Rough Crew's NYE 13/14, called A Rough Resolution v.2.0, was a smashing success out of the crew that's been making big waves in Ottawa. It was a pleasure to throw down a prime-time slot to help bring in the new year the right way!
The venue, an indoor amusement park, was fantastic. Three rooms of sound were scattered amongst the bumper cars, laser tag, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, and arcade games. The sound & lighting were crisp, and the all the sets were on point.
I rolled in just before the midnight countdown to the sounds of Muggzy with some high-energy selections. Such a beautiful moment with Mandie leading the countdown of 600 hands-in-the-air ravers.
Oldschool Vinyl Syndicate crew, Slip n' Slide, had the first set of 2014 honours, and laid out a surprisingly current selection. DJ Love Hz was next up, with some bass-heavy business that built a nice dancefloor... Rudeboy = TUUUUUUUUUNNNEEEEE of the night, for sure bredren.
My set was the usual style-hopping selection, kicking off with ragga sounds, some oldschool and proper amen jungle, some jump-up, then right down to some sexy liquid tunes. I finished off with some hands-up anthems that had the crowd mashing up something fierce. The set wasn't recorded, but I'll put together something similar in the studio, and send it out as a podcast for BNE sometime this month, I promise!
Dubzee and Presha were next, taking it from drum n' bass to dubstep through the course of their set. My personal favourite set of the night was Redeyz, who crushed out a set of rave breaks, dubstep, and electro that held me on the dancefloor for most of it.
Many thanks to Mandie, Muggzy, and the rest of the Rough Crew for bringing me out, and giving me such a lively crowd to play for. Shouts to Rob & Jessie, Val, Jessie B, Katrina, Gabe and the rest of the Toronto crew, Tanya, James, Kat, Tracy, and all the other wonderful folks I met over the course of the night. Big ups to Ottawa, and see y'all again in the spring! ;)
So, we were suprise headliners in Detroit this weekend. One of their local DJs dropped out, and we were tagged in to the lineup at the last minute to bring a little something special. We also rallied up a few buddies, including a first-time raver, for the 313 experience.
Once again, the Hardcore 313 crew outdid themselves in pulling together a killer night of music. The packed out crowd really started buzzing during Donald Whan's set, and when Tranzit busted out the custom intro tune for our secret timeslot, they went nuts. The only sort-of downer was having no stage to get right up and interact with the crowd, so I hauled a wobbly bar stool out in front of the decks and did my thing from there. Not the strangest thing I've done in my time, but definitely up there. Highlight of the set for me was watching the crowd lose their shit when Tranzit dropped "Eyeopener"... and of course, a little Rage Against the Machine for the sweet finish.
Ian K and No Left Turn were up next, and dropped a hectic set of their freeformy anthems, then Marty McFly dropped the tempo a little, and murdered the place with some funky breaks business. Exhibit A:
The night gets a little fuzzy from there, because... well... Detroit.... but I'd be remiss if I didn't send a little love Lu, Donny, Christiana, Brit, Jen, Jynx, Ian, Donny, Kyle, Julie, Kayla, KLF, Ryan, and all the other folks who made that night so special.
Detroit kicked our asses in a weekend. Looking forward to coming back in February!
What an insane night. New York City celebrated the 6th anniversay of Ravers Only's Candyball on April 20, 2013, and celebrated really fucking hard.
I was at the first one. I fact, I was the first international headliner ever to perform at a Candyball, when MC Jumper handed me the mic in front of 750 people in Exit Lounge in a hard-to-get-to part of Brooklyn. I introduced DJ Tranzit to New York for the first time. We were hot off the heels of a string of popular mixes in the mid-2000s that really resonated with ravers, and the crowd was hot from the start. That was my first experience with the New York vibe, and I was hooked. Everyone was ever so excited to have happy hardcore back in NYC after 10 years. I've been back every chance I get, and I'm still proud to carry the Ravers Only banner.
I was hung over when we rolled into the venue around 10:30, thanks to a bottomless brunch experience and mid-afternoon wings with Tranzit and some old NYC friends. Security had moved that huge line in pretty quickly, and the crowd was already filling in. Mark5 out of Boston was scratching down some up-front tunes. He'd asked me to drop a few rhymes on his set, and I was happy to oblige. By the end of the set, the crowd was already shuffling.
Tranzit and I were on next, playing our customary 11 pm set, setting the tone for the night. A couple of days before the jam, Smoke had dropped the surprise headliner - Dave Pinnacle - who would be playing b2b with Tranzit. This was my first time MCing for Pinnacle, but not my first time hearing the wicked tunes he makes. They threw down some bangin' tunes for the first 20 or so minutes, then switched up the pace with some drum n' bass & drumstep that had the dancefloor going off, then smashed some vocal anthems for the last little bit. The dancefloor was packed, and our work was done.
