An homage to the legendary 1970 Festival Express tour that sent Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and The Band rolling across Canada by rail, the Full Flex Express packed Skrillex, Diplo, Grimes and Pretty Lights aboard a specially outfitted Via Rail train to party their way from from Toronto to Vancouver.
The set started at 6 pm with Diplo playing in 34-degree heat to about 10,000 people. He was in a chatty mood, continuously introducing his tracks on the mic and joking, “I heard Ottawa was harder than Toronto — but I had no idea how much harder!” This latter met with screams and cheers.
He dropped AC/DC to a thoroughly crazed reaction — no surprise, given, as I’ve mentioned before, Ottawa’s classic rock roots. Plus “Roxanne” by The Police with a deep Moombahton flow. The other huge anthem: “Rack City” remixed in various flavours.
Diplo felt so at home here he spent the last minutes of his set crowd-surfing, holding the mic and chatting. DJs jumping into crowd: is there any lingering doubt they’ve become our new rock stars? Nobody can touch them right now (figuratively speaking).
Meanwhile, over on the Electro Stage, Tyga was in the process of sending Ottawa’s hip-hop lovers ballistic.
I honestly had no idea that the local “heads” were so f**king nuts for the Cash Money/southern ballers style. But they lost it from the moment he hit the stage. He slammed it non-stop, and I had to duck side-stage as soon I heard the first few bars of “Rack City” — I could feel they were gearing up to lose their shit.
Elsewhere, Skrillex’s fans were busy getting ready to freak out the f**k out.
Pretty Lights was next up on the Main stage, as the crowd continued to swell. His set was orchestral and massive, punctuated with tunes like this one: “I Know The Truth.”
And finally, the main event! Skirllex brought a larger and more elaborate show than he had the previous night in Toronto. The backstage was closed due to all the pyrotechnics, lasers and whatnot, which meant no photography. So I had to sneak these …
This was a full-fledged rock concert ordeal, on a par with or bigger than what any of the week’s other main stage headliners had delivered — and the record crowd of 30,000 freaked to every minute of it.
… and FINALLY, an after party!
With the train set to depart at 2:30 am, getting to the party felt a little rushed, but once everyone got to Ritual Nightclub and settled in, the only issue I could foresee was getting all the artists to leave on time.
After Koan Sound (who are also on the train) played a dubsteppy set (including ragga jungle licks like “Special Dedication”), it was down to the Don. Skrillex, having just performed a full-on concert, played another few hours at this intimate club venue.
And the crowd was right there with him, partying on just as hard.
He gave it everything he had, sweating profusely and never letting up — even taking the photographer’s camera and snapping pics of himself with the crowd. Steadfast and dedicated, he is without question the hardest-working DJ out there right now.
And with that, the Full Flex Express left Ottawa as quickly as it had come, leaving a trail of wondrous disaster in its wake.
It’s Friiiiiiiday — and not just any Friday. The bpm:tv Nation will be venturing into Knights territory to celebrate the premiere of Grand Benders at Cobra London.
The only downside is that I can’t be in two places at once, which means I’m going to have to miss Goldroom tonight at the Gladstone. This is a Pop Kult! event presented by Mansion, so you know the crowd will be knowledgeable, the drinks will be flowing and the music will be top-notch. If you find yourself in the dot this evening, head for Queen and Gladstone, homie.
I’m stoked for the trek to London. An hour’s drive means I need to get on my A-game and prep a road trip playlist with the freshest/flyest new beatz. And so, without further ado, your Sweets of the Week …
Start off with a brand new banger from the beatdown king. Aoki and Dimas go apeshit on this one.
I feel like I should be on the Blood Music payroll. I mean, any time I hear anything brand new from these guys, I’m all over it. Then again, I feel like I should be paying them for delivering such a steady supply of the baddest beats. So let’s maybe just call it even. Anyway, here’s a double dose: first with Ado, then LeBreton … ‘aaaaave it!
If you can’t make the Pup Kult! event tonight, then download this asap: it’s the closest you can get to actually being there. Josh Legg is in the creative zone right now, so look out for a Goldroom feature on the blog next week.
For many of us, May will be known as “Pryda Month.” The Swedish God of House Music is set to unleash his three-CD compilation Eric Prydz Presents Pryda on May 21. 3 CD’s of Eric is about enough to fill your sets for the next year. Doubtless this mammoth album will get leaked soon enough. In the meantime, we’ll just have to settle for this anthem.
Finally, this. Far from new, I realize, but sometimes you gotta bring a track back — backtrack, you dig? Jacques Lu Cont has been quietly making a return to glory of late. But it’s his take on a house classic that remains top of my iPod playlist. Hope this brings you back. U know i love you better …
And that’s it for the week. Just a reminder, bpm:tv Nation is gonna be in London tonight — and trust me when I say “It’s going down.” We’ll be celebrating the launch of bpm:tv’s newest series, so come on out and meet the stars of Grand Benders. Lehhh go!
The festivities start at 10 pm and continue until closing. Want to get in free? All you’ve got to do is arrive between 10 pm and 11 pm, say “I’m on the GRAND BENDERS guest list” when you get to the door. Simple, no.
GRAND BENDERS guest star DJ Amy Elizabeth will be on the decks. Check out her FACEBOOK PAGE.
Don’t forget: The GRAND BENDERS world television premiere on bpm:tv is just eight days away. The original five-part docu-soap series airs Tuesdays, starting May 8, at 9 pm ET/PT, and will repeat Saturdays at 7 pm ET/PT.
