The Halloween spirit at Sound Academy this past Saturday was unbelievable. I had been waiting for this annual Freakout for the entire school year, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. The bustling line of dressed-up ravers outside were all itching to get in the venue to witness huge performers Rusko and Dillon Francis, and see their local favourites such as Hydee and Warrior Music. Everyone shivered in the autumn air, but the anticipation would not allow any spirits to be broken. After finally making it into the venue, through the coat check line and into the main room, I could let my body thaw and begin to feel the music.
The room was filled with excited people wearing a wide variety of creative costumes. Of course, there was the classic Deadmau5 head, a Lego man, the most intricate home-made Bender from Futurama, and even a creative portrayal of the CN Tower. These are just a few examples of the uninhibited inventiveness of the party-goers that night. When I walked onto the massive dance floor, Dillon Francis was just about to take his place on the stage. He appeared with his freshly-coloured bleach blonde hair and painted on cat whiskers, not surprising considering Dillon is known for his comedic online presence which includes hilarious cat photos and memes.
What was surprising, however, was the amount of trap music in Dillon’s set. The audience absolutely loved it and danced non-stop to the smooth-moving beats. He began his performance with the RL Grime and Salva remix of Kanye West’s Mercy, which I’ve found is a current dance floor favourite in the bass music scene. Everyone was hooked from the get-go. Appropriate for the spooky season, Francis dropped a remix of Heads Will Roll by the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s which had the audience in the Halloween spirit and singing along. To continue the familiarity of songs with lyrics, he played the popular hit Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO, which is always a crowd pleaser. After reeling in the dubstep newbies with a couple well-known hits, Dillon whipped out some tracks with heavier wobble for all the bass-heads. He dropped favourites such as Sleaze by Knife Party, Watch Out by Doctor P and his own remix of Daydreamer by Flux Pavilion ft. Example. Big dubstep tracks like these are guaranteed to get me moving; they worked like a charm. Dillon continued to charm the crowd with a remix of Zedd’s Stars Come Out, followed by Music Is Dead by Doctor P & Dillon Francis. It was amazing to see how well the costumed ravers knew Dillon’s original beats. When his song IDGAFS began to play, a sea of people just went wild. After the title was made extremely well-known through Dillon’s internet presence, this was the track everyone was waiting for. After we all raged hard to his anticipated original song, he began to wind down his set with the huge EDM hit Pon De Floor by Major Lazer. I’ve heard that song hundreds of times, and I still can’t help but dance to it. Dillon’s set compiled a wide-variety of bass music sub-genres that caught the attention of the entire room and had everyone going hard.
It was as if an earthquake hit when Rusko began to take the stage. My body was jostled every which way as anxious crowd members shoved their way to the front to see their favourite act. The jammed-packed crowd was forced to sway in unison. Personally, I find it’s a thrill to be a part of the raging chaos on the floor. We are one entity supporting the beats that get our pulse racing. After busting out some trap to get his party started, Rusko transitioned into his old-school original song, Jahova. Since I’m a huge fan of Rusko’s older tracks, I raged so hard to this one. He complimented the old with the new by dropping an unreleased track with lyrics that sang “I Need You”. Rusko jumped up and down on stage and had the crowd following his lead. The upbeat transition is just what everybody needed. The heavy-hitting Rusko tracks kept on coming, and the audience continued to respond with amazing enthusiasm. He spun a filthy remix of his song Da Cali Anthem, followed by his original track Somebody to Love. Rusko turned it up a notch and mixed into its remix by Camo & Krooked. I was very impressed and pumped up by the balance of old-school Rusko and current dubstep stylings. Shortly after, Rusko nailed it once again by spinning his original track Everyday and mixing it into its remix by Netsky, which is one of my personal favourite Rusko songs. At the climax of his performance, Rusko gave us the pleasure of hearing his classic track Woo Boost. There was not a still standing body on the floor; everyone was entranced by Rusko’s lively and dynamic mixture of old-school and modern bass music. As his set was nearing its conclusion, he played his song featuring Amber Coffman, Hold On. If that wasn’t enough of a finale, Rusko dropped a timeless track within the dubstep community, Flux Pavilion’s remix of Gold Dust by DJ Fresh.
I had half-expected a large amount of the party-goers to trickle out of the venue after Rusko’s set ended, but barely anyone left. Everyone was dancing hard and wanted more. Loadstar is definitely the right DJ to listen to when you want to go hard. At this point, I was lucky enough to get backstage and dance behind Loadstar as he destroyed the savage mob of ravers with his energetic choices of dubstep and drum & bass. The amount of drum & bass is what set his set apart from the previous ones, and I was really feeling it. At this point, I just wanted to keep moving and that’s exactly what Loadstar allowed me to do. He dropped wicked tracks like Get By by Delta Heavy, Skrillex’s Goin’ Hard mix of Goin’ In by Birdy Nam Nam, Killin’ It by Krewella and the popular Internet Friends by Knife Party. Hard-hitting tracks like these infused with tons of drum & bass kept my feet moving until they took me out the doors of the venue.
Destiny, Electronic Nation and Embrace threw an amazing party with an impressive DJ line-up. I will most certainly be returning next year to see what epic DJs and dance music they will bring to the table.
Happy Halloween, bass-heads!
Alix Nikulka – EDM TOR