So I thought.
DJ Spree, one of the top U.S. happy hardcore DJs ever, was on next. It was actually my first time catching him, 'cos I hadn't started playing in the U.S. regularly until after he'd stepped back from traveling so much. He was reaching across the years for his track selection. Eyeopener still has the same effect on a dancefloor as it did the day it was released. Hands up, reach up, go wild! Solid set.
Mad respect to Rob Gee and Smoke for that VIP room. Met so many awesome folks, and some possibilities for visiting new cities arose. I almost had to pry myself out of there with a crowbar to catch the headliners.
DJ Cruze was making his second Candyball appearance, after a rather epic set at Candyball 8, in 2009 with MC Jumper and myself on the mic. This time his MC was Frikshon - a name I've heard a lot about, but never seen. They had the crowd on a string, getting down & dancing reallly fucking hard. Cruze played almost entirely his own tracks, and the crowd ate them up. Well done, good Sir.
DJ Chunky and the Candyball fixture MC Casper were on next, and brought more of the up front goodness that had the crowd going crazy. I spent a bunch of time in the centre of the dancefloor myself, doing what ravers do when there's a wicked set on. Dancing my ass off.
Just before DJ Candykid's set kicked off, Hi IQ demanded a battle. I knew it was coming. It always comes when we're in the same room. His gritty, dark, industrial rhymes against whatever it is that I do. Candykid gave us some awesome trancecore to go off over, and we took it to the dancefloor with the mics. We got a circle going, and rhymed for the dancers as people brought their craziest moves. It was beautiful. Thanks, IQ, for sharing your set with me. I had to duck out a little early to "hydrate" and rest the voice before my next workout.
ValDEE out of Conneticut agreed to have me on the mic for his dnb set in the second room. Another guy whose mixes I'd heard, but never seen live. He was playing a set of beautiful atmospheric dnb, that the kids in the room were blissing out to. I took the mic down to the floor to stay the fuck out of his way, and started running some rhymes. A few guys asked if they could do a verse, and they seemed legit, so I handed it over. That's when I got the pleasure of hearing MastaChief - the voice of NYC, and a guy named Lenny Castillo who was spitting FIRE in Spanish. Stay in touch boys - I want to hear more of your stuff!
So, I closed down another Candyball. I think the only time I didn't stay to the end at one was... ah, that's another story for another day. As always, it's the people that make the party. Much love to Rob Gee, Smoke, Paul, Bob, Justin, Alex, Frikshon, Chunky, Slava, Mark, ValDEE, Mark, Brittany & the Detroit crew, Ashley, Sapphire, Keetenz & the rest of the Pretty Girls, Josh, Rayne and everybody else that my blurry mind hasn't pieced together yet. So much looOOOove.
The first 40 minutes of Pinnacle & Tranzit's set was recorded (no idea what happened to the rest), so pending approval, it should be on my Soundcloud soon!
It's almost four days after the jam, and I'm still basking in the afterglow.
That should be review enough in itself.
Hardcore 313's fifth instalment of their zombie massive was superlative, and for so many reasons it's still hard to process. It began like any other Saturday night for a Canadian - with hockey and beer. Maybe the crowd at the game should've tipped me off that Detroit's a little bit crazy to begin with, but how was I supposed to know?
Tranzit and I rolled into the venue about 10:30, and the place was already buzzing. Donald Whan, one of the promoters, was laying down some heavy dnb, and there were already about 1300 people milling about and dancing. InfiniteFX and Detroit Rave Scene's sound & lighting rig was over the top big, and my brother from another mother, MC Hi IQ, was blessing it with some rough rhymes. After a few hellos, and a beer to calm the nerves, it was time to step up on the decks. Donald Whan closed off with a little Harlem Shake, and turned it over to me.
Before Hi IQ had even finished the intro, the junglists in the place were already jumping and shouting. My first track dropped like a bomb, and the crowd only got crazier and crazier. Lu, the promotress, told me later that everyone in line was singing along to "I Need A Dollar"... and I think someone in the back actually crapped his pants when I dropped "Tarantula" early in the set. I brought the energy level back down a little with some techier and liquid stuff. I looked up long enough to watch the crowd explode when the drop on "Running" hit and grinned like some sort of fairy tale cat - it's moments like that that inspire me to keep performing. Bigger and bigger the tunes got, until I finally unleashed a final 10 minutes of the grimiest dubstep I've got, and laughed as the dancefloor disintegrated into a thrashing mess chanting "DE-TROIT! DE-TROIT!" Second last track was a special CanCon - A Tribe Called Red's "Electric PowWow Drum" - a gritty take on traditional pow wow music. As for how it ended... well...
