Saturday, November 24th was the debut of INK Events’ annual VIVA party at The Guvernment Entertainment Complex. While Koolhaus was packed with an electro house lineup and Chroma had a heavy bass vibe, I placed myself in the main room where Germany’s Rudee opened the night. Progressive duo Super8&Tab were expected to spin a one hour set followed by a two-hour gig from dance music big wig ATB, then 90 minutes of American duo Tritonal, finishing up with a signature closing set by Mark Oliver.
I wish I could have been on the dance floor for the entire night, but we were backstage with EDM TOR filming interviews with ATB and Rudee during Super8 & Tab’s set. I was slightly disappointed, as I have never seen the duo perform live, but I could hear the energy from backstage and don’t doubt they put on a great show. And really, when you’re interviewing André Tanneberger, also known as ATB, there can be no complaints, right?
ATB has been on tour with Rudee for the release of his two-part compilation album, Sunset Beach DJ Sessions. Toronto was one of the last stops so we know he was prepared to make it a memorable party. When we finally hit the dance floor, I’m happy to report that ATB opened his set with the club mix of his classic track Ecstasy. The leftover energy from Super8 & Tab was incredible as the crowd cheered and sang along with high emotion…and this was just the beginning. ATB got on the mic and greeted Toronto which was received with smiles, waves, screams and cheers. He is extremely interactive and energetic in the booth – the entire night he was jumping, shaking, fist pumping and screaming both with and at his fans as he took us into a state of dance music euphoria. ATB dropped some notable vocal tracks including Velvetine’s The Great Divide, Ferry Corsten’s Not Coming Down, which by the way, gives me goosebumps every single time, and Cosmic Gate’s Be Your Sound. There was a mix of house tracks like Roger Sanchez’s well-known Another Chance which had not only myself, but others turning to their friends in awe – when was the last time you heard that track? There was also the epic remix of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit that transitioned a little awkwardly into Sander Van Doorn’s Eagles, much like it did in this EDC New York set he played for ASOT back in May:
Of course we were hoping ATB would drop many of his own tracks, and that he did. I’ll never forget the site of André grabbing the mic and singing along with the crowd to Move On and What About Us. It’s the feeling of community and belonging you feel with the artist himself is enjoying the track just as much as his audience – our Toronto EDM community lives for moments like that. With a small Drum N’ Bass flare, What About Us was the closing track to which the DJ booth was lowered so ATB could be at eye level with the crowd. He stepped up on stage and gave high fives and handshakes as he greeted and thanked the crowd for their eager support. The atmosphere was extremely enjoyable as people danced into the transition to American duo Tritonal who were up next.
Opening with their latest track, Arc, a collaboration with Super8 & Tab, Tritonal had the crowd in the palm of their hands. This duo has been busy touring North America with Super8 & Tab bringing high energy parties to their trance-hungry followers. The release of this new track has been highly anticipated and celebrated across the continent, so you better believe that after ATB, this duo kept the energy going with heavy hitting basslines and vocal tracks that have been major crowd favourites of the season. Most notable were Cosmic Gate’s Wake Your Mind, the Eric Prydz remix of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, and the very familiar Live Forever by Ferry Corsten. Halfway through their set the DJ booth began to rise and had Chad and Dave at the top of club, looking down on the fierce and energetic crowd that was completely nuts over their song selection. They showered us with Tritonal goodies including Can’t Keep It In with the beautiful vocals of Jeza and Everafter featuring their go-to vocalist Cristina Soto. When Dash Berlin’s Waiting came on, the DJ booth went the opposite direction and lowered back down to eye level with the crowd so they could party like the rest of us. At that point the energy of the crowd changed as we heard Sebastian Ingrosso and Tommy Trash’s Reload as well as Ingrosso and Alesso’s Calling. Ending off with Armin Van Buuren’s Here To Make Some Noise, Tritonal left us with as much energy as they came in with. It’s always a blast with this dynamite duo – they certainly did Toronto proud and set the stage for resident DJ Mark Oliver to do what he does best, take us into the wee hours of the morning in proper rave style.
Mark Oliver has such a good feel of his audience. He knows exactly when and how to get us hyped up and when to bring us back down. Over the course of his 90 minute set, he transitioned us into a slower-paced but danceworthy set. People started to filter out of the Guvernement around 4:45am, so there was plenty of dancing space when Oliver hit us with Josh Gabriel’s Forward Facing, which has been receiving much international attention over the past weeks. At that point, I was too tired to stick it out til the end, so I made my exit around 5:30am.
Overall the good people at INK definitely brought a high energy and captivating lineup to the first ever VIVA party. If this is a sign of what to expect next year, you can look forward to a ridiculously good time. I’m not quite sure how they will top it, but somehow, they always do.
Remember to check out our review of VIVA in Koolhaus HERE.
Until next time…
Anjali Handa – EDM TOR