On Friday the 13th, 2013 I finally got to experience first-hand Foundation Fridays at Toika Lounge—what a treat! The venue itself is amazing; Toika is in a somewhat secluded location, with an intimate atmosphere that isn’t overcrowded – there’s even incense in the bathrooms and by the bar as a nice touch. Top that with a small community of chill people there to enjoy themselves and get immersed in the night, and you have a great environment to come and enjoy some classic trance music. One of the perks of such an intimate setting, is it provides an opportunity for event-goers to meet artists. Early into the night, I had the honour of meeting Sean Tyas as he was casually sitting in the back of the room.
When I arrived at around 11, not too many people were there, but after an hour or so the club was packed and going strong thanks to the strong opening act, Shane Halcon. Since I heard he was a former member of First State a while back, I expected to hear some First State tunes; though we were treated to a nice remix of their classic tune Falling (featuring the beautiful vocals of Anita Kelsey), the set was more oriented towards Sean Tyas’s style, appropriately getting the audience pumped for the man himself. The set included hints of big room house, electro, while eventually upping the tempo and sliding into some classic trance and tech trance later on in the set. Some other highlights of Shane’s set included a take on Mat Zo’s Lucid Dreams, and Martin Garrix’s Animals done right in the Broning tech trance bootleg.
When Tyas took over the decks at 1, the energy in the room picked up even more, as everyone cheered and Tyas showed some love to his fans in the front row. Of the songs I have heard from Sean Tyas, I didn’t end up hearing very many that I knew at all; however, it didn’t matter as the vibes were strong and the music went hard the whole night. And while I may not have recognized his own tracks, there were definitely some classic trance songs that I recognized throughout the night. It was a joy to hear John O’Callaghan’s Big Sky (feat. Audrey Gallagher) come on near the beginning of the set (mashed up with another tune) – everybody was singing along, and you could tell it was only going to get better from there. Another beautiful classic was Bjorn Akesson’s instrumental masterpiece Perfect Blue, as well as an updated remix of the popular Sanctuary by Gareth Emery and Lucy Saunders (again – loud singing for this one). Probably the biggest highlight of the night was when Sean’s song Lift came on. I knew it was one of my favourites, and I quickly found out that it was everyone else’s too; after only a single note of the melody was hinted at, the crowd instantly recognized it and immediately began cheering wildly. It was such an uplifting experience feeling the same love around me that I felt of the legendary tune. During the whole set, Tyas was constantly dancing and flashing infectious smiles, which affected the whole audience.
I have only a few criticisms of the night. The first was that the lighting and backing display was shut off in the middle of Tyas’ set. I found it strange that everybody was dancing in complete darkness. However, it definitely did not take away from the intimate night with Sean Tyas and Shane Halcon. I was also secretly (and selfishly) hoping Tyas would play more of his popular tracks, especially my personal favourites, but when one has produced countless songs over the years, you can’t expect to hear them all!
If you’re a lover of trance, Toika Lounge is the place for you, especially if you shy away from the larger and more crowded venues. Toika Lounge is a friendly place full of genuine electronic dance music lovers and enthusiasts eager to enjoy themselves into the late hours of the night. Overall, my first Ozmozis Foundation Fridays experience was fantastic, and the night was full of constant good vibrations. I will definitely be returning again soon! Many thanks to Shane Halcon and the legendary Sean Tyas for making my first experience at Toika Lounge a great one – please come back soon! The next Ozmozis event will be Simon Patterson at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club on College St. West. Pick up tickets ASAP online here on wanttickets.com.
Richard Granholm – EDM TOR