I have to thank MC Hi IQ for blessing the mic. As an MC, there aren't many MCs I can stand, let alone love & respect their body of work. He's one of them. He murked it hard that night, and sounds fantastic on the recording.
DJ Entity, the main headliner out of the UK was on after me. Unfortunately I was so distracted after my set, trying to come down from the high of it all, and change my mindset from the decks to the mic. I do remember kicking back in the VIP and hearing the crowd chanting "WHAT! WHAT! WHAT! WHAT!" over that wall of sound they call a soundsystem in Detroit. The crowd was a sweaty mess by the time I stepped back on the stage at the end of his set, so you know he killed.
Tranzit and I's set was mayhem. The front three rows were climbing over each other to reach up to the stage. I've never been grabbed so much by a crowd before in my life. It was a beautiful sight - 2000 pairs of hands reaching up for the anthems, 2000 heads bouncing to the bassline. So much love and positive energy. About 20 minutes in to the set, Tranzit mixed in "Jump Around", and... well... I've never seen a crowd go off like this before...
Yeah, put your girlfriends up.
From there, Tranzit went into a little heavy dnb and drumstep, smashed out some newschool anthems, then finished off with some oldschool cheese, just for good measure. The crowd was absurd throughout. Crowdsurfing, moshing, hands raised up together - Detroit represented all that makes the rave scene wonderfu. It was hard to say goodbye, but what better to close a zombie rave with than MJ's "Thriller"? Yeah, that's what we thought too.
Dopamyne, a gabber DJ out of Quebec City was on after us, and dropped a huge set of party gabber that the Detroit crowd ate right up. Now that the pressure was off, I finally had the chance to raise a glass with my partners in crime - Tranzit & Hi IQ - and meet some of the wicked partykids. Shouts to Todd, Chad, Molly, Kayla at her first rave, Brittany, Kari, Chelsea, Julie, Kristin, Zak, Sylus, Jordyn, the Ottawa crew, Timmy, Dani, Clive, Margaret, Val, Yoshi, Justin, Jen my Daddy's Girl for the night, and all the other wonderful people I met. Jumanji closed the night with some fiiiiiiilthy big room jungle that fit the closing slot beautifully.
Most of all, thanks to Lu & Donny for exceeding the high expectations you set, and for treating us so well. Rest up and enjoy your laurels. I'll play for y'all any time.
I can't keep this a secret any longer. I was thinking about making the announcement just before my set, but I just can't wait to tell everyone. My set in the second room at TRR7 will feature the first ever live rave performance by the incredible Ms. Ginger St. James.
I saw her perform at a burlesque show in Ottawa a few years back, and I was absolutely floored how this little pixie with a big blue guitar could have such a powerful & expressive voice. We've stayed in touch, and we've got some projects in the works together now - stay tuned for more on that - and finally I have the privilege to share her with you.
Step 1: Listen to a couple of her songs.
Step 2: Buy your TRR 7 Tickets.
Step 3: Get fucking excited. I am.
Wow, what an incredible & exhausting weekend in New York City! Ravers Only & The Positivians packed 1500 amped-up ravers into the NYC Arena for one unforgettable night, and things did not disappoint.
After a critical grotburger stop, our "spacious limousine" rolled up in front of the venue a little after 10. Genki was laying down a solid set, and the dancefloor was filling in nicely. Tranzit & I owned the 11-12 slot, and we had a few tricks up our sleeves that we were more than a little excited to drop on the crowd. We opened with oldschool anthems (Heart of Gold ftw), since we figured that'd be the last thing y'all expected, then a little of the smashy stuff, and a House of Pain remix that is just delicious.
A lot of the rhymes I dropped during the set were world premieres, including a little call & answer called Lean & Mean which we dropped out of the break. Monster tunes followed - the kind that you can only get away with playing at 11:20 at a party like Candyball. Why the fuck not?
Then, we killed the rave. Then it was resuscitated.
MASSIVE shouts out to the wicked dancers who answered the call to the centre of the dancefloor. Some seeeerious moves among the Candyball crew for sure! We closed with a little Rage Against the Machine - Killing In the Name of - dedicated to all of those who told Smoke that Happy Hardcore would never be successful in New York. Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me.
Much love to the minxes from Pretty Girl Productions and Fire Angels for keeping the vibe on the stage one step above the crowd all set!
We gave away 200 copies of Bass, Love & Unity through the course of the set to all the crazyass motherfuckers nutty enough to come anywhere near those bassbins to bust your moves. Those are the only hard copies of that mix that will ever be made. Hope y'all enjoy 'em.
All the rest of the sets in the main room were off the hinges: Hixxy scratching down bombs like only he can; Alex Prospect dropping MONSTER original tunes with the lovely Becci giving a live performance of We Like It Loud that brought the house down; No Left Turn cracking out home-grown American happy hardcore; and one of my favourite parts of Candyball - going back to back on the mic with Hi IQ, Caspa, Skatty and Jumper in the heart of the dancefloor during Candykid & Starkiss' closing set. The party closed out with the perfect moment - Smoke announcing that the next Candyball will be even bigger! B'oh!!!!
Love to all the wicked people I shared moments with through the night. Sipping gin & juice with the legendary Frankie Bones. Clowning around on stage with Rob Gee. Knocking back shots with Lu, Donny & the Detroit crew. Jenn & Dave. The chick with the wicked tattoos I met while pimping CDs in the second room. Ashley Skittles, Dynamic, Sam, Bryna, the chick who loved a paddlin', Chad Beatz4Brainz & Molly, DJ Wulf, Holly & Dave, American Sam... the list goes on.
I have every intention of putting together a video blog of the trip, and a composite video of the set, so watch this space.
From what I can recall of the booze-soaked fragments I call a long-term memory, the weekend as a whole was epic. Some lovely collegiality between many of the performers in painting the town on the nights before and after. Much love going out to MC Jumper, MC Casper, MC Skatty, Alex Prospect & Becci, the ROC Stars, Dynamic, Christine, Eliza & DJ Tranzit for enjoying the city with me! I'm sure our paths will cross again soon, on this side of the Atlantic, or yours. ;-)
The final word is a thank you:
To Smoke & Rob Gee. Class act, start to finish as alway.
Much love. <3
Be there, or forever live with regret.
Facebook - Event Page - Website
Many thanks to the dedicated crew over at Nocturnal Commissions for another beautiful night of music. I had the luxury of attending just to dance, mingle, and hand out a few of the last remaining copies of my Tragic Hero mix. It had all of the usual NC tricks - luminous deco, surprised headliner (see below!), free fruit & freezies, friendly security, and bangin' sound & lights. This time also saw them put together rave books for the kids who weren't around when we used to do that back in the day, and orchestrate a gift exchange, for which I brought a hideous leopard print cowboy hat... that some Americans would call cheetah print, but I digress.
Set of the night was definitely the surprise headliner - the lovely Ms. Jimni Cricket out of Seattle. Big tunes, big bass, and some scratching badness, wrapped up in a bundle of positive energy that had the crowd going off. Arizona's DJ Rize won serious points for amping the energy level, and Nefti's rave breaks set inspired some serious jungle style dance moves. Actually, what really struck me about the crowd is just how good the dancing was. Apparently Tdot has moved past the standing and bopping/minor shuffling phase, and has gotten back to seeeerious rinseouts. Mad respect!
Much love goes out to the new friends I made throughout the night and the weekend - Jimini, Rize, Madeline, Sam, Tom, Carli, Peter Plurtastik and Lina are the names that survived the beer-soaked haze that passes for my short term memory. It was a pleasure to run into George, Aimee, Tranzit, Xphox, Liz, Snow, and Caitlin throughout the night. Special love going out to my fellow old fogeys - Dakota Barnes & Steve Surreal. B'oh! A million thanks to Dynamic and the whole NC crew who run 'tings properly. Big big big event coming up November 10th, so keep your eyes on the prize for the full details, soon come!
I never thought I'd be on a boat. Well, that's a lie, I spend a fair bit of time on boats. But I was on a boat. At a wicked party. On a boat. You get the idea.
Daydream and TEC's "I'm on a Boat" jam was everything I've come to expect from them. The lineup was smashing, the kids were mad for it, and the scenery was absolutely beautiful! The River Gambler was a great setting, the weather was perfect, and we set sail on a sea of beats! I had a friggin' blast working with the Missile Posse, Dynamic & Saiyan for a little 'ardcore mayhem, Jakazid all the way from the UK, and even a wee bit with the Toronto legend Marcus Visionary.
Even with all the mayhem upstairs, I don't think I enjoyed a set more than Capital J & Marty McFly back to back on 4 decks. They sent a message to all laptop DJs about what DJing really is. What a beaut! Shouts to Mr. Brown and MC Frequency for a solid set to cast us off. Mr. Brown is too good to play that early, but set the tone beautifully.
Shouts out to all the oldschoolers I linked up with - Athena, Jesse, Brittany, J, Marty, Marcus, James, among others. Massive shouts to the new friends who reached out on Facebook to say hi - Emily, Kinchy, Aimee, Paul, Mike & Shelby. Big up yourselves, look forward to seeing you again... and of course, the usual suspects - Shane, xphox, JD Mack, Timmy, Caitlin and the rest! Much love!