Last Friday, German trance producer and DJ Ronski Speed made his return to Toronto after a two-year hiatus from our city. Ronski Speed was the latest act in Ozmozis Productions’ Foundation Fridays, which have become widely known as the place to be for trance events in Toronto.
I was on my way to Toika for the first time around midnight on Friday and wasn’t sure what to expect, though I had heard good things. Walking in, there was a narrow passageway with the bar on one side and a VIP area on the other. This led into the main room, where the DJ booth was situated in the back corner. At this point, the dance floor was relatively empty, but people had just started to arrive. Resident DJ, Mr. Morton was on the decks getting things started with some great trance tunes that were setting the mood for the crowd. At the bar, I noticed a man standing with a suit jacket, who, when he turned around, I realized was Toronto local trance producer, Arnej. The area beside the DJ booth was a slightly elevated section with signs that read “Reserved for Artists”. Standing in that area, were Tania Zygar and Matt Lange with a small crowd gathered around conversing and introducing themselves to the artists. Later on, I also noticed Shane Halcon who is now a resident of Toronto, mingling with the crowd. These seemed to be the place to be, not only for trance fans, but for artists themselves.
Fast forward to 1:30am – Mr. Morton had transitioned off the decks and now the dance floor was full, but with plenty of room to dance. Ronski Speed had opened with Rank 1’s 7 Instead of 8 while there was a projection of a visualizer pattern on the ceiling, and the room filled up with fog. I noticed there were people of different ages in the crowd, and it was evident that everyone came for their love of trance. Toika doesn’t feel like your average club, the atmosphere is definitely more laid back but you can still dance up a storm. A great environment for artists like Ronski Speed, who played many trance favourites including Armin Van Buuren’s remix of Spectrum by Zedd. He also played some of his own tracks including The Space We Are, Deep Devine and his latest, Sanity.
It was around 3am when he dropped something that caught me a bit off guard. The whole night so far had been nothing but trance, and then Dada Life’s Kick Out the Epic Motherf***er came on. However, it was a mashup with Armin Van Buuren’s In and Out of Love vocals. Somehow these two songs fit together nicely. Around this time Tania Zygar and Matt Lange appeared into the crowd and started dancing in a circle with a group of us. At this point it felt more like an awesome house party. More trance favourites like Gareth Emery’s Concrete Angel, Andrew Rayel’s How do I Know, Tritonal & Super 8 & Tab’s ARC and Dash Berlin’s Waiting (W&W Remix) were played just before the home stretch of his set.
By 3:30am, it was time for some Group Therapy. Out came all the emotional and uplifting A&B tracks to end of the night which included Alchemy, On My Way To Heaven (Club Mix), and a mash-up with Gareth Emery’s Metropolis and a Thing Called Love vocals. His set ended just after 4am as the lights in the room started to come on. I made my way outside and started talking with a few friends. Shortly after, Ronski Speed made his way out and started chatting with us. This was an amazing way to end of the night.
Overall, I was really impressed with Toika – it was all about the music, and has a nice family feel to it. Where else can you walk right up to the DJ booth any time you please, meet and dance with special guests, and chat with the DJ after his set?
If you are interested in checking out Toika Lounge, don’t miss the next Foundation Friday coming up with Bryan Kearney on December 21st.
Eric Marrone – EDM TOR