Walking into Toika Lounge on Friday December 21st, I was absolutely stoked for the night ahead. Ozmozis Productions booked Irish DJ/Producer Bryan Kearney for his first ever show in Toronto. Known for his trance and techno flair, Kearney has been in the DJ scene for well over 10 years and has made waves in the industry producing alongside John O’Callaghan, Giuseepe Ottaviani and more. I’ve been listening to his monthly podcast, Kearnage, for some time now and was so happy to see Ozmozis bringing this amazing talent to our city. And what better venue than Toika Lounge? It’s a place that has become a favourite amongst trance lovers in the city.
Upon entering Toika, I immediately noticed the new arrangement. Rather than being in the front corner of the lounge, the DJ booth had been expanded across the upper platform, allowing the DJ to be more front-and-centre for his audience. The larger DJ booth also allows for more than two people to be behind the decks, creating more room for organizers, staff and DJs to settle in. With that, the speaker placement also changed, which I expected would enhance the sound system while creating more space on the dance floor. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the sound quality that night, but later heard of speaker dysfunctions that were the likely cause. Well, it happens to the best of us, and luckily the music that night was so good the sound issue was negligible. The issues have since been resolved and sound at Toika is back to normal, if not better than before.
The night opened with resident DJ, Mr. Morton, on decks doing his usual thing. Morton has become a master of reading this crowd and studying the style of his proceeding DJ in order to create the ultimate warm-up experience. When I arrived, at approximately 11:30pm, Toika was the busiest I had ever seen it at that time and Morton was having a blast on decks. Mixing and mingling amongst the crowd were Shane Halcon, formerly of First State and Arnej, Toronto-based DJ/Producer. Given the warm crowd, the intimate atmosphere and the amazing music, Foundation Fridays have become a spot to meet and greet some of the movers and shakers in the trance scene in Toronto. Not a bad place to hang out if you ask me.
Transitioning onto the decks close to 1am, Bryan Kearney kicked off his set with Coming Soon’s Limitless, followed by some nice tech house like Stefano Noferini’s Airscape at a very trancey 140BPM. We heard a nice blend of trance favourites including Emma Hewitt’s Foolish Boy remixed by John O’Callaghan, Eddie Bitar’s Rollercoaster and Andy Moor’s Halcyon (Alex MORPH remix). Kearney also played some of his own productions like his remix of John Askew’s Battery, his own Get The Edge and his collaboration with Jamie Walker, Natarja. The dance floor was packed the entire night with music lovers escaping into the various sounds of trance. A personal highlight was when Kearney dropped Photographer’s Airport, a track I have been in love since I first heard it a few months ago. Those who recognized it went slightly crazy with their hands in the air, praising the DJ for recognizing the beauty of the song.
Near the end of the night the Ozmozis’ signature panda head was brought out and passed around the room. Rumour has it that Kearney himself put it on, however I, unfortunately, was not a witness to this so I cannot attest. Try checking out our photo album and see if you can find him!
Being the last real trance event of the year, I have to congratulate Ozmozis for ending 2012 on a high note. We were uplifted, we were banging it out and we were taken on a musical journey that has become rare to come across. Ozmozis deserves great credit for the artists and experiences he has brought to Toronto. His 2013 schedule is filling up as he promises a “140 year ahead”. I can’t wait to see what Oz has up his sleeve – I’ve certainly made my requests very apparent to him, hopefully he’s been listening!
If you happened to miss Bryan Kearney’s appearance, worry not. You can catch the recording on his Soundcloud.
You can also check out EDM TOR’s photos from the night on our Facebook page here.
And remember, to stay up to date with Trance events in the city, check out the Ozmozis Facebook page here.
Until next time!
Anjali Handa – EDM TOR