There is almost no other DJ on earth that can take the mainstage and own it like the Dutch legend can. While he's experimented with different styles lately, the first half was purely a big room exhibition which was adored by the younger crowd. The full power of the the mainstage was at the behest of Tiesto as the pyro, lighting, and more was fully unleashed in a coordinated dance to bring max energy.
The 2nd half of the set was when things got interesting. He went a bit darker starting with his remix of his classic track "Silence", then hit the crowd with a deeper vibe with Simon Field's remix of Nina Simone's "Feeling Good". After a few moments of educating the crowd of the deeper side of electronic dance music, Tiesto brought it back hard with his hit track "Boom". You never knew what he would play next as the 2nd half included throwbacks, Latin EDM, and remixes. This was mainstage Tiesto at his best and was a fitting end of the first night of ÎleSoniq.
Crushing everywhere he goes, Orjan Nilsen's mix of trance and elements of big room translated well to the Montreal crowd as his huge style and personality behind the decks came through loud and clear. Even though he likes to bring the biggest energy tracks to the festival stage, he also didn't forget the more emotional side of trance. The highlight was when he played "The Hardest", which features the soaring vocals of Rykka, the talented Canadian-Swiss vocalist. Orjan is a beast in the studio and continually delivers memorable live sets who deserves a shot at a night time festival slot in 2018.
At only 19 years old, Alan Walker has already assembled an impressive discography, boasting millions upon millions of plays on multiple platforms, with no indication that his run will slow down anytime soon. His 2015 smash hit "Faded" had put him on the map, but it is recent tracks like "Tired", his Sia and Julia Michaels remixes, that have kept his momentum going strong. Playing his productions with big room bangers and remixes of his more down tempo tracks combined for an ideal day 1 set at ÎleSoniq. Watch out for Alan Walker to make an even bigger impact in 2018 and beyond.
The vibes were deep and vibrant as Damian Lazarus provided the perfect atmosphere for an afternoon set. It takes a few minutes to walk up to the Neon stage but once you're there you notice a slightly more mature crowd and a lot of dancing - a welcomed sight. In certain parts of the Neon stage they had these plastic air bubbles that gave a distinct trampoline effect which added a unique jump to your dance moves. Highlights included the Catz N Dogz remix of "Woman Of The Ghetto", and Pirupa's remix of "Wonder" by Junior Jack.
Fresh from his European and Ibiza summer tour, Cedric Gervais got the day 2 crowd going with his big presence behind the decks on the mainstage. Known for his Lana Del Rey remix that awarded him a Grammy, Cedric has been active in the studio with "Touch The Sky" and his chiller release "Somebody New". But the track that is catching fire is something he cooked up in David Guetta's Ibiza studio 2 weeks ago, which is his remix of "Mi Gente" by J. Balvin and Willy William. The track fuses latin and electronic beats that sounds fresh and builds on the mega success of the Despacito remix with Justin Bieber. Cedric showcased all of these tracks and more for his memorable Montreal set.
In one of his highest festival placements yet, KSHMR took advantage of his opportunity by cranking up a set mostly composed of his own tracks infront of a crowd wanting to party extra hard after the short rain break. While some DJs that took the stage earlier in the day stuck to the safer options of playing tried and true bangers, KSHMR instead focused on highlighting his own tracks. The graphics of the show also told a story, and throughout the set there was a graphic narrative played that told a story while the crowd got a breather from all of the jumping. Big room might have had its day in the sun, but its artists like KSHMR that keep the genre going forward thanks to his releases.
The festival grounds
ÎleSoniq was hosted in a different part of Parc Jean-Drapeau this year, which resulted in a huge new festival ground to walk around and explore. The mainstage was among the largest stages I've seen this summer, with the secondary stages being just as impressive. There was plenty of space to sit down and relax, and if it got a little too hot, ÎleSoniq had 2 water mist areas to cool you down. If anything, there was perhaps almost too much space between stages as a trip from the mainstage to the Neon stage could have easily taken 20 minutes. But if you had a choice between too much room, and not enough, I'd chose the extra space everytime. Overall Evenko did another superb job as ÎleSoniq drew perhaps the largest fan attendance this summer.