Summer may be long gone, but fear not! The party continues. There was a strong fall line up of touring artists for southern Ontario, especially for trance fans. As the leaves changed from green to pretty autumn shades of orange, red, and yellow, the countdown to Markus Schulz was on. I prepped myself for a mini road trip from Toronto to Waterloo just to see him perform on October 24th. Keeping the bragging to a minimum, I was fortunate enough to experience Schulz live at EDC Las Vegas earlier this year. But festival sets are very different than club sets; I was curious to see how he performs in an intimate setting, and just how far down the rabbit hole he could take us.
This was my first time ever attending a show at Beta Nightclub. If it was going to be anything like the shows here in Toronto, I mentally prepared myself for long line ups, chaotic coat check, miserable bartenders, and overly aggressive security who hate their jobs (I’m looking at you Disclosure and Zedd). My worries were unnecessary – it took less than fifteen minutes to get inside and all the staff that I encountered throughout the night were incredibly friendly.
A little birdie informed me that Schulz was going to hit the decks around 11pm, so I arrived earlier to catch some of the opening act – resident DJ Adam Spears. Because it was early in the night, there was lots of space on the dance floor and I could freely wander around and take in my surroundings. This venue has an elevated DJ booth that’s lit up with a huge LED screen and a massive lighting grid hanging from above in the centre of the space. People were dancing on platforms that were scattered around the main room, reminding me of the long lost Guvernment Complex (RIP). I circled around once more while Fedde Le Grand‘s Control Room played before settling on a spot. I spent most of my night in the front third of the room, optimizing my viewing position of the DJs and the light show.
Markus Schulz started his set around 11:15pm. He played Jerome Isma-Ae‘s Hold That Sucker Down early in his set, shortly followed by one of my favourites, Ferry Corsten‘s Homeward. The venue started to fill up around this time, but at no point during the night was I ever having to fight for dancing space. An hour and a half into his set, he played Mark Sigma‘s rework of the trance classic Adagio For Strings before leading us all into singing along to his hit track Destiny (ft. Delacey).
Several times throughout the night, the crowd would chant his name and the iconic Toronto Trance Family flags would fly. Around 1am, I found a new wave of energy when he played another one of my favourites, Sonic One & twoloud‘s The Drums (a track Schulz has played in many of his 2015 Global DJ Broadcast Would Tour and festival sets). The crowd found their wave when he played Ferry Corsten‘s remix of Praise You by Fatboy Slim shortly after.
Markus’ set progressively slipped into something darker as the night went on. While crowd went along for the ride, I took this opportunity to check out the balcony area at the back of the venue. Security was nice enough to let me go up the stairs and observe for a few minutes, as this area appeared to be secluded for bottle service reservations only. Pushed Out Silence (a Markus Schulz mashup of Evol Waves vs Delerium & Sarah McLachlan) played as I watched the main room dancing carefree under the pretty rainbow lights. I later found out through social media that Chris Leslie, the usual lighting technician, was unable to be there that night to work his magic, so another technician was there to complete the important task at hand. I’ve heard big things about Chris’ lighting at Beta and am interested to see what all the talk is about; I guess I’ll have to make another trip down to Waterloo to see the man in action. Nonetheless, I was still impressed and thought the lighting complimented the music very well!
A New World Punx track made its way into the set just before the clock hit 2am. Schulz and Corsten work together on this side project, creating harder and more aggressive sounds. He played NWP’s first ever official single, Romper.
Schulz concluded his set at 2:30am with Cloudchaser by the Anjunabeat‘s artist Ilan Bluestone, followed by an encore of New World Punx’s Memories. With the house lights on, he spoke to the remaining audience, the ones who journeyed down the rabbit hole to the bitter end:
“Beta, thank you guys so much I had such an amazing time with you… Thanks for all the memories, I love you guys.” And a huge thank you goes from us to Schulz and Spears for the stellar music, and to the Beta Nightclub staff for hosting such an amazing event!
11:25 – Hold That Sucker Down – Jerome Isma-Ae
11:34 – Homeward – Ferry Corsten
11:54 – Anahera – Ferry Corsten presents Gouryella
12:08 – Blackgate – Arkham Knights
12:27 – Remember This (Mark Sherry Remix) – Markus Schulz
12:37 – Adagio For Strings – Mark Sigma
12:40 – Destiny – Markus Schulz
12:47 – United – Fisherman & Hawkings
12:55 – Peace Of Mind (Arty Remix / Markus Schulz Big Room Reconstruction) – Above & Beyond ft. Zoe Johnston
1:05 – The Drums – Sonic One & twoloud
1:09 – Dear Kate – Modular Punk
1:16 – Drifter – Dave Neven
1:23 – Praise You (Ferry Corsten Remix) – Fatboy Slim
1:37 – Pushed Out Silence (Markus Schulz Mashup) – Evol Waves vs Delerium & Sarah McLachlan
1:57 – Romper – New World Punx
2:03 – Faded Jetpack (Markus Schulz Mashup) – David Forbes vs. ZHU
2:25 – Cloudchaser – Ilan Bluestone
2:30 – Memories – New World Punx ft. Cara Salimando
Ashlyn Doughty – EDMTOR