REVIEW: Freedom @ The Guvernment Part 1 19-05-13 by Sabino Furlone

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As a writer and contributor for EDM TOR, I am sent to events to cover them in their entirety. This means I am required to review my experience of the night as a whole. This includes but is not limited to: the crowd, the atmosphere (in every room), the visual production, the amenities available for the patrons and the quality of those amenities, the flow and organization of the security, bar quality, and other notable highlights. Freedom is one of The Guvernment‘s biggest events of the year and the music should be the sole reason as to why one would attend – to see and rock out to our favourite DJs as they play their “artist-unique” mix of hit tracks blasted at supersonic volumes. I feel like this last point was at the bottom of my list of things that impressed me last Sunday, May 19, 2013.

I walked into Kool Haus, where the General Admission line up started, around 12:45am.  It was pretty full – walking around comfortably was a difficult task, even around the perimeter. It made sense, at this point Bassjackers was spinning B2B with Ferry Corsten. I decided to take that in for a while because this was the first highlight of Ferry’s “FULL ON”, and his first appearance of the night. I bought a drink at the back bar (which took literally no time at all, kudos quick bartender) and found a nice pocket within the sea of people in front of the sound booth. I only stayed for 10 minutes but it was enough for me to understand what had been happening in Koolhaus for the past two hours. I anticipated an intriguing mix of Bassjackers’ electro and Ferry’s trouse, but instead was disappointed to hear an overly aggressive mesh of what I thought were tasteless bass lines. Within that 10 minutes, I heard 3 “oops” moments – mixing errors on I don’t know whose part. What was more disappointing was it seemed as if no one could point them out. Now I wont open the “EDM educated crowd vs. band wagon rave bros” jar because that’s a whole different conversation, but Kool Haus was way too one-sided for my liking.

Source: Visualbass / The Guvernment

Source: Visualbass / The Guvernment

En route to The Guvernment main room, I quickly passed through Chroma to hear 30 seconds of aggressive dubstep, courtesy of Dr. Ozi. I couldn’t distinguish the sound, but the crowd was loving it. Upon entering the main room I had quickly remembered why that line outside was so big. I was engulfed in a sea of people shoulder-to-shoulder trying to navigate around the room rather than dancing. Coming from a rock n’ roll background in live entertainment, navigating through a rammed EDM crowd doesn’t phase me, I always get to where I need to go in a matter of seconds.  For others, one who wanted to get a drink at the bar across the way was looking at a good 10 mins of mobility plus the wait at the bar at least. It felt like there was an unreasonable amount of people in main room. I suppose security can only control that to a certain extent, and I feel that this is a reoccurring issue that will inevitably never be resolved at big parties like this, so I’ve learned to accept it. Arty was playing big-room electro, but again was undistinguishable due to this technique that all electro DJs seem to love to use. Just like in KoolHaus, I heard nothing but bass-lines. No structure, no breaks, no melody, just bass and “the sickest drops”. But that’s Arty, and that’s what he does well. I had fun for that 20 minutes but honestly that’s all I needed.

Source: Visualbass / The Guvernment

Source: Visualbass / The Guvernment

Gareth Emery. I chuckled at the rock star move he pulled by starting his set 15 minutes later than he was supposed to, and I don’t think anyone else minded either. After a long droning orchestral intro, I was more than ready for a 90 minute taste of Garuda, but unfortunately I was let down. I would be ignorant to say that I was anticipating trance and progressive, and I wasn’t – just a mixture of modernized Garuda and relevant tracks, perhaps similar to his weekly podcast. Low and behold, we got consistent Americanized big-room electro. I’m not exaggerating when I say I only heard one Garuda track, and that was Gareth’s re-make of Meet her in Miami. The biggest reaction in his set was when Tiesto’s Maximal Crazy was played out which, in my opinion, is getting a bit old for Gareth. Even my friend, who doesn’t listen to a lot of EDM, jokingly asked me half-way through the set, “Dude, when does Gareth come on?” In short, this went on for the remainder of Gareth’s set, with the addition of an excessive amount of poorly timed smoke cannon usage.

Source: Visualbass / The Guvernment

Source: Visualbass / The Guvernment

Once Nervo took over, it almost seemed as if the party finally started and the crowd moved again. I say this in regards to their selection of music as Gareth’s ensemble of tracks was universal and safe, playing out anthems and hit singles. Nervo’s style however is edgy, hot, and flamboyant, playing cutting edge EDM. I appreciated that and think it’s very suitable for these fashion-forward ex-model twin Aussies. I actually wanted to stay but needed to check out Tritonal back in Koolhaus. It wasn’t as packed as it previously was, so I plowed my way to the middle of the dance floor. I caught Ferry and Tritonal playing out their last track B2B, so I can’t comment on what that was like.  However, I will say that I found Tritonal disappointing for the same reasons as Gareth’s set. I know Tritonal isn’t the same trance duo I fell in love with, and that’s okay, but I feel their transition from trance and progressive to painstakingly cheesy commercial house is way too abrupt for me. Again, I had anticipated something along the lines of their Tritonia Podcast, but instead was pummelled by extra commercial hits and cheesy electro. As a result I left after 15 minutes into their set.

I suppose everyone played the safe game that night, because it all sounded the same.  Perhaps this event just wasn’t for me. It was for the EDM lover who would like to experience several headlining DJs at once. Perhaps they listen to a few podcasts, but haven’t necessarily followed them for a while. The high price ticket was attractive, only because the higher the price the dirtier the bass (yes I just used that analogy, quote unquote from someone I overheard at Freedom). You know what, everyone probably had an awesome time because on a positive note, if you’re into “the sickest drops”, “unnecessary amounts of nasty bass”, and “I think I’ve heard of this DJ, I heard he’s pretty dope” then this show was definitely for you.

Sabino Furlone  EDM TOR

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