Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 started like many Saturdays before, a bit overcast throughout the day with an appearance from Mister Sun before he went to sleep. However, on this day, the weather didn’t even matter. I knew that in just a few short hours I would be soaring high above the clouds, transported to another dimension during a night of heavenly uplifting trance. Trance Sessions Toronto was hosting an event with Manuel Le Saux and friends, celebrating 500 episodes of Manuel’s EXTREMA Radio Show.
I arrived to Populus fairly early, around 11PM, in order to catch some of Brian Longmire’s opening set. Brian’s set was a progressive treat, with lots of melodies and catchy beats with a slower rhythm. He kept the tempo smooth and built it up slowly before some of the more uplifting DJs came on. With pacing in mind, Captain Brian of the HMS Trance expertly guided us through the progressive lagoon, throwing down gem after gem. To imagine this set, take a bit of Glenn Morrison, add a bit of Hernan Cattaneo, a little Jeremy Olander, then throw in some Cid Inc, etc. Actually, here is a tasty treat that got a great reaction from the crowd.
With the crowd going mental for Skylarking, the stage was set for our first headliner of the night, New Jersey’s rising trance star, Monoverse. The young talent from south of the border started things off right with some Anjuna, an Andrew Bayer remix of Oceanlab’s Secret. This set the tone for the first half of his set, which consisted of a nice mix of progressive and classic tracks that raised the BPMs towards the end, in preparation for the next artist, all with that unique Monoverse touch. A couple of notable songs played were his remix of Solid Stone and Jennifer Rene’s Heart Call, and his tasty mashup of RNX and Markus Schulz featuring Justine Suissa titled Colorado Perception. In the end, there were, in fact, no dishes from the popular restaurant Nando’s, but there was a bit of Canada’s very own Assaf remixing Amarain by Monoverse and Nando. Very cheeky, Santos; well played sir, well played.
Finally, it was time for Italy’s very own trance mastermind, Manuel Le Saux, to make his Toronto debut. He arrived to claim the decks around 1AM and all I can say is that from the first track onward we were transported to another realm. It was an uplifting tracehead’s paradise. No messing around! Straight out of the gates he dropped Craig Connelly ft. Jessica Lawrence – How Can I (John O’Callaghan remix): one of the biggest tracks of the year so far. The rest of his set was relentless; featuring uplifting anthems and gems from the likes of Future Sound of Egypt, Who’s Afraid of 138, Black Hole Recordings and of course his own EXTREMA label, just to name a few. Dart Rayne and Yura Moonlight’s Smile with Jennifer Rene was played in the Amir Hussain remix. He also played his own track with Astuni, 22 Years Later, as well as his track with James Kelly, The Right Direction. One highlight was an uplifting remix of Reflekt and Deeline’s all-time classic Need To Feel Loved. Although Adam K and Soha’s remix will always be the best and dearest to my heart – going back to the Guv days – the Sunset presents Symsonic 2016 Rework more than does justice to the track, and is perfect if you would like the beauty of the original with a little more energy.
Finally at about 2:30AM it was Allen Watts’ turn to close out the night. Coming all the way from Holland, Alle Wagt, like the two before him, had never before graced Toronto decks. From early on, Alle set the tone for his set, playing Aly & Fila with Skypatrol vs. Allen Watts & Lee Osborne ft. Sue McLaren – Running Telepathy (Standerwick Mashup). A little bit of uplifting, mixed in with some harder trance and higher BPM styles. This was definitely the hardest and fastest set of the night, and it was perfect for helping people find their second wind. Allen Watts treated Toronto to tracks like Chris Metcalfe & Allen Watts – Breakthrough, Ben Gold ft. Christina Novelli – All Or Nothing (Allen Watts Remix) which received an amazing response from the crowd, and Allen’s collaboration with Amir Hussain, Parralax.
I walked in with high expectations and I was pleasantly surprised when they were exceeded. Not only did Trance Sessions throw a wicked event, they debuted three trance artists to the Toronto decks in one night! They will be throwing another amazing trance event in less than two weeks, when on April 13th, they present a 4 hour set by Dan Stone (also at Populus). I encourage all of the Trance Family in the area to come check it out. Visit their official event page on Facebook to find tickets and other info about that event.
Rory Harrison – EDM TOR