When the Desert Feels Like Home

I went to Coachella.

However, by venturing into the desert I actually went home.

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The talent at Coachella is second to none. There are definitely aspects of the festival where improvements can be made, but in terms of artists, I don’t think another festival holds a candle to this line up.

So how do you choose? How do you choose between staying in the beer garden with friends, grabbing food and running into the most beautiful people you’ve ever seen in VIP, Skepta, The Belleville Three or anything inbetween? Well, for my first Coachella (as I constantly had to repeat) I decided to go home.

I made an effort to see Toronto acts. Why? I know I know. I could see them at MOD club, or beg this person or that person for a ticket, but I wanted to see how Toronto was received on the international scale. I went to see Nav who brought out the Weeknd, and Future who called out the best or worst thing to happen to Toronto (depending on who you ask), Drake. I ventured into the Sahara tent for Tory Lanez, and caught the middle part of Majid Jordan’s performance.

In short: Toronto was received well. Really fucking well. The talent and popularity of Toronto artists could not be overlooked and to witness that was pretty rad.

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I saw groups go absolutely wild when Drake was brought on stage and then recite “Gyalchester” in its entirety.  Yes, when living in Toronto it’s easy to overlook the celebrity of our current pop stars. It’s easy when we are constantly exposed to a new OVO merch drop, radio show or label signee from around the 403W but seeing these artists at arguably the biggest festival was something special. People went wild wild for them. When the Weeknd came out people rushed over to the tent, simultaneously exposing the up and comer, Nav, to hundreds of new fans.

I’m proud to live in Toronto, and if these stars prove to be a reason why someone takes a second glance at Toronto and contemplates visiting, then yes, let the kids sing.

Of course I mixed in the acts I deemed unmissable- The xx, Nicolas Jaar, BANKS, Stormzy etc (as well as a Day 3 bacon grilled cheese en route from the magical healing Rose Garden to Lorde at mainstage- duh).

Going to Coachella and in turn the desert was such a wonderful experience, but to be able to feel a sense of home while standing in the middle Indio, CA was truly heartwarming, and a little emotional- just like Toronto likes it.

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Stay Home at Club 120

I’ve talked about the feeling of home. The feeling of finding a place, or being with someone that makes everything feel a little bit more comfortable.

This is what we want. We want you to Stay Home.

When I moved to Toronto not too long ago, it was the small intimate parties that quickly stole my heart. They felt like home. They were close knit and had a sense of family. The kicker; the music was fucking dope.

Now fortunate enough to help throw parties like the ones I first attended (only better- imo) with my favourite people in the city.

On Friday, March 31 My Side Project (comprised of Yung Choe, Big Daddi Hale and myself) team up with the boys of All Blak Records to invite you to Stay Home at Club 120. We invite you to be amongst friends, and experience what this city truly has to offer. And let me tell ya, it’s pretty fuckin great.

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On the decks we have a buffet (ps. this is maybe one of my favourite words in the English language, who doesn’t love a buffet?!) of what they do best- play music to make you feel, dance, shake, move, and most likely stay out way later than you intended.

Don’t worry it’s a Friday.

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As a little taste before the big night check out these sets by the boys:

Steve Marto- NORTHMIX

Steve Hale- Purple

Paul Quzz- Lost in Chinatown

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So please, stay home.

(this event is unofficially sponsored by Nando’s)

More than the Music: Electric Island S4E1 Review

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Photo Cred: House of Lords

 

I’ll admit it- I had forgotten how how special the event is and how much fun I have at Electric Island.

Even while writing this post leading up to the event, I wrote it remembering the feeling, but not quite being able to get back to it.  It had been awhile since we last danced together at Hanlan’s Point.

It didn’t take long for me to remember. Arriving on the island (after an expected battle with the water taxi lines) I instantly felt at home, which is interesting because as many of you know, I’m more of a dark lit club, smoke machines and one red light in the back kind of girl.

But this felt right.

May 2-4 long weekend is always a gamble with the weather. This year we were lucky and were blessed with some of the nicest weather we’ve seen yet. The beautiful day and weekend set the stage for fantastic day at Electric Island.

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Photo Cred: House of Lords

Since it’s inception four years ago, travelling to the island during every long weekend in the summer has become a tradition it appears the entire city has started to cherish, and rightfully so. No matter the line up of talented musicians, the crowd is more than ready to celebrate.

