REVIEW: Launch of VIVA – Knife Party and Nicky Romero at KoolHaus 24-11-12 by Sean Meiliunas & Jesse Maida

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On Saturday, November 24th, INK Events launched their newest annual event, VIVA, at The Guvernment Entertainment Complex. An outstanding lineup of EDM producers filled venue with an excited and music-hungry crowd. With the main room holding its lineup of more trance-driven artists, KoolHaus thrilled us with house and electro giants, Knife Party and Nicky Romero.

The night started like any other night at The Guvernment – waiting in line. Luckily, I was able to speed up the process by landing a spot on the EDMFiX guestlist through EDM TOR. I stood in line for about 20 minutes before I got into the club at around 11:45PM. I could immediately feel the anticipation of the crowd – with Knife Party swag and chants all around, I could tell these people came to hear some bangerz. The coat check line was rather long, here and after waiting in line for almost 45 minutes, I heard in the distance, “Coat check is closed!”. This was a huge bummer. While everyone was guided to visit the main room coat check, I decided to tough it out and keep my sweater on. I was there to enjoy the show, so wearing a sweater was not going to stop that. And it sure didn’t.

I was able to squeeze into the KoolHaus 10 minutes before Australian duo, Knife Party set foot on stage. I embraced the view of a jam-packed room rocking out to resident DJs Manzone & Strong’s closing track. I managed to grab a spot in the back of the room for the opening of Knife Party, which is not enough for me as I’m the type to b-line it right to the front. I spent the first track of the set trying to find myself a better spot in the crowd. With The Guvernment all-access events becoming overly crowded, it really dims the enjoyment of watching the performers – being bumped and shoved constantly is really frustrating. I managed to find a decent spot near the middle of the crowd after squeezing through for 5 minutes. Knife Party dropped their remix of Save The World and got me rocking, no problem. A familiar track always gets you pumped up. Knife Party has mastered the recipe of musical suspense. With their chronic buildups and heavy drops, the crowd couldn’t help but jump. Of course, the drop that stood out to me was for their hit track, Internet Friends. They cranked up the VIP mix of the track, which melted everyone’s minds. The room was littered with pretty girls hoisted up on shoulders, and friends taken over by gritty goodness.

The set led to drop after drop, each heavier then the last. Each buildup slammed the club into an entrancing state of electro house. The boys played nearly their entire EP including Destroy Them With Lazers, Centipede a remix of Sleaze and some other remixes and singles including their remix of Porter Robinson’s Unison and their collaborated track Antidote with Swedish House Mafia.

Knife Party’s set unfortunately came to an end without an encore to make room for house producer, hailing from the Netherlands, Nicky Romero. It’s been quite the year for Romero. At only 23 years of age he had one of the highest DJ Mag debuts of all-time coming in at 17, which won him the ‘Highest New Entry’ Award. He also had multiple songs reach number one on the Beatport Top 100 charts, he produced a song for Rihanna on her newest album “Unapologetic”, which is currently number one in the world and he even launched his own podcast called “Protocol Radio”. It is no wonder he headlined this highly anticipated event. The pressure was on Romero to deliver a high quality set after Knife Party set the bar and had the more than max capacity crowd going absolutely crazy for 90 minutes. Everyone let out a lion-like roar when Mr. Romero first entered the stage and from that moment onwards, he had the whole KoolHaus in the palm of his hand.

He started blazing through the gates dropping the lyrics “We have nothing to lose (Toulouse)”, which can be heard in the Headunterz hardstyle remix of Romero’s smash hit Toulouse. He then opened with his original version of the song, which was a Beatport Top 10 mainstay for several weeks earlier in the year. This was sign of things to come as track by track he delivered bass pounding bangers, playing all the Nicky Romero tunes fans have come to love. He dropped Sparks, Strangers, Human, WTF, his Wild Ones and I Don’t Like You remixes, a Symphonica mashup with This Is Love which included one of the dirtiest drops I’ve ever heard at a house show. He even debuted a new track called Legacy! This song has that worldwide famous Romero progressive/electro synth sound, the one that has made him one of the most recognizable producers in the industry.

Two moments really stick out when looking back at his set. The first is when he grabbed the mic and just like he did at Toronto’s Veld Music Festival, reminded the crowd that he was once a resident of this city and it has a special place in his heart. As everyone cheered to the likes of Romero’s little speech, it was the perfect time for him to play his number one single on Beatport Like Home ft. Nervo. The other favourite moment was when Nicky paid tribute to his opening act Knife Party and had Internet Friends playing in the background as he grabbed the mic again. At the count of four he wanted everyone to get off their feet and jump as high as they possibly could. Once the number four was reached everyone leaped in the air and exploded as he dropped his smash hit Iron with Calvin Harris.

It wasn’t just Romero’s original productions that made this set so great, he played a perfect balance of heavy bass bangers and melodic progressive sing-a-long tunes from other artists as well. For example everyone sang along to Alesso’s remix of Titanium as well as Sweet Amarok, a mashup of Sweet Disposition by the Temper Traps and Amarok by Denzel Park. Nicky Romero also proved that the whole world knows the lyrics to Wonderwall by Oasis as he dropped the Pacha on Acid remix. Nicky stopped the music and had everyone in the KoolHaus singing away, it was the kind of moment that gives you chills.

He ended with a bang closing with Languages into a mashup of Fix You by Coldplay vs Million Voices vs Apologize which brought some people to tears. Finally he closed with the Tommy Trash remix of The Veldt by Toronto’s own Deadmau5, which was very fitting. If you are an electro/progressive house fan, this set was pretty close to perfection as you’re going to see. Nicky Romero blew me away and he’s only going to get better. I’m very excited for what he has in store for 2013.

Overall the electro-house portion of VIVA was a memorable one – we’re looking forward to seeing what INK brings us in the coming years.

Sean Meiliunas & Jesse MaidaEDM TOR

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Adele Desloges

Adele is the owner of Tranceported. She also heads up the social media as well as the photo and video teams, and was a promoter of events across the Toronto area for years. She has been a fan of Trance music since the mid-90s and has been shooting Trance events since 2011..

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