I'm still in recovery mode after experiencing a very fun night at the 18th edition of Bal en Blanc in Montreal. The lineup was absolutely stacked and I was beyond excited to see how the night was going to unfold. I was not disappointed as the atmosphere was amazing while some DJs put together some fantastic sets.
Here are some of my thoughts:
Arty: Felt like his set was like listening to the Beatport top 100 track list from 2 months ago. It didn't feel like he gave us anything original and even when he did play a few bangers he cut it short too quickly to mix in a new track which killed my vibe.
About an hour ago Arty said this on his twitter: "Finally at home after probably hardest week in my life. Good things happend and really not so happend also. Just happy that we passed on." and "Thank you everyone for your support, feeling much better right now. Fully recovering next 3 days."
Apparently Arty was a no-show for his Toronto Guvernment appearance last thursday so he was probably really struggling to get through his set on Sunday with whatever is ailing him at the moment (edit: it's acute bronchitis).
Beat Service: A very good opening set from the trance room. It was more on the melodic side and I really enjoyed it.
Jochen Miller: The best 10 minute opening of the night, very high energy, Jochen was jumping around and so was I as his energy was infecting the crowd in a very good way.
Armin Van Buuren: The man, the myth, the legend. Coming off from his very successful ASOT 550 world tour Armin must be feeling like he's on cloud 9 right now. I came to Bal en Blanc being a very big fan of his because of the recent sets he delivered in ASOT 550 LA and ASOT 550 Miami where he rocked the crowd with relentless harder trance beats.
I had a lot of fun watching Armin from the front row but had hoped that he would have ditched some of his slower vocal trance tracks for a dirtier and darker vibe that I know he's perfectly capable of delivering if he wanted to. To be fair he did give us a few of those types of tracks but I wanted more, way more.
Fedde Le Grand: I briefly checked out his set a few times throughout the night and was really impressed. I don't know all of the house anthems out there so many of his tracks were sounding fresh to my ears and had a good time.
Markus Schulz: Stole the show and was the highlight of the night for me. This guy knows how to work a big room like the Palais des Congres and he gave me exactly what I was hoping to see from Armin which was deliver a darker yet high energy set that got me moving. Markus is a master of his craft and it was really an honour to see him live for the first time.
Unfortunately I had to end my night earlier than I would have liked as my girlfriend literally couldn't keep her eyes open at around 6:30 am so I had to be the good guy here and leave before I could see Ferry Corsten, Danny Tenaglia, and Ben Gold.
Having to leave Markus Schulz before he was done was a painful thing to do but admitedly I was tired as well and didn't mind the idea of crashing in my hotel room for some much needed sleep.
Fortunately I will be able to see him sooner rather than later as Stereo Nightclub announced that Markus Schulz will be coming back to Montreal to deliver a sure to be epic 6 hour set on June 15th! This is an event that I will NOT miss and you shouldn't either.
One thing that I'd like to state, and this is important: the bathroom situation for women needs to change for the better next year, full stop. My girlfriend and I bought a regular ticket and was astonished to see only two bathrooms with two toilets each for women in the entire venue! For an event that probably had close to 15,000 to 20,000 attendees having only 4 toilets total for women for regular ticket holders is a real shame. The bathrooms were great for guys as we had 3 urinals plus 2 toilets and I never had to wait longer than 5 minutes to go but for women the wait could have been up to 30-45 minutes based on the lineups. Adding a few temporary toilets could have saved us all a lot of hassle.
P.S. If you want a good laugh go check out some of the discussion of the event in the Bal en Blanc review thread at the Tranceaddict.com forum. I will state on record that I completely agree what was said about Nadia Ali's performance.