Trance music has an incredible fan base of followers that would chase the melodies to the peak of uplift heaven and to the darkest reaches of Earth’s inferno. Eager fans of the genre from the Greater Toronto Area and abroad gathered in at BETA Waterloo last Thursday night to witness the legendary trance duo: Aly & Fila.
The crowd promptly assembled for the evening driven by the opening soundtrack led by the BETA resident DJ Adam Spears. Spears has had the honor to open for almost every major artist that has come through BETA’s doors, his tech house influenced track selection is second to none. Spears ushered in a properly delivered opening set with his aggressive mixing but yet very progressive transition to the main headliner.
Fadi of Aly & Fila represents the group in worldwide performances expanding from major festivals to intimate club sets. Aly remains in the studio due to hearing difficulties aggravated by powerful club systems and flying. Recently, Aly & Fila delivered a career significant performance on the legendary BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix. With the world still smoldering from the first Trance Essential Mix broadcast in the last two years, Fadi did not plan to let the momentum subside.
The club came alive when Fadi steps on at 12:15AM. Looking around there was substantial familiarity. Accompanying the tall ceilings, long bar, circular truss, and all that I have come to know and love at BETA, there was also the entire Toronto TranceFamily in attendance. The Future Sound Of Egypt 450 Toronto Campaign was also in full effect that night; FSOE450TO posters and bracelets were handed out in the crowd. The Toronto TranceFamily was also adorned with unique FSOE450TO shirts for the evening. It was great to see the Toronto crowd come out to Waterloo and chase some of this music we all love. To that, Fadi cued up and started to play.
The intensity of the set was immediately present with the Aly & Fila Ultra Music Festival ID opening track. The heavy psy-influenced track was coupled with storm-shattering breakdowns that grabbed everyone’s attention. Fadi selected one of my favourite tracks next, the Fady and Mina remix of The Other Shore featuring Aruna. The Fady and Mina remix captures Aruna’s soothing vocals but delivers it in classic 140 BPM trance. There is no substitute to a rolling 140 bassline coupled with a symphony of high hats.
Fadi was just getting warmed up when he unleashed the track A Million Voices recently featured on the Essential Mix. The mesmerizing vocals of Audrey Gallagher teamed up with Aly & Fila & Luke Bond is a perfect example of how much excitement trance can bring to a crowd. Cheers erupted across the club with hands in the air everywhere; everyone was basking in the moment. The simple moment in the track when the bassline was cut and in its place was simple delayed synth along with a lead was pure magic once the bassline elements came back in. The switch of contrast for a slight moment is very effective and addictive; I find myself loving the track more and more each time I come across it.
As the night progressed, the set also took a turn to a more creative side. Fadi delivered some classic sounds like a remix of Tiesto‘s legendary track Traffic. Soon after came a jaw dropping Aly & Fila mash-up of some of their biggest tracks yet: Perfect Love vs Eye 2 Eye. This mash-up still sends shivers up my spine as I remember the first time I was able to hear it live. You can find the mash-up in the Future Sound Of Egypt 400 set of Buenos Aires, Argentina from last summer (2015) to relive the moment (at 59:20).
One of my favourite tracks featured on the Essential mix was Darren Porter‘s To Feel Again. The driving 140-style track is coupled with one of the most epic breakdowns I have heard in trance, a rush of energy went through the dancefloor of BETA as it rung out. It was quite a sight to see the track played live at BETA and coupled with the bedazzling lighting orchestrated by Chris Leslie who was manning the controls. Darren Porter’s style follows this formula of epic cinematic-like trance, he is for sure an artist to be aware of. I suggest you find and listen to his Luminosity Beach Festival 2015 set.
Right after To Feel Again came one of the most anticipated tracks of the night, the Aly & Fila remix of Beautiful by Ferry Corsten. Ferry Corsten will also be making his appearance at BETA on April 1st, 2016 to continue the Transcendence Series. This early 2000’s trance track has been given a fresh spin by the Egyptian duo by hiking the BPM up to the magical number of 140. The magic in this track really lies in how the elements combined together into a bigger more epic sounding track, but the original hypnotizing vocals are ever present. The track is finally available to buy after being unveiled in the Essential Mix.
Fadi dropped another mash-up to follow, he combined Napoleon by Ferry Tayle with Aly & Fila’s We Control The Sunlight featuring Jwaydan. The vocals by Jwaydan are perfectly combined with Napoleon to create a mashup like no other. The energy exuding from the stage was incredible to say the least.
As the evening drew to a close, some more tracks from their artist album “The Other Shore” were heard. For All Time featuring Jaren was one of the final tracks of the journey before Fadi ended with Altitude Compensation. It was quite unexpected to hear so many tracks from “The Other Shore” near the end, and the surprise was more then welcomed.
The bright house light fell upon the Canadian flag that Fadi held up high and proud at the end of the show. The Egyptian Trance all-star found warmth amidst the winter with the passionate Canadian Trance fans. I am sure that I was not the only one walking out feeling satisfied with his performance. The show itself bore much resemblance to their Essential Mix and the Ultra Miami A State Of Trance 750 sets. The similarity was met with pleasure judging by the crowd’s reaction all evening, it’s quite saddening that the whole journey was only able to last from 12:15AM to 2:30AM due to city by-law restrictions. Fadi also showcased a plethora of new tracks on the Aly & Fila Future Sound Of Egypt label, the self advertisement was glorious to experience, I am sold.
With an incredible start to the Transcendence series at BETA Waterloo, In the near future Aly & Fila will come out with an announcement of FSOE 450 dates, and we cling to hope that Toronto is among those.
I will see you soon, TranceFamily, at the next Trance event.
Edmund Wong – EDM TOR