REVIEW: Markus Schulz Open-Close Marathon Set 29-06-13 @ The Guvernment by Monika Sobota


Amidst the craziness of the Canada Day long weekend and Digital Dreams, on June 29th, 2013, The Guvernment Nightclub and INK Events took it upon themselves to make history. It took two online petitions, and a couple of years of social media attention, before INK organizers commissioned Markus Schulz to make dreams come true with his very first open-to-close solo set inside the Guvernment Nightclub. Famously known as The Unicorn Slayer, Markus is a legend for performing his marathon sets all around the world, some spanning over twelve hours.

On this historic night, everyone inside the (beyond) packed main room of the Guvernment Complex was fortunate enough to witness a nine hour set, and Schulz, as always, did not disappoint with his musical journey down the infamous rabbit hole. If you are a fan of Trance, or Markus Schulz, you were probably there; the entire Toronto Trance Family was in full force. There was constant hype over this event from the moment it was announced back in early April. Everyone in attendance knew exactly who the Unicorn Slayer was and what he was all about; quite a few of us were with him when he pulled off an epic four hour set last September inside Kool Haus for Labor of Love 2012.

For those who don’t know him well, German-born Markus Schulz is an icon within the Trance music scene, best known for his trademarked deep and darker sounding Trance. Hosting an extremely successful weekly radio show called Global DJ Broadcast, Schulz has been ranked among the best in the world over the last ten years. Does anyone wonder why he’s called the Unicorn Slayer?  During an interview last year with Mixmag, Markus was asked where the name came to light, and this was his reply: “By ‘unicorn’, people mean tracks with really fluffy melodies. I don’t do this; I’m more into square waves and pitch bends. Somebody tweeted a while ago, ‘Markus Schulz: the unicorn slayer of trance,’ I retweeted it and it trended.” – the rest is history!

Fully prepared for a marathon ‘slaying’, my arrival for this event had been planned, thoroughly, long in advance. Many of us not only had Markus Schulz to see, but a whole day at the Digital Dreams Festival right before him. I arrived just shortly after 11:30pm and although there wasn’t a massive lineup just yet, it was already packed inside the club. It was a shock to learn that tickets started at $15 since INK events usually start at a minimum of $20 and upwards to around $50-$60 for the really big names. They sold quickly, and, although I do not believe they sold out before the show, it definitely felt like the event was at its maximum capacity.

When I entered through the doors, Schulz was already a half hour into his marathon. I quickly made my way to my usual spot in the front left corner of the main room and stayed there for pretty much the entire night. With each passing half hour, the Guvernment dance floor changed from busy to packed like a sardine can, making it difficult to dance freely. It was becoming difficult to take my mind off the growing crowd and focus on the music as the temperatures inside reached to unspeakable levels. Every time I go to the Guvernment for an event, I take note of how much sweatier I am compared to the last time, but this time it was insanity; myself and every single person around me was literally dripping with sweat. The CO2 Cannons had their work cut out for them at this event and were literally going off every couple of minutes to try and keep the inside of Guvernment from bursting into flames (not literally) from so much body heat on this summer night. Noting how incredibly hot it was, I found a spot up on a speaker platform and climbed up there. I had a perfect view of Shulz while continuing to dance my heart out to all the best he had to play. With a set full of vocal trance, dark trance, tech house, progressive and all the best tracks, and personal favourites that pulled me deep into the abyss, Schulz delivered a set that blew everyone away.

Around 6:00am, and now almost 7 hours into his set, Schulz spoke up to say: “Hello Toronto, things are going to get a little bit weird…” This was code for “we’re going down the rabbit hole.” This was the portion of the night when the music took me down a rabbit hole (think Alice in Wonderland) and into the unknown – something Schulz is well known for. Shortly after he announced he was taking us down the dark rabbit hole, I noticed that the sun was quickly rising, and the open patio doors were letting in way too much sunlight. It was in this moment (and one I will never forget) that Markus got onto the microphone, again, and said: “Close the doors you’re letting all the unicorns out!”

I lasted through an entire day of bass at Digital dreams, plus an entire night of magic with Schulz, but I had to throw in the towel at 6:30am. As I left, the main room was still pretty full with EDM-survivors determined to dance until the bitter-sweet end. Markus Shulz finished around 8:00am. Nothing will ever again compare, in my books, to this night at the Guvernment (until Markus comes back for round 2?), and, although, many people say it was too packed inside, to enjoy the experience to the fullest, I could not have asked for a better show. This night will go down in history as the first open-to-close, solo set inside The Guvernment, and I’m so happy that The Toronto Trance Family got to experience this night and be a part of it. Thanks to INK Events for finally making this dream come to light, I hope to see more events like this in Toronto very, very soon!

Monika Sobota  EDM TOR


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