REVIEW: Steve Lawler at Maison Mercer 23-11-12 by Anjali Handa


Approaching Maison last Friday night, I could already tell it was going to be a packed house. Then again, when a world famous DJ like Steve Lawler is in town, I’d expect no less. With small crowds in different gatherings outside the club, the guestlist guy was slightly on edge along with the bouncers who were ensuring order was in place. We stood in line for approximately 20 minutes before entering the venue where there was another 20 minute lineup for coat check. Although the line ups and the fact that there were only 2 people working coat check were slightly annoying, I have to give kudos to the management at Maison for keeping order and calmness throughout the process. There was no mad rush, pushing, or risk of trampling. We were organized, and safe, which is always a top priority for me.

Given that Absolut Vodka sponsored the event, we were given a complimentary drink ticket upon entry – a nice way to make up for the wait to get in. At the back of the club, there was a small Absolut lounge set up where vodka-grapefruit mixed drinks were being served. Not my drink of choice, but when it’s free I will not judge. It was close to midnight and the club was already very busy. Sam Haze and Cosella were spinning side-by-side bringing us some fresh house tunes that had the crowd bouncing as they mixed and mingled. The crowd itself was a mix of what I’d call “ravers” in their casual wear, facing the DJ booth, while others were regular club goers in their dressier clothes taking over the bottle service booths. We chose a comfortable spot to the left of the DJ booth, an found ourselves there for most of the night.

Just after midnight, DJ Daniel Dubb took over the decks continuing with fresh house sounds that were getting the crowed more excited as the night progressed. Go-go dancers clad in pink wigs and lace body suits took over the front two platforms and, as usual, mesmerized the male population of the crowd. With an hour of music in his hands, Dubb provided a musical journey that allowed for socializing for the majority of his set. Long, repetitive beats pulsated through the crowd, until about 12:40am, when he picked it up with a more techy sound. It was like an instant mood change. All of a sudden the audience was more interested in dancing, the dance floor got busier and the real party began. It was perfect timing for the pick-me-up as Lawler took over at approximately 1am.

Once Lawler was on decks, the intensity of the crowd immediately increased. Hands were up, girls took over the go-go dancers’ platforms (although some were not necessarily dressed for such an act) and everywhere you looked people were facing the DJ and having a blast. His set continued were Daniel Dubb left off – a tech-house feel that was energetic, hard and dance-worthy. Within an hour of his set, he transitioned into more techno sounds that had were fast, heavy and mesmerizing. I found it interesting to observe the crowd, as I haven’t been to many DJ events at Maison. You could definitely pick out the hardcore music lovers by the way their bodies naturally moved to the sound of techno beats. Others were having a hard time keeping up, or at least it was hard to watch them. Either way, there was a mutual enjoyment of the sounds and appreciation for the master on decks. Throughout the night guys and girls alike were trying to snag photos of the dance music legend and at one point, I saw a girl facetime-ing a friend so she too could watch the set. Further into the night, the techno sounds transitioned into a percussion-heavy tribal vibe that brought a sensual flare to the place. Lawler took us on a journey that included various genres of house and techno and had us on our feet from beginning to end. At the 3am mark, he brought us back into a dark and deep techno sound. The dance floor became more spacious as those who were maybe not prepared for a Lawler set were tired and began to leave. I, on the other hand embraced the dark and dirty sounds and stayed right until the end of Lawler’s set.

The transition back to Sam Haze and Cosella was seamless – to be honest I barely even noticed Lawler’s departure. It was close to 4am and the dance floor was clearing up. I kept looking back at coat check to see a massive crowd of people waiting to leave. Finally at 4am, though the music was still going, I decided to call it quits and head home. I’m glad I stopped when I did because I snagged a relatively good spot in the coat check line. Though I waited 30 minutes to get my coat, and was extremely tired while doing so, I must once again commend the staff at Maison for keeping calm order throughout the night. I have recently experienced crazy crowds at other venues who push, shove and create chaos all for the sake of getting their coats. Here, the bouncers were assertive in their instructions and had us waiting in an organized and rational line. I appreciate the orderly conduct – it was professional and handled very well.

By the time I got home, it was close to 5am. It’s typically hard to stay out late on a Friday night, especially after a long workweek. But the energy provided by Sam Haze, Cosella, Daniel Dubb and of course the headliner, Steve Lawler was so incredible it kept me going for hours on end. I have to thank Maison Mercer, Absolute Vodka, Capture Events and Provoke for putting on an excellent show.

Interested in attending the next party? Don’t miss Pleasurekraft this Friday, also at Maison. We will definitely be on site providing full coverage – hope to see you there.

Anjali HandaEDM TOR


About Author

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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