It’s about time Canadian audiences got a look at Heartik. The young Italian has been refining his production skills since 2008, and last Friday night he brought his impressive sound to the dancefloor of Toronto’s TIME nightclub.. This is a venue with a lot to offer, including a rock-solid sound setup for EDM performers, and though it’s a wee bit small it offers a pleasingly intimate atmosphere.
Can’t say I was impressed with the turnout for the event, but the shortage of warm bodies didn’t slow up the headline performer. He kicked off his set with a funky crowd-pleaser, before slipping into some comfortable tech-house. Heartik has mind-bogglingly brilliant taste when it comes to music selection – indicative, I’d say, of his potential to rock much larger crowds. Couple that with his powerfully appealing stage presence and positive energy, and you’ve got a DJ/producer worth watching — and listening — for.
Okay, maybe this weekend wasn’t a big one for shows in the Greater Toronto Area — but there was at least one event during the previous week that more than compensated. Washington, DC’s Sharam was the featured artist on the bill Wednesday at Cobra on King Street West, as Emergency and Provoke Media outdid themselves with a stellar show.
The crowd was primed, proper and packed, to say the least, and the location fit the occasion. All that was needed was for the Iranian-born DJ to deliver the goods. And no fear on that count: Sharam sensed what the crowd was in the mood to hear and scratched that itch with by serving up some of his classic hits.
His name may mean “modesty” in Persian, but a DJ of this calibre has no need to play it humble. The songs flowed seamlessly, and the vibe stayed dialed up to its highest setting throughout the night. Best of all was the choice of tracks. Sharam doesn’t stick religiously to his own stuff; just as in his acclaimed podcasts — or Wildcasts, as he calls them — he plays whatever he knows will get the party hype and keep it going to the small hours. Check out his latest Wildcast (below) and you’ll see exactly what Sharam aims to do whenever he’s behind the Pioneers.
While you’re at it, scope out the pics from the event HERE – and take a stroll around the Provoke Web Site: as you can see, they’re doing big things. With Pleasurekraft, Nic Fanculli, Stefano Noferini and, of course, The Martinez Brothers all on deck, Provoke and Extravaganza are burnishing their reputation for bringing the hottest EDM acts to the Toronto — and soon to the rest of Canada.
I’ll talk abut my Steve Aoki interview in tomorrow’s post. The living legend opened up about his new album Wonderland, the current state of EDM, and much more.
Club politics is a topic I’ve wanted to write about pretty much since I started working within the EMDS back in 2004. Because of my deep involvement within the scene I’ve felt the impact on club politics down to its ugliest.
I once was once questioned by a very popular nightclub in Toronto if I was hosting events at a competing nightclub — all because I was seen on TV wearing a pink T-shirt with the competing nightclub’s logo. What they saw was me on electronica!
Can you believe that? All because I happened to have shot electronica at a nightclub wearing a t-shirt exclusively made for me. I almost lost a hosting contract. This is how distasteful club politics can be.
Many people who work within the nightclub industry I’ve found to agree that it’s political game of cool. Yet few will publicly speak about it for fear of losing a gig, an affiliation or a job. And let’s face it: unless you’re a successful club owner, DJ/producer or veteran event producer, come the end of the day, playing the political game of cool doesn’t pay the bills.
Politics within the club scene worldwide is a nasty business. From my knowledge and experience I’d say it’s comparable to government politics in what club owners and some promoters will do to keep the competition down.
The weekend club-goer is the bread and butter that keeps this political musical game in production. They are the fuel that keeps the machine running. Canada’s electronic music dance scene has a wealth of talent locked inside it.
I’ve produced, organized and hosted various successful events, and it shocks me how some DJs think they are entitled to play an event they are professionally not ready for. It boggles my mind how some promoters will not promote an event because it might upset a venue or DJ they’re affiliated with.
True affiliation is only as good as the paper the agreement is written on and/or in action. Otherwise there is no affiliation.
I started in and remain part of this industry because of the music and my passion for it. The joy I see on a person’s face while they dance to a DJ who’s taking them on a musical journey they’ve longed for after a long, hard work week is my reward. Music is freedom of expression. Club-goers only want to hit a party with a good vibe and great beats, and to be treated well.
Club politics will always exist. They are not rules or laws — and therefore it doesn’t mean they need to be followed.
VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH
The Streets, Blinded By the Lights (Warner Brothers 2005)
I remember playing this video on electronica back in about 2007 and I was shocked yet captivated by The Streets‘ real-to-life lyrics and video to go with the story of how many can get lost in what is real and not real due to anger mixed with the influence of drugs and alcohol in Blinded By The Lights.
The Hot Boat Cruise – Sunday August 14
DJs: MK | Chad Savage | Ticky Ty | Ovi M | Chris Ink | Ethnologic | Justin Chung | Lyle Disco | Jermz
19+ I.D. is required to board.
The River Gambler, 261 Queens Quay East, Toronto, ON
“Here’s the thing: We know it’s mildly incestuous to crown our own pot-stirring blogger Miss Raquel (Poppycock!) our latest Woman of the Hour, but we have a thing for conscientious women who work hard, devotedly, and with a spirit that is broad and fierce. The indefatigable TV host, writer, web and club queen took time to put pen to our TMI Questionnaire …”
Hello to all our Montreal peeps! Miss Raquel from electronica is going to be in your fair city for a special event this coming weekend. If you’d like to meet-and-greet, you can find her Saturday night, April 16, at Stereo Nightclub. (She may even have some bpm:tv swag to give away…)
Here’s the what and the wherefore:
Samedi 16 Avril Toute La Nuit with D-Unity
at Stereo Nightclub, Montreal