I can cheerfully say that last Saturday at The Guvernment was a night of sheer satisfaction. If you are one for the cheerful, bouncy, melodic stylings of Ben Gold‘s productions, you knew what you were getting yourself into. In short, the evening of Saturday, October 20th was a night of music appreciation. The crowd and overall atmosphere was a clear indication that everyone was gathered for the same reason, to hear some trance and progressive that you’re not used to hearing anywhere else!
Ben Gold is usually one who would open or close a lineup at an event due to his sui-generis yet tasteful selection of repertoire in his sets, so I was unsure when Ben would take the stage. I didn’t want to take any chances so I arrived to the club earlier than usual – plus I was personally curious as to how the opening act would be setting the atmosphere. The crowd (at 11:00pm) was what you would expect on any other night, but only at half the amount that I was used to. This was a clear indication for me that the majority of people were here for the music, not to “rage”.
I anticipated Mark Oliver to be laying down the goods of trance, but upon arrival I was surprised to see Manzone & Strong in the booth instead. To be honest, these resident DJs are almost always accommodating to any headlining artist they are opening for in regards to genre and playing style, but I was extremely turned off to what they were doing to get the party going. They were playing old school trance, borderline psy and acid. A friend of mine even compared the music to what a rave in the 90s would sound like. I’m glad it was kept at a socialite appropriate volume as this made the anticipation for Ben much greater.
At around 1:30am, a short little figure appeared behind the decks beside the tall Fab Strong, which was quite a funny sight to see. When Fab introduced Ben to the crowd and handed him off, it was such a relief to anticipate a change in pace! I even think Ben may have intentionally mixed a few tracks to make a smooth, full transition from whatever Joe and Fab were playing to good trance music. After a couple minutes of recovery music, the show truly had begun. The Ben Gold graphics were on the jumbo screen and the house volume had nearly doubled, Guv was now fully engulfed in the sound of Garuda!
In regards to his set, I must say that it was genuine. If one wanted to get a good idea of how Ben Gold sounds as an artist, this was a true textbook example. Ben as a DJ has a very aggressive mixing style in nature, as I’ve noticed musically he adds progression after progression without many breaks in between. Nice and flowing, no abrupt key changes, and very hard hitting! He opened up with Orjan Nilsen’s new track Filthy Fandango (Armind), which initially ignited the first crowd explosion. From that point onwards he continued to pulverize The Guvernment’s sound system with devastating bass lines and colder, more aggressive tracks like Rex Mundi’s Mence (Coldharbour). I found this particularly satisfied the younger less-experienced Ben fans (the ones particularly dressed in bright neon colours) as this is what they had anticipated from Ben and experienced from last time he was in Toronto for Veld Festival. Track after track you had the odd sunglasses-wearing individual climb up in front of the stage to give Ben a “props that was a sick drop bro” salute before security ripped them off the stage. But that’s what I respect about Ben. He acknowledged and managed to entertain this select group of people in the club for a while, until he started busting out the good stuff about 45mins into his set with some golden melodic and uplifting trance that he is well known for. It was interesting to see how the “raging” crowd slowly started to dissipate as the music started to get lighter and more uplifting.
A change in mood was initiated when Ben dropped his latest single Where Life Takes Us (Garuda) and had the whole club literally singing along to the lyric-less, substantially melodic massive. This is where Ben started to take us for a ride on the musically rich, melodic and progressive nature we all know and love. Throwing our hands in the air screaming the words to W&W‘s remix of Dash Berlin & Emma Hewitt’s Waiting was a breath of fresh air and such a pleasure to hear on the house system. What was nice about Ben’s selection of repertoire was when mixing took place, the transitions were flawless and the bass-lines remained devastating. Meanwhile when each track progressed into its main parts, he left the edits to a minimum to let everyone enjoy the tracks and their melodies as we know them, in their entirety. A great example of this was when he had dropped his Club Dub of Slave by Tritonal.
If there’s one shred of criticism I may say about his set, I’m sure other Ben fans would agree that it was very predictable. I mean I heard every single track that Ben had included in his latest Podcast (The Ben Gold Podcast – 006) in almost direct order in which they played. Since the release of the podcast 2 weeks ago, I’ve played it a few times through and I must say it was quite satisfying to hear all those tracks I’ve been listening to all week at a terrifying volume inside the main room at The Guvernment!
In conclusion, one who has an acquired taste for Ben Gold’s melody rich progressions and his unique timbre in his tracks know that there is no one that is near as similar, and to miss an opportunity to hear Ben Gold live is unfortunate. I give this night a flawless 10/10 for the music, crowd, atmosphere, and overall experience. I highly recommend you check out Ben Gold next time he is in town, or even if he is within a couple hours of driving radius!
Sabino Furlone – EDMTOR