On Friday night, Electric Escape and INTOK Entertainment brought us another segment of U4RIA featuring trance powerhouse, Standerwick. This would be my first visit to Toronto’s newest venue, Forbidden City. With their new venue in full operation, Electric Escape and INTOK have been bringing consistent bookings of international acts such as Bassjackers, Mark Sixma and Yellow Claw. Friday’s show was a trance showcase of two of Toronto’s top talents and England’s, Standerwick. When I walked up the stairs of the club I was greeted by friendly, organized event staff that quickly processed me through the media list and then my friends’ tickets. As we walked into Forbidden City my first impression was a feeling of knowing we were in for a good night. This venue is beautiful. It is clean, classy, well-organized and has crisp sound. Forbidden City is the perfect place to see some of the world’s best talent in an intimate setting with all of the bells and whistles of a top tier nightclub.
To open the show we had Toronto’s DeeCee on the decks. As we walked in, he was hammering the sound system with some tech-house. As the club started to fill with people, he started to drive the energy up with some progressive trance. With the crowd already on the floor dancing, we got to hear some of the best tracks that are being played to dance floors all over the world. Deecee had the club bouncing to the signature sounds of Fatum with their track Outlaw. As the set progressed the vocals of BLU EYES came across the dance floor in the form of Sheridan Grout‘s track, Freefall. I really wanted to get a feel for the new club so I was moving around to different parts of the room to feel out the sound. DeeCee dropped one of my all-time favourite tracks, My Reflection by Andrew Rayel, and no matter where I was in the club the sound system was quality. With the energy and tension rising in the room, it was time for DeeCee to hand the controls over to Standerwick.
The last time I personally saw Standerwick was when he was in Toronto as part of Armin Van Buuren‘s, A State Of Trance 750 celebration. My memory of that show was amazing. That night back in 2016 was a pivotal moment in my transition of a casual dance music lover to a full-on trance addict. As the British trance legend steps up to the decks, the room is electric. He wastes no time getting right into the hard and heavy beats that we have been anticipating. I moved to the back of the room so that I could take in the visuals. Forbidden City does not cut corners on production. They have an amazing LED screen that engages the entire room along with the panning lasers, revolving heads and Co2 cannons. The quality of production is top-notch. I was finding it hard to engage with my friends in the club and document the night as I was getting sucked into every track that Standerwick was playing. He dropped classics, like Tiesto‘s Traffic (Arkham Knights Remix) which immediately got a positive reaction from the crowd. While my friends and I danced the night away Standerwick reminded us of why he is held at such a high standard. He was playing tracks that are apparently so exclusive my Shazam app won’t pick them up. As I sit down to write this review and try and hunt down the track names and artists, all I am coming up with is, ID-ID, remix ID, ID remix. I’m defeated. He dropped in a dance classic that even non-dance-music-loving people would recognize – Darude‘s Sandstorm. But there’s a catch; it’s a remix-ID. I’m left writing this with the realisation that this man is the reason why live shows are still magic, with all of their hidden gems that only the lucky people who decided to make the trip to the shows will really get to experience. After I scream-sang along to Gareth Emery and Standerwick’s Saving Light, featuring vocals by the stunning and talented Haliene, he leaves us with another classic that can easily be identified; one of his most popular remixes to date, his version of Coming Home by Dash Berlin. As he ends his set, it feels like the night has just evaporated in front of me. Lucky for me the night’s not over and there’s more trance to come. After I quickly fanboy and grab a picture with Standerwick, I head back over to the dance floor to pick up where I left off, this time with Electric Escape resident and another GTA favourite, A.D. The Kid.
Before A.D. The Kid took over the dance floor, I was able to chat with him a bit about who he is, and where he is coming from musically. His passion and energy for trance was exploding out of him as we talked. A.D. is not here to pull punches and play it safe. He is here with a very clear goal to smash the dance floor and leave everyone in a trance. After our conversation, I was fully sold and anticipating his set. As he took over for Standerwick, he made a flawless transition picking right up where the trance legend left off. He brought an energy that filled the room and kept us all moving with tracks like, Gladiator by RAM & Exis and Hellfire Club by Sholan. As the night came to an end, I left the club feeling satisfied. It has been a long time since I personally had a solid night of trance. I look forward to coming back to Forbidden City as they continue to pump top quality acts through their venue.
Phil Martiniello – EDM TOR