Fresh from attending the Sonar Festival in Toronto last Friday, EDM Canada went on another road trip to Montreal last Monday to attend 'CNTRL: Beyond EDM' tour led by Richie Hawtin and Loco Dice at SAT. The first surprise of the night was at how absolutely packed the venue was even though it was a Monday. The demographic were mostly males in their early twenties which is exactly the kind of age group that Richie Hawtin and Loco Dice wanted to play to when devising this tour. But this is Montreal, where electronic dance music has become a staple among young people here for some time thanks to two active afterhours clubs and being host to major EDM events such as Bal en Blanc, Piknic, Resolution, and Black and Blue. That being said, the crowd were young were more than ready to listen to what Loco Dice and Richie Hawtin were ready to deliver to them that night.
It was the first time that I attended an event at SAT (Societe Des Arts Technologique) in Montreal and I quite liked the experience overall. The entrance area is wide and airy; the bathrooms are big and well situated downstairs; there is a huge bar and sitting area at the front of the venue; and the stage and dancing area was well proportioned.
There were a few minor drawbacks though. The coat check became a major bottleneck for fans as I waited 30 minutes in line to simply check my coat. There were only 4 people working the coat check area and I would have gladly paid an extra dollar per coat if that meant more people hired and less waiting. The other minus was the lack of bar staff as I counted only 4 bartenders working the front bar with around 25-30 patrons waiting to order. Maybe because it was a Monday night and that the management couldn't have predicted the popularity of the event was the leading reason why the venue was so short staffed.
I had arrived late to Montreal and after braving the lines of the coat check I managed to catch the first half of Loco Dice's set. To my ears Loco Dice played some straight up tech house with plenty of variety within the tracks as he slowly built up the pace, then bringing them down, then up again to the delight of the young crowd. The fans relished every moment as they quickly raised their hands whenever Loco Dice pounded the dance floor with a heavier beat. The vocal elements were kept to a minimum and it seemed Loco Dice loved teasing the crowd with his variety and quick on-the-fly mixing. The last 20 minutes were my favourite as I heard some Latin inspired house beats and horn elements that really accentuated the dramatic flair that this style of EDM can bring.
Once Richie Hawtin started his set the dance floor was rushed by hipsters of all variety as many wanted a piece of the Windsor native who has become a global phenomena in dance music. Richie Hawtin treated the crowd to a peak time set with higher BPMs and a relentless thumping beat from start to finish. Even though I had wished a little more variety like I heard from Loco Dice in the previous set, Hawtin pleased the crowded dance floor as it plunged into a hot and sweaty mess. According to one of Richie Hawtin's Twitter accounts (@rhawtin_live), here was his playlist from that night:
Biella & Astrall - Colombian (Kenny
Ground Dub Edit)
Gitech - What Is House What Is Techno (Original Mix)
Boris - Give Yourself (Danny Serrano Remix
Anil Chawla - Three
MiniCoolBoyz - Dirty MASTER
OZ Artists - Old Concepts - Original Mix
A++ - Upon You (Original Mix)
fASTER - Fatima (Original Mix)
Pig & Dan - Mooshi (Original Mix)
Nsound - NSOUND trou
Technasia - Heart Of Flesh (Original Mix)
Adam Beyer - Dot
Ambivalent - Snowblind_m01
Youri Donatz, Bjorn Wolf - Fiction (Original Mix)
Johann Smog - Start Poker Black (Original Mix)
Hellomonkey - Sleeping (Original Mix)
Recondite - B - Wist 365 (Precise Master)
Enfants Malins & Haze-M - Sweet Heart
Matthew Freedz - Stems Kids
B2 - DCNT - Komakim (PLATTE005) - B2 - DCNT - Komakim (PLATTE005)
Tale Of Us - Another Earth
Exos - Many Meters Work - Original Mix
Dexter Ford - Our Sun
Encore - Plastikman - Spastik [Dubfire ReWork].aif - 1A
The event ended at 1:30 am, 30 minutes longer as advertised which was a perfect length for a Monday night event. The 'CNTRL: Beyond EDM' tour had a successful night in Montreal which showcased their distinct style of electronic dance music. It's clear that this tour had a mission and that was to introduce what these artists have been doing in underground clubs for nearly 20 years to potentially newer fans who may have been first introduced to EDM via acts such as Avicii, Tiesto, or David Guetta. In that respect the CNTRL tour has succeeded but only time will tell whether they will be able to successfully lift this style of EDM out from the underground scene to a wider audience in North America.