EVENT REVIEW: Dirty Decibels Presents The Thumpin Pumpkin @ District 28 on 28-10-16

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It was Friday, October 28th, 2016, the night launching Halloween weekend, and the festivities were sure to be packed with people wanting to start off their celebrations with a blast. Luckily I had secured a spot at Dirty Decibels’ Thumpin’ Pumpkin and before going in I knew I was going to be in for one hell of a ride. Like all fiscally responsible adults, I had a couple drinks before the ride over to District 28; a warehouse space selected for this event by Danny Thrax and Ben Cormier who are the eponymous house DJs. The ride over to the warehouse was fun to say the least; I was accompanied by folks dressed up in their halloween best and the subway offered a spectrum of inebriation from sober to simian. It took me about and hour to arrive at the warehouse space neatly tucked into Logan Ave in an industrial area in lower Leslieville. Although the location was somewhat remote, it made sense why they would pick it. With no neighbours to make any sound complaints this party could get as loud as it wanted and go on until dawn.

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I finally arrived at the party, fashionably late, and despite the cooler weather (compared to what we had seen earlier that week) people were lined up outside, waiting to go in. Some folks were taking a break from dancing and were in groups chatting it up while enjoying a good ol’ fashioned smoke break. One guy was even rolling his own – cowboy style. This bunch had brought the party outside with them and were keeping themselves amped up. While waiting in line I made quick friends with some people and could hear Sean Roman finishing up his set around 11:30PM.

Normally the Dirty Decibels prefer to use Round, a quality club located on Augusta Ave in Kensington Market, but they had intended for this to be their biggest party yet and District 28 offered up the right amount of space. The dance floor was absolutely packed from wall to wall with hardly enough space to get through as I made my way into the venue. People were obviously having a good time dancing because it was warm in there but they all were dancing up to storm. I had to check all my gear at the coat room because there was no way I could survive the event while wearing a jacket or sweater. It seemed as though almost everyone was wearing a costume and in the Halloween spirit. Throughout the night I saw more than my fair share of Bob Ross (TV Painting Guru), Eleven (Sci-fi Netflix Hero) and even a ZigZag Rolling Papers Package wandering around. I took the time the check out the entire space and ventured over to see what was going on over on the dance floor. I noticed snacks, a body painting area, and acrobats performing aerials. I knew this was going to be a killer night ahead of me.

I spoke to one of the aerial performers, Emily Hughes, for a few minutes while she had a break between her acrobatic sets. Emily is a veteran in the circus scene here in Toronto and has been performing for 15 years. Starting at 8 years old, Emily has practiced and taught at the Harbour Front Camps Circus Camp which ran between July and September this year. Emily felt that the crowd was “encouraging, enthusiastic, and super positive”. I asked her what she does when she not dangling over hundreds of people at events, and she said she can be found teaching at the Hercinia Arts Collective and at the University of Toronto Athletic Centre. Sadly that was all of the time we had to chat before she had to be back in the air again.

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With Dirty Decibels wrapping up soon I made my way to the front of the stage. I wanted to properly introduce myself to Danny and Ben as we had only had a quick greeting in passing prior to their set. Crossing the crowd proved to be a task but I was able to overhear some of the collective thoughts that were transpiring. Most of the chatter about the party was good. People  loved the sound system, the space, the performances and the vibe, but they had some complaints regarding washroom and bar wait times. The biggest concerns were the line ups. I heard a few people say they were waiting for twenty minutes to use the bathroom and roughly ten minutes to reach the bar. I think that could be explained by the sheer number of people in the warehouse. I made it to the front and caught the end of their set around 1AM, just in time for their introduction of Detroit Swindle. The crowd was already hyped up from the Dirty Decibels’ set and then went wild as Lars Dales of Detroit Swindle kicked off his first track. Sadly, Maarten Smeets was not present as a family emergency had caused him to catch a flight back to Amsterdam. I hope everything is fine with them and we see Maarten again soon.

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After a quick exchange between the artists, Danny Thrax led me back through the crowd to a back room where the staff were periodically taking breaks. Danny, a youthful, enthusiastic, and charismatic guy, made sure that the staff was well hydrated, fed, and that all of their needs were taken care of as they came and went during our brief tête-à-tete. I asked Danny about the bathroom situation since the lines were really long. The answer was pretty simple, and exactly what I expected. Since it was their first time using District 28 they weren’t expecting the amount of people that ended up in attendance. The party was so large that they sold 500+ tickets and people were STILL lining up at the door, paying full cover, and trying to get in at 1:30AM!

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It was during my little discussion with Danny when one of the staff entered with a case of oysters and a shucking knife. Naturally, I started shucking oysters for whoever came through while Danny and I continued talking. Danny told me about how he and Ben had played at Bestival this past summer, and explained how they have been doing events and performing together for roughly two years. Ben made an appearance towards the end of our sit down and we were properly introduced. For most of the night Ben had been running around taking care of issues as they arose but was still calm, authoritative and centred in the frantic energy of the party. They both thanked me for coming and for helping to fill the crew with oyster, then made their way off into the night to deal with pressing party matters.

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I stayed in the back room a little longer talking to an assortment of amazing people who were involved with the party in one form or another. It seems to me that the Dirty Decibels have created a community of artists, set designers, performers, photographers, ravers, and staff that enjoy working with them and work with eachother regularly. I checked the time and sure enough Detroit Swindle’s set was coming to a close so once more I made my way to the front the stage and took the opportunity to grab some final photos and videos from behind the booth and in the crowd. There were still at least 100 people in the warehouse dancing to the remixed disco beats at 4AM. I quickly said a thank-you and goodbye to Lars as he wrapped up and starting packing for the night. I could see the crew was eager to clear the space and get home. Dirty Decibels had been a success and I can’t wait to see what they have planned for the next one.

TeamEDMTOR’s hearts and thoughts go out to Maarten Smeets and whatever difficulties he and his family may be facing. 

LINKS:

Event page
Production

Detroit Swindle
Website
Facebook
Soundcloud
Instagram

Dirty Decibels
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud

Sean Roman
Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud
Instagram

Sebastian Richard – EDM TOR

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