Twenty year old Porter Robinson is no stranger to Toronto’s EDM scene with shows performed at The Hoxton, Sound Academy and now Koolhaus in the Guverment Complex. In the past year Porter has risen to fame after the huge success of his debut album Spitfire which was signed on Skrillex’s label OWSLA. This was followed by the release of “Language” and “Easy,” a collaboration that was produced during his last tour alongside Mat Zo.
Circle Assembly was originally set to stop in Toronto on February 8th but was re-scheduled to February 15th after one of Southern Ontario’s worst snow storms hit our city. Whether it was the need for an EDM show considering the slew of cancellations across the city (due to the storm) or just the new popularity of Porter (since rising 54 spots on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJ list just a few months ago), Koolhaus was completely packed and full of energized fans. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at the Guvernment Complex.
The night began with St. Catharine’s own Sour DJ’s, who have been quickly making their mark in Ontario, recently closing for Hardwell in Hamilton during his North American Tour. The duo set the stage with a mix of tech house sounds, a different experience then I had seen earlier this year after they opened for Adventure Club during Guvernment’s 16th Anniversary. Nonetheless, the growing crowd was definitely impressed. As more and more people entered the venue, we were almost forced to dance along as fans fed off each other’s anxious energy as we all awaited Porter.
At precisely 12:00am, Seven Lions took the stage. I was immediately entranced. I had been waiting for this moment for almost a year, after originally hearing Seven Lions on Above and Beyond’s, Trance Around the World Podcast. Seven Lions, now signed to OWSLA, originally came to fame after winning Above and Beyond’s remix competition for You’ve Got to Go. Known for his beautiful mix of harmonized and melodic dubstep, I have yet to be disappointed by Seven Lions. Although he played only for an hour, his set managed to encapsulate all the different styles found in the music he’s produced over the last year. His set transitioned flawlessly between progressive trance tracks such as W&W’s White Label and Lift Off to Excision’s Sleepless while also playing tracks form his newest EP “Day’s to Come”. Closer to the end of his set he played his remix of Tritonal’s Still With Me and of course the song that kick started his career, You’ve Got to Go.
I’m always surprised by the EDM crowd at Guvernment, although the music was fast paced with tons of pulsing bass and people jumping around everywhere, you would be hard pressed to see anyone pushing or shoving – instead the music created a unified atmosphere. I was even shocked to hear voices singing along, to almost all of Seven Lions’ own music – I guess I wasn’t the only one who had been anxiously waiting for this show.
As 1:00am approached the collective voice of the crowd gradually faded from singing along to Seven Lions, to a deafening “Por-ter! Por-ter!” Once Seven Lions’ performance had finished it was followed by a curtain of darkness and anticipation for Porter had infected everybody in the room. Suddenly, bright yellow and blue spotlights dissected the crowd, accompanied by the haunting opening sounds of Porter Robinson. The set took off like a rocket, and the lights illuminated the room to match the auditory intensity. The familiar sounds of The Seconds faded into Vandalism then Unison announcing Porter was indeed gearing up for an epic set. His sound was eclectic and versatile as he transitioned between a variety of electronic sounds, from Gesaffelstein’s Control Movement to a pop house sounds such as Icona Pop’s I Love It between his own songs Say My Name, Easy and even 100% in the Bitch. He transitioned each song with harsh almost glitchy effects that had me wondering if they were songs themselves. As his set progressed the large LED screens in front and behind the booth flashed a mix of images and symbols that though sporadic, melded perfectly with the mixed genre set. Images of pyramids faded into mosques and Egyptian eyes, arrows into triangles then squares and barcodes to static. The rollercoaster of a show finally came to an end with Language, Porter fading the vocals in and out to let voices in the crowd rise above the music as confetti filled the room and groups of friends huddled together singing along in unison to his final song.
Leanne Feeney – EDM TOR