Top 10 EDM shows this year: Canada Edition
Deadmau5 Hax Tour
The video that is depicted above not only represents the official opening to Deadmau5′s fall tour, but also the most memorable moment I have experienced in my concert-going career thus far. Although it took place in Chicago at Lollapalooza, this moment set the tone for the remaining tour venues that Joel would eventually conquer in similar fashion. I was lucky enough to catch the last show on the tour as well, since it was conveniently placed in my/Joel’s hometown of Toronto, where he made history in becoming the first Canadian artist to headline the country’s grandest stage – The Skydome. The combination of these two events, plus the fact that Deadmau5 is my favourite dance music producer, made this tour a clear cut winner over any other performance I attended this year.
The Bloody Beetroots at London Music Hall
This marked the first show of the London Ontario concert season in 2011, and unfortunately none of the succeeding concerts that came through the venue this year since then were anywhere close to topping it. The energy that the London locals put forth that evening was magnified tenfold by Mr. Rifo & Mr. Tea, and by the end of the night everyone was somehow doused in more alcohol than sweat, and had screamed their lungs down to the consistency of sandpaper. Oh, and as you can see from the video, they ended their set by turning the party into a Bar Mitzvah.
The Mothership Tour invades Toronto
After declaring his inaugural Toronto show last December to be of his “top 3 all time,” Skrillex returned 9 months later with the full force of the Mother Ship Tour behind him. Furthermore, he tested the city’s affection for him by booking himself to play at 3 separate venues within a 48 hour span. To his delight, Toronto passed with flying colours and sold out all three shows, making for one of the most destructive party weekends the city has ever nurtured.
Thanks to WEMF being situated in northern Ontario, 2011 marked the first year that I was able to drive less than 14 hours to attend a respectably sized music festival. This 16th anniversary of the annual Junglist-founded gathering featured the combine promotion power of Toronto’s two biggest talent magnets: Destiny Productions and Embrace Presents, which fostered a roster that included some of the most beloved names in Dubstep & Drum N Bass. It also marked the first festival I ever attended that provided less than 10 different varieties of ethnic foods, but made up for it by having the most comfortable and unsaturated environment I’ve camped in to date.
The only reason why Shambhala is ranked after WEMF is because I did not attend. However, the fact that it sits above the rest of the monumental events listed below without me having participated speaks for itself. Conversations I’ve had with both DJs and fans who attended the festival have painted a very clear picture of the sheer grandeur and tranquility of the event environment, which finds itself located amongst the insanely beautiful landscape of northern British Columbia. But the focal point of each description has consistently highlighted the amazingly elaborate themes of each of the festival’s stages, and the fact that the festival seems to pride itself as a “peaceful place” by banning all consumption/possession of Alcohol for the duration of the event.
Nero at The Phoenix
This show contained the most authentic and energetic crowd I have been apart of in the city of Toronto to date. Since the headliners of Nero & Pretty Lights contrast slightly in terms of genre and target market, the gathering of fans who attended were visibly clashing in terms of clothing and attitude. But in the true multicultural nature of our city, the groups slowly acclimated to each other over the course of the evening and by the time it was all over, everyone was too deaf and disoriented to bicker over which artist threw down harder.
Double Dose of Dada Life in London
If you count yourself amongst the proud EDM sub-community that aptly refers to themselves as “Dada Heads,” most of what I am about to describe about Stefan & Ollie will be old news. But for those of you who have for some reason neglected a healthy dose of bananas and champagne in their daily musical diet, know that you are severing one of the most jubilant forms of dance music from positively impacting your life. The funny part is that as much as I love their music and the euphoria I feel when hearing it live, they love it way more than any of us combined and never miss an opportunity to outdo the energy output of the respective crowd they are serving. I’m just lucky enough to attend a school that feeds them the most energy to re-distribute, as it brings them back to refuel at least twice a year.
Decadence 8 at The Guvernment
When the infamous Guvernment complex in Toronto decides to megazord itself into its 10,000 capacity form, it doesn’t do it for just anyone. Its a feat that us Torontonians are able to bear witness to about two or three times a year, and 2011′s annual rendition of Decadence packed more than enough heat to coat each last corridor of that complex in sweat. The collection of artists that were worthy enough to summon a sold out crowd that night read as follows: Chris Lake, Calvin Harris, Kaskade, Axwell and Boys Noize. Not only was I in attendance that night, but the lackluster effort by security allowed me to slip backstage halfway through the night and experience all of Mr. Ridha’s set (the primary reason I attended) standing directly behind him. I also may or may not have ended up in the greenroom later on that evening, depending on who’s reading this.
Avicii and Rusko Back-to-Back at Kool Haus
1/2 of the aforementioned Guvernment complex is a spacious monster of a warehouse called The Kool Haus. Its the biggest venue the city has (shy of the ACC & Skydome), so its affinity to historic and overwhelmingly packed concerts is very strong by default. In 2011, the best two shows to have gone down there in my opinion were Avicii’s & Rusko’s, and by chance they occurred in successive weekends last May. The scariest part of the whole ordeal is that there wasn’t much crossover in terms of fans that attended each show, and both were packed way over capacity. Whats more, the Avicii show lasted well over 5 hours and he later referred to it on twitter as being “one of the best gigs of his life.”
Feed Me at The Mod Club
This event was summarized perfectly in my previous review. Read excerpt below:
“The word Dubstep is one that is mentioned and adorned within the conversations of two very juxtaposing cultural circles within the Greater Toronto Area. The first group are the ‘underground’ or ‘scene-ster’ types, who for the most part made the transition from heavier thrash, metal or screamo music, but nonetheless are addicted to the raw power that this new synthetic genre brings to the table. The other social circle is somewhat of a mystery to me, considering that it is essentially comprised of the prissiest, hottest and downright sluttiest girls that our fair city has to offer. Decked out in their neon booty shorts and coach clutches, these girls have somehow come to fiend a daily helping of bass more than kielbasa. And on this night, Feed Me graciously gave all peoples and creeds within Mod Club an equal ladling of dubsawce from his vat of destruction.”