midnight arrives, Hungarian duo Stadiumx are next to take to the stage, and are met with a huge crowd reaction, having been behind some of Protocol’s all time biggest releases. The duo light up the stage with their own unique brand of progressive house, provoking the crowd into singing along in chorus to some of their best-known releases. Next up, British House mastermind Tom Staar takes things in a more tribal direction, staying true to his own core style while creating a magnanimous crowd reaction, particularly with his upcoming release ‘Come Together’.
Florian Picasso, who has remained closely linked with Protocol throughout his career, was next on stage. The Vietnamese-French producer brought his own unique brand of exhilarating, hard-hitting House anthems to the stage, which saw a monumental response from the already adrenaline-fueled crowd. Next up, British superstar Kryder performed a set absolutely stacked with IDs. Having been linked with Protocol towards the start of his career, he was met with appreciative cheers from the crowd.
Finally it was time for label boss Nicky Romero to take to the stage, and the atmosphere in the crowd undoubtedly reached its peak as the anticipation built higher and higher. Filled with his own releases as well as some of his favourites, the Dutch megastar’s set exceeded even the highest expectations, fusing a number of sub-genres into one hour. One of the stand-out moments occurred when he dropped ‘I Could Be The One‘, his collaboration with Avicii, which resulted in the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs to the universally-loved classic. With tracks from the past, present, and future all squeezed into the set, Nicky Romero kept the audience on their toes, building the excitement with every twist and turn.
After Nicky Romero’s solo set, D.O.D. took to the stage, performing a captivating 30 minute showcase of his own work, which included some up and coming IDs. Towards the end, a spellbinding moment occurred when he dropped his recent anthem ‘Sixes‘, an unbelievable floor-shaker. To bring the night to a close, Nicky Romero returned to the stage, where he was joined by some special guests for his traditional ‘Nicky Romero & Friends’ performance. Each year, a number of secret guests join the Protocol boss on stage at his ADE showcase, and perform one-off B2B sets. This year, Dutch mastermind Fedde Le Grand was the first special guest, joining Nicky Romero for an unforgettable set, which featured a host of different releases spanning a number of labels, artists and genres. The final guest of the night, John Christian, joined Nicky Romero on stage, starting off explosively with the iconic ‘Next Level‘ edit which had the entire crowd jumping in unison. The night closed with an emotion-filled moment, as the pair played ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay, fused with the Wildstylez remix of ‘Earth Meets Water‘, an energetic end to a huge night of music.
Every single year Protocol Recordings exceed expectations, making their label showcases better and better every single time. With both the lineup and the visual experience getting bigger and better every year, there is no doubt that next year’s edition will be even more magnificent. The full event was livestreamed worldwide, and Protocol have just released an adrenaline fueled aftermovie, take a look below.