Last Friday, another edition of Factory Fridays at Uniun Nightclub took place, this time featuring the collaborative duo AN21 & Max Vangeli. November was the opening month for Uniun, and it was filled with big name headliners. Just the week before (which was my first time at Uniun), the Dutch legend Fedde le Grand hit the decks in front of a packed house. Now it was AN21 & Max Vangeli’s turn to take over the LED laden nightclub, and make their triumphant return to Toronto. They have been long time friends, and are members of the Size Records family. AN21, brother of Steve Angello, is from Stockholm, Sweden, while Max Vangeli is from San Francisco. It has been a successful year for the duo, with the launch of their debut album, “People of the Night” (including collaborations with Tiesto, Steve Angello, Michael Woods, Congrorock) , and playing numerous festivals and clubs around the world. I had been to see them two other times (in the same day!) at day 2 of Veld Music Festival, and then the Veld afterparty in the Koolhaus alongside Steve Angello. I enjoyed both of those sets, and I knew I was in for a good night ahead of me.
I arrived at Uniun early this time, after the bad experience with guest list the week before for Fedde (ticket holders got to walk right in, while people on guestlist had to wait in the normal line). If you are planning to go to Uniun on a night where a big name DJ is playing, I highly recommend buying tickets, or if you’d rather do guest list arrive early! This time I was surprised to find no line up at all and walked into the club around 11pm. Inside, I was welcomed by the familiar sound of Toronto locals Manzone & Strong playing some groovy tech house beats and an empty dance floor. This was a good time to take in the sights of the club. The dance floor is a narrow stretch lined with steel arches and LED bar lights hanging from the ceiling that can change colours and patterns. At this time, the LED lights were making a blue wave pattern. VIP booths and large LED screens mark both sides, and the main stage is dimly lit with hanging orange lights, with a display of older microphones in the center. Uniun definitely has an industrial feel to it, but with a modern twist. It feels like a mini Guvernment to me, but classier. The atmosphere was dark and foggy, just like Guv can get. Finally around 11:30pm, the dance floor started to fill up.
NO_ID took over the decks at this time, and continued with the tech house that Manzone & Strong had been playing. Slowly they started transitioning into big room progressive house, dropping a mash up with the vocals of Adrian Lux’s Teenage Crime. Shortly after they played some of their own hits, including How R U Feeling Right Now and their remix of Leave a Light On. At this point, the dance floor had filled up, the room was filled with energy, and everyone was ready for a night filled of dancing. NO_ID dropped my favourite tech house track, Rocker (Prok & Fitch vs My Digital Enemy Remix). The LED lights had begun to pulse green perfectly timed to go along with the song, and then they transitioned into Truffle Pig by Tommy Trash. It was getting close to the end of their set, and so far I was really impressed by the combination of tech and progressive house they were playing. The last bit of their set included Sunrise (Won’t Get Lost) by Aston Shuffle vs Tommy Trash (which had the crowd singing along and dancing up a storm) and then their final track which was the uplifting tune of legendary Eric Prydz’s Every Day.
It was now 1am and AN21 & Max Vangeli came onto the stage. The LED signs were flashing their logo. The moment everybody was waiting for had come. Early on in their set they dropped Mark Knight’s remix of You Got the Love. The crowd was well-behaved and energetic, there was lots of room on the dance floor, and it was apparent people came to have a good time and dance. Their set continued with more progressive house including Deniz Koyu’s Bong, Afrojack and Shermanology’s Can’t Stop Me Now and a new remix of People of the Night, their collaboration with Tiesto. The catchy vocals had the crowd singing along once again, the atmosphere couldn’t have been better with everyone getting lost in the sound of the music and dancing the night away. I was amazed so far by their set, and then they dropped Dirty South and Michael Brun’s Rift. Instantly, I had flashbacks to Labour of Love when I first heard Dirty South drop this track, which at the time was an ID.
Then, out came the mash ups and peak time hits. Calling with We Are Your Friends vocals had everyone jumping up and down together screaming out “We are your friends! You’ll never be alone again!” over and over again. This was followed by more hits including Bombs Over Capitals, In My Mind, Reload, Greyhound with Walking Alone vocals, and City of Dreams. 3am was approaching and it was time for some bangers. Atom with Leave the World Behind vocals led into the infamous remix of Pendulum’s The Island. Awooga was up next, and what I thought to be their last track as they slowed it down into a loop, was not. Max Vangeli grabbed the mic and shouted “Sorry we had to change some batteries. Toronto, are you guys still alive? We are just getting started!” They dropped a Laidback Luke Bootleg of Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Going to Go My Way?, followed by Dada Life’s Kick Out the Epic Mother****er. The dwindling crowd was still going hard, with many girls shoulder riding. Eventually the night came to a close with some relaxed progressive house, and AN21 using his brother’s signature move of telling the crowd to sit down, then jump up when the beat drops. Their set ended at 4am, with about no more than 30 people left in the crowd. Overall it was an awesome night, and my feet were sore from dancing.
Thinking about checking out Uniun? The December line up for Factory Fridays is stacked and includes Roger Sanchez, Afrojack, Cazzette, and Calvin Harris. Contact email@example.com for tickets, guestlist, or bottle service for Uniun Nightclub’s Factory Fridays.
Eric Marrone – EDM TOR