What a crazy day November 23 was. Toronto was hit with snow squalls, gusting winds and frigid temperatures. Driving was a nightmare and I was recovering from a throat infection. I took solace in knowing that, despite all of the craziness, as of 10pm, I would be warmed by the sounds of Flux and Beat Service inside Toika. I try to be as objective as possible in my reviews, however, I have to admit that I am a bit biased here—Flux is a good friend of mine. He always brings his A-game, works the crowd into a frenzy and manages to blend tracks from all over the map. I know how hard he works and when I see that translate into a great set, I can’t help but smile a little bigger and dance a little harder.
As I entered Toika at around 10:30pm, the first thing I noticed was the new LED screen on the wall behind the DJ booth. It’s nice to see Ozmosis care enough about its patrons to invest money in such a small venue in order to better the experience.
Every time Flux performs he draws his friends to the venue which only makes the crowd, the atmosphere and the energy that much better. Flux had the crowd bouncing, grooving, jumping and going crazy with songs like The rave (Tocadisco Remix) by Dr. Kucho, That Sound by Mark Knight and Stefano Noferini, Alcoholic by Tim Berg and a personal favourite of mine, Rotonda by Pryda. I could tell by the looks on people’s faces and how quickly their feet were moving that they were just as enthralled as I was. Then came a rather solemn moment; recently, one of Flux’s friends had passed away, and in honour of their memory, he played You’re the Sun to me by Faithless. I’ve always been amazed at Flux’s ability to communicate through his sets. Even though he’s relatively new, he has characteristics that are mirrored in the veterans of dance music. But alas, as all good things must come to an end—it was 1:30am and Beat Service was set to go on.
Right from the get-go, Beat Service drowned the crowd in driving bass lines and techno inspired trance that is synonymous with Coldharbour Recordings. He set the tone with his very own track, Arcade. Shortly thereafter, he switched gears, keeping the crowd on their toes, incorporating songs from every era in recent trance music history, and each major trance artist. At around 2:00am Beat Service launched Toika out of Earth’s atmosphere by dropping Flight 643 by Tiesto, an all-time favourite track of mine. The energy was indescribable. With each song, the crowd found a new dancing gear and ramped up their energy. Beat Service knew he was destroying the crowd, but decided to assault those on the dance floor even more with songs like Fortuna. Phew, time for a breather.
Beat Service controlled the energy and got the crowd singing and clapping by working in more melodic tracks like Waiting For The Night by Armin Van Buuren and For Who I am by Bobina and Ana Criado. In keeping with the melodic theme of the next section of his set, Beat Service started dropping OceanLab songs one after another. None drew a bigger reaction from the crowd than Satellite. I couldn’t help but throw my hands in the air and belt the lyrics as loud as I could—it had been such a long time since I had heard this song in a club setting. A quick look around Toika and I knew that I wasn’t the only one that shared this sentiment.