Electric Escape proudly hosted their sixth instalment of their U4RIA Trance Collective series inside Nest just over a week ago. They’ve been booking some big names in the scene for this series over the past year, including this one – Ben Nicky. As I mentioned in my event preview, Ben Nicky has visited Toronto twice since December 2016. Both events were run by Electric Escape but both events had multiple headliners – this time, the spotlight was on the British DJ. Tickets to this event were sold out, meaning all the fans in attendance were eagerly willing and ready to be Headf**ked!
I arrived at Nest at 11:40pm and I was inside the club by 11:41pm; there was no lineup at the door and security was minimal. At this time, not many people had arrived yet. Most were scattered throughout and chatting amongst themselves while a small portion warmed up their dance moves to Deecee’s opening set. He played a lot of Above & Beyond’s music and he caught the room’s attention with their remix of Salva Mae. The spaces on the dance floor began to fill in as people arrived and personal conversations were put aside to enjoy the music.
Electric Escape posted on the official Facebook event page stating that “BEN NICKY will be on the decks at 12:15am until ????”. It was almost that time when Falling Back started playing and it made sense to end on such a popular song that everyone in the room had been singing and dancing to. There was a delay in the take over as the song faded into another, and then another, and again until Nicky was seen setting himself up about fifteen minutes later. The crowd, now the fullest it had been all night, cheered and chanted his name when they saw him and Deecee wrapped up his opening set with Blue Monday (Above & Beyond Remix).
The night instantaneously switched to something harder as soon as Ben Nicky has control. He opened with an intro edit of Exploration Of Space right into the iconic hard-hitting sounds he’s known for. A remix of Saving Light was played shortly after and was definitely one of the crowd’s favourites judging on the unified singing. Next we were lead into a series of uplift with a sprinkle of psy. Nest used their smoke machine frequently and it would blanket the stage and first few rows of the dance floor. The best part of this effect was seeing the cloud start to dissipate and the word “SALVATION” printed on Nicky’s shirt would peak through. People at the back had abandoned the bar tables and seats to move up for a better view of the headliner, but there was always enough space to dance without the fear of someone accidentally thrashing into you.
Nicky continued to bounce around with his track selection that he is famously known to do. He’d mix up uplifting with psy with vocal trance with hard trance, etc., constantly switching between them and forcing the room to keep up with his pacing. Around 1am came a series of mashups and remixes before he dropped one of the most popular psy trance songs of the year – Free Tibet. The next twenty minutes or so went back in forth in styles; from Nicky’s own Anywhere, to his mashup of The Calling and Lethal Industry. It wasn’t until he played his own remix of Until We Meet Again did the night get progressively harder and harder and it never eased up! It got to a point where I gave up trying to Shazam track IDs because the pulsating logo would come back with zero results. However, Nicky’s love for Vini Vici was obvious as he played another two tunes featuring the Israeli duo: Colors and Great Spirit. Hard-hitting beat after hard-hitting beat – the head honcho of Headf**ck was in full swing! Bodies banged around while the BPM was brought up to 138 and beyond. I was intrigued to hear him mix in a little Sandstorm, which I later found online as being titled the “Ben Nicky Psy Troll Bootleg”. Things got intense approaching 2am when hardstyle started getting thrown into the mix. Nicky concluded his set at 2:15am on a high with a remix of Adagio For Strings.
The venue cleared out quickly once Ben Nicky cut the music and thanked everyone for coming out. Some of the remaining fans rushed to the wings of the stage to try and meet Nicky, while a small grouping of people stayed on the dance floor to close out the night with Deecee, but I decided it was time to head home. Special thanks to Electric Escape for hosting another good show!
Above & Beyond ft. Zoe Johnston – We’re All We Need (Club Remix)
Faithless – Salva Mea 2.0 (Above & Beyond Remix)
Cosmic Gate & JES – Yai (Here We Go Again)
Above & Beyond pres. OceanLab – On A Good Day (Remix)
Cosmic Gate & Eric Lumiere – Falling Back
Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus (Remix)
New Order – Blue Monday (Above & Beyond Remix)
Cosmic Gate – Exploration Of Space (Intro Edit)
Tom Clayton – After Hours
Gareth Emery & Standerwick ft. HALIENE – Saving Light (NWYR Remix)
Robert Miles – Children
Marlo – Visions
Alya – Alya (Ben Nicky & Luke Bond Remix)
Timmy Trumpet & Qulinez – Satellites (MaRLo Remix)
Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep Is Your Love (Acapella)
Dash Berlin ft. Roxanne Emery – Shelter (Photographer Remix)
Coldplay – A Sky Full Of Stars (Paul Webster Remix)
Hilight Tribe – Free Tibet (Vini Vici Remix)
Ben Nicky ft. Chloe – Anywhere
Tritonal ft. Steph Jones – Blackout (ReOrder Remix)
John O’Callaghan ft. Sarah Howells