But as I started talking to the attendees, it became very clear everyone had come to the island with a similar mentality- to welcome summer and see friends. While it is sometimes difficult to coordinate all your friends coming together in the middle of winter to one set bar, it seems to be oh so simple in the summer. Meet me on the island. Meet me in the sun. Meet me on the dancefloor.

And dance we did.

While my favourite sets of the day were Job Jobse and Jamie Jones (shoutout to Sven Vath and DJ Tennis though who both killed it) the day was so much more then the music. People were enjoying the food trucks, picnic tables, and ping pong tables. Despite the obvious growth in number of attendees, the organizers have managed to keep the feel of the festival.

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Photo Cred: House of Lords 

Talking with attendees, it seemed they all felt the same way I did. Excited that the festival was growing, and although hesitant at the beginning, it was confirmed on Monday all the feels will still be felt. The sense of community on the island is not lost. The sense of coming together to celebrate summer, music, friends and family was not lost.

I am so for the future Electric Islands. It’s more than a music festival. It’s a day with friends, it’s a sense of belonging and a sense of community. Not to mention when the weather cooperates, it’s a beautiful day spent outside.

I can’t wait for Canada Day.

 

More than the Music: Electric Island s4e1

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How do you celebrate the start of summer?

Growing up in Brantford sumer was marked by the opening of the most lit franchise in the 519, Dairy Queen. Okay yes, it opened for Valentine’s Day, so summer wasn’t necessarily close, but it was always a beacon in the cold winter that promised warmer days.

As I got older summer continued to be marked by the opening of DQ, the changing of my closet, the start of the NBA playoffs, and in recent years, the first migration to the island.

This season we HONOUR the start of summer by the first instalment of Electric Island Toronto.

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Credit: Ded Pixel

This is the fourth season of the unparalleled Electric Island series and with it’s growing fan base it begs the question, WHY is it so special?

There have been some absolutely phenomenal sets played at Electric Island- The Martinez Brothers, Tale of Us, Seth Troxler, Jamie xx, Bob Moses, and Joy Orbison to name just a few.

However, I argue it’s not these world renowned musicians that make the island so special (though they help).

It’s the people. 

It’s the people who attend the concerts, pre at their friends’ place in City Place (“I live SOOOO close”), wait for the ferry, line up for a water taxi, and make the trek over. EI has created more than a stellar event for the heads of Toronto.

Electric Island has become our homecoming. It’s the gathering of all the different sub scenes and sub sub scenes seen throughout Toronto. It brings together the lovers of Coda, to the devotes of Nest, and keepers of Bambi and the dancers of Toika together.

The lovers of disco, the cravers of techno, the hipsters of house, and the ones who simply want to dance.

Electric Island is more than an event, it’s a community.

We meet for the first time on May 23rd for a (sort of) celebration of Queen Vicki but more so to welcome summer. And since summer is probably the only thing Torontonians love more than acting like they don’t care, everyone is pretty excited.

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We’re spoiled once again this year with amazing acts on for every EI. The opener will treat us to sounds by 416 favourite Jamie Jones, the great Sven Väth, and the ever techno DJ Tennis. For support, local heroes Nature of Music and Jonathan Rosa will be warming up the decks

We have the wonderful people at Platform, Embrace, and Footwork to thank for moulding this community into something so treasured.

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Credit: Ded Pixel

 

I went to Western University, so unlike those who attended Queens during my time, I know what a homecoming is and how it makes you feel. The island manages to conjure up those same feelings- ones of home, love, and belonging.

However, I can confirm the Hanlan’s Point has way better view than Concrete Beach.

I can’t wait to meet you on the island.

Stay tuned for post event coverage and see what others are saying about the island and if you need to grab tickets you can contact me at thatcbear@gmail.com or buy online here

Seriously, Stay Home.

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We’re pretty lucky in Toronto. There is a constant cycle of great musicians thrust upon us week after week, month after month.

But for some, it’s not enough. Some want and demand more.

Some travel to Montreal regularly (SAM)  Others leave us for NYC (LAUREN), London (SERENA), LA (GRIFF), or Berlin (EMMA) forever. All craving that elite party; the party they’ll boast to their friends about for years down the line.

You know the lines…

“One time, I saw him”

“This one time she played until 9am”

“I’ve never heard a set like it since”

You’ve heard all these lines countless times. But now, it’s time to Stay Home.

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My Side Project and All Blak Records are House Addict are so so thrilled to present to you Staying Home with :: Santé.

Because we don’t want you to go to Montreal for anything other than smoked meat sandwiches and the best fucking bagels on earth. We don’t want you to be tempted to leave us for London or to hear about another unforgettable time at Panorama Bar . We want to bring to bring the party home and we want it to be one you’ll never forget.

You’ll want to replay the night from start to end multiple times. So we’re doing just htat.

Supporting acts feature the best of the best Toronto has to offer, no, not the 6ix. TORONTO.  Paul Quzz and Steve Marto will be warming up the decks followed by Andrew Choe, and Jeremy Stott.

Followed by the incredible Santé who seems to be gaining thousands of new fans daily.

This is a night you’ll remember forever.

The night you chose to  Stay Home.

For more information visit the Facebook event page here.

The ticket link page here.

Listen:

 

and if you ned a bit more convincing to Stay Home. Stay here for a bit.

I can’t wait to Stay Home with you, and Santé.

 

 

S.I.L.O Returns to Save You

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Branded nights and different parties come and go in a city like Toronto. The scene is so deep and so diverse it causes constant turnover. When one party dies another one is born. *cue Lion King Circle of Life music*

But sometimes, a party isn’t quite done. It hasn’t reached it’s full potential, it hasn’t had the last drink poured, or the last song played.

This Friday, we welcome back a party that left us too soon, S.I.L.O. (Saving Individuals Like Ourselves).

Being held at a new venue (Toika) Friday night will be sure to take you back to the first time you walked down the stairs to the basement. This time there won’t be a basement, but there will be a others like you; others searching for something to hold on to; anything that can help them make sense of their perpetuating need for further fulfilment. And in this time of need we look at music to guide us. We look to baselines, and snares, and claps and maybe a soulful vocal- to help us through the night.

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To curate the night, the founders of the original party have been brought together alongside some new company. The original S.I.L.O crew is joined by All Blak and MySide Project as we try to save ourselves, and you in the process. We’ll hear all our favourites on the decks- Andrew Choe, Patrick Blue, and Matias Busato.

S.I.L.O is at the core, a simple concept. It’s a party, yes. But it’s a little bit more

For those who want to be saved, who are in search of something else; feeling lost in the depths of the universe.

SILO is an accumulation of ideals, a collective of individuals vested in bringing like-minded people together upon the common ground of one thing, music.

We are here to save you.

See you Friday.

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RIP Biggie Smalls

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It’s been 19 years today since Christopher Wallace was gunned down after a party in LA. He had released one album (Born to Die), and his second (Life After Death) was released sixteen days after his death. He was born in Brooklyn and quickly rose as one of the best MCs in America, and eventually the world. Biggie was heavily involved in the East vs West rivalry that developed during the mid 90s and reamins heavily respected and consistently considered one of the best, if not the best rapper of all time.

While some will side with Pac, Nas, Big L, or Jay Z for the best rapper, I believe it is Biggie who takes the crown. I love hip hop, and while Pac no doubt had some shit to say, Nas’ lyrics still can’t be beat, and Jay always has flawless production, it was Biggie who was the entire package. He was able to tell stories that you wanted to be a part of. He made you sympathetic to his drug-filled and violent past. His flow maybe wasn’t as hard hitting as Tupac, and he may not have touched on such deep societal issues, but Tupac was a poet, a renaissance man- Biggie was just a boy from Brooklyn trying to make it.

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Maybe that’s why I like Biggie a bit more than the rest. He was the hustler. He talked about setting his goals, what he had to do to achieve them, and how he was going to celebrate  (sip champagne when we’re thirstayyyyy). He had a flow that made you bob your head side to side. It made you vibe.

He wanted you to party to his tracks. He wanted you to stay too late at the club before the crew rolls back to someone’s place for one last drink. Biggie was a living legend and I think he knew it. I believe Biggie had an idea he was making music that people cared about and changing the music industry forever. He was right.

Christopher Wallace, you live on, baby bay-bay.

B.I.G. FOREVER.