I usually would never leave a main event early to guarantee I made the after party, but Live Nation’s Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival on February 2nd was an exception. It was a simple matter of math; at Echo Beach, Dubfire was only on for 2 and a half hours, at Footwork he would be on for at least 5. He started off his night at 9:28pm, hot and heavy with some techno to thaw the cold souls dancing away on the frozen shore. He opened with Matthew Jay’s unsigned track Nebula Particles, which was immersing to say the least. Dubfire continued his hard sound until I decided it was too cold and getting late, I skipped out on his set half an hour in to ensure my entry to the after party.
As I arrived at Footwork it was a little after ten and there was already a small line in the alleyway, I only had to wait for a few minutes to be let in though. As I entered, I felt instantly comfortable; Footwork is like an old familiar friend that I can’t wait to spend time with. The music, always impressive, the place, always welcoming and the people are always vibrant. The Junkies were the first act on the roster for the after party, they weren’t part of the Brrrrr! Line up but they are local superstars with multiple tracks signed to Dubfire’s Sci+Tec label. My enthusiasm to hear them was only rivaled by the anticipation of seeing the Prince of Darkness himself.
Along with Carlo Lio, The Junkies: Vince and Val, are the pride and joy of Footwork, so it was a delight to see them open the night for my favorite DJ’s debut at the club. The club was not nearly as packed as I expected but I knew it would soon reach capacity. The place looked as though the DJs were simply performing for a group of intimate friends and one could tell they were relaxed and appreciating playing in their hometown. They were having just as great of time behind the booth as the eager clubbers were on the floor. For their performance, The Junkies employed the use of AiAiAi Tma-1 headphones and version 2.6 of Native Instrument’s Traktor software along with a Kontrol X1. And the duo delivered their usual enthralling interpretation of bouncy dark tech house that had the crowd eating out of their hands and salivating for more.
At around 12 am, The Junkies wrapped up their opening set and handed over the decks to the female techno powerhouse, Magda. Known as Richie Hawtin’s exclusive opener at one point, Magda paved the way for women in techno with her organic and sparse sound. She changed up the vibe, but the crowd was relentless. They seemed to respond to that minimal eclectic tone she is known for and appeared to thoroughly enjoy her despite their voracity for the next act. In the booth there was a glowing Allen and Heath Xone K2, perfect for all of the layering she manipulates and quality sound. She began her performance with a cool tranquility and maintained this through the entire set along with a few demure smiles and head nods. Magda’s performance was inspired and unique as she made way for her successor. She exited the booth around 2 am after Dubfire joined her.
Dubfire first emerged from the Grammy award winning duo Deep Dish and has since then gone solo, but with no less accomplishment. Known for his groundbreaking versatility he continues to awe crowds and DJs alike with his technological genius. The first time I experienced a Dubfire party I was completely enraptured by his journey-like productions and effortless flow, so I was prepared for a wild musical ride. Dubfire began with his signature distorted and haunting vocal that he starts most of his sets with. The edacious crowd erupted with cheers as he displayed a heart symbol with his hands and lead into Mat Sassari`s Remix of Conspiracy 1981 by Fernando Guzman, which he played another version of later on in the night. He had a very colorful set up going on with his Kontrols X1 and F1 and Maschine Mk2, even his USB cables had color to them. One could tell he was very pleased by the Footwork sound and crowd he was playing for, and that he was enjoying his time. Near the opening he was sure to reference the local talent and mixed in a couple of The Junkies productions while pointing and smiling at them.
His set featured many unsigned tracks, as well as tracks by heavy hitters such as Marco Carola, Ron Costa and Jaime Jones. The vibe Dubfire fashioned was dense and deep, not unfamiliar to Footwork, and covered a vast realm of different sounds – always centralized around the caliginous yet quirky manner his fans love. He played on ruthlessly through the night; he didn’t even blink when a fire extinguisher randomly exploded and half of the crowd cleared out coughing and spluttering. People thought it was fog until the entire floor was filled with it and they realized they weren’t able to breathe, many people just moved to the side and continued their frolicking to the satiating beats. A typical Dubfire party: unexpected and memorable. Towards the end portion of his set Dubfire decided to bring back Magda for a back-to-back special! The people who stayed gained new gusto at the sight of this and began to dance harder, with many fans staying till the very end. Dubfire tapered off an unforgettable night in Toronto with a slower, stripped-down minimal tone and ended with Multiple Mono`s Little Helper 58-1 just before 7 am.
Check our our Brrrrr! Winter Music Festival recap article HERE.
Anj Mahabir – EDM TOR