EVENT REVIEW: Labour of Love at The Guvernment 31-08-14 by Adam Micallef


When I arrived at The Guvernment shortly after 11:00 p.m., a sea of ravers had already engulfed the front entrance for the last Labour of Love. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought the party was taking place outside. At one point the guest list line nearly reached Lake Shore Blvd. In all the years I’ve been attending events at Guv, I’ve never seen it this busy. This is likely a prelude to what the last few chapters in the history of this iconic venue will look like.

By the time I get in, it’s after midnight and Oliver Heldens has already taken over the main room. The 19 year-old is controlling the decks like a veteran. He drops his hit single Koala and Jack by Breach, a song that was played at least three times by three different DJs throughout the night. Then he drops a house remix of Mark Morisson’s Return Of The Mack,  a song that was originally released when Heldens was only a year old. The main room is now jam-packed and I’m finding it hard to breath as the air had begun to mimic that of a sauna. I slip past the corner bar into Chroma where I’m greeted by a cooling breeze and the sweet sounds of Techno being spun by Manzone & Strong. 

The atmosphere is electric; as the rhythmic sounds and fresh air hit me I’m instantly re-energized and drawn to the dance floor to join in the party. I don’t know if anyone can truly grasp the difficulty of what this duo was pulling off, yet again. Over the years Joe Manzone and Fab Strong have played at The Guvernment hundreds of times and yet every single set is somewhat unique. Many international DJs can tour with the same set for months; these two manage to re-invent their play list on a weekly basis without ever deviating from the sound their fans have come to expect. They never get stale and I will never get sick of partying with Toronto’s favorite DJ duo. I got completely wrapped up in the moment dancing away with the rest of the Chroma crowd and lost track of time.

When I finally make it up to Skybar I realize I’ve missed another of my local favorites, Joee Cons. I had fully intended on catching at least part of his set but anyone who attended knows how easy it was to become enthralled by the truly remarkable, yet chaotic atmosphere. EDX was now in the DJ booth and a set that started out with his classic relaxed beach club sound was rapidly ramping up. After he got everyone, including the crews seated in Skybar’s many booths, up on their feet and into the frenzy on the dance floor with one of his more recent songs Cool You Off, he quickly transitioned into another of his summertime releases Make Me Feel Good.

Photo belongs to Adam Micallef of EDMTOR. Photo used with permission.
I was a little surprised to be hearing these tracks with almost an hour left in the set, EDX however had a much more energetic close in mind. I begin to hear the first notes of Josh Butler’s – Got A Feeling (Bontan Remix, Pleasurekraft Edit) seep out of the speakers. The hair on the back of my neck is standing on end as I’m sure it did for any music fanatic when they hear a song that their brain has forged an emotional connection with. EDX continues with this higher tempo for the rest of his set much to the delight of the somewhat more mature crowd that was occupying the rooftop. I look up and notice a hulking shadow being cast over the DJ booth; it turns out to be Comfort Zone resident DJ Deko-Ze. This tells me two things, 1) a serious tribal dance-off is about to commence, and 2) it’s nearly 2:30 a.m. and I’ve lost track of time, AGAIN. As much as I would love to stay and vibe with Deko-Ze, I know that I’ve only got half an hour left to see the legend that’s playing in the main room.

As I head down the stairs I’m awestruck by the energy Eric Morillo is generating. I grab the railing trying not to slip on the steps that are now soaked with condensation. Anyone who has ever attended a sell out show at Guv is familiar with the infamous stories about how the walls sweat, but on this night it was taken to a whole new level. After making my way to the front right side of the stage I felt water droplets landing on my head; not only were the walls and floors sweating, the ceiling was sweating too.

Of the 7,000 (capacity) people in the complex the majority of them are in the main room and there’s not a single person who isn’t dancing. The first recognizable song I hear is a personal favorite by Live Element, Be Free (Oliver Remix). The rest of the crowd loved it too, they erupted in agreement as the tracks vocals came in, “live your life, be free” and that’s exactly what we were doing. At that very moment, the weight of every negative thing that had ever happened to anyone in that room completely vanished. Our souls danced, our hands waved and we felt the meaning of true freedom. As his set came to a close Morillo played a remixed version of Swedish House Mafia’s Save The World. Again the entire audience was completely transfixed as they blurted out the chorus and shuffled along to the familiar rhythm.

I headed back into Chroma where Hatiras and MC Flipside were spinning back to back. The new Claude VonStroke track CaliFuture is bumping and the vibe is exceptionally energetic. Unfortunately, this Toronto duo has drawn so much of a crowd that Chroma is now almost as hot and hazy as the main room. So I head back up to Skybar for some fresh air.

Back on the rooftop something militant was taking place and the general, a now shirtless Deko-Ze, was bouncing up and down behind the DJ booth, as if to command the crowd to do the same. Just as good soldiers do, everyone bounced along obediently to the rhythm. I have just a single track I.D. for this entire set (Green Velvet – La La Land), partially because I too had joined the militia of bouncing bodies, but also because Deko-Ze has a talent for finding the most excellent, obscure material. It’s as if he owns a secret record crate that the rest of the word is not privy to.

Australian DJ Dirty South was someone I thought might lighten up the heavy helping of true bass thumping, Guv style house music that had dominated the night, but as a good DJ always does, he calibrated his audience and kept the bass coming. Finally, to close out his set he played the one track that I had envisioned him playing since the day I found out he would be part of the last ever Labour of Love. As soon as I heard “everything seems like a city of dreams” I knew the moment had arrived. I quickly whipped out my camera and struggled to focus it as the excitement welled up inside me. I tried desperately to keep the camera still while dealing with the tremendous velocity of the force that’s created by thousands of people who are experiencing one of the best nights of their lives. City Of Dreams swept through the crowd and within seconds everyone was singing along “I never know why but I still miss you”. That song really encapsulates my night because Labour of Love 2014, you seemed “like a city of dreams, but I still miss you”.

Honorable mention to Mark Oliver who not only started the night in the main room, but closed it too! He’s been a fixture at The Guvernment over the past decade and I really hope INK finds the right spot to give him a new residency once Guv is closed. To all the other DJs I was unable to cover, Peter Zurub, Joee Cons, and Tyrell & Quim; to even be selected to play at an event this monumental puts you in a class of elite DJs and I have no doubt your sets were also enjoyed by everyone who experienced them.


Erick Morillo

Dirty South 

Oliver Heldens


Manzone & Strong 

Mark Oliver 


Joee Cons

MC Flipside 



Adam Micallef EDM TOR



About Author

Adele Desloges

Adele is the owner of Tranceported. She also heads up the social media as well as the photo and video teams, and was a promoter of events across the Toronto area for years. She has been a fan of Trance music since the mid-90s and has been shooting Trance events since 2011..

Comments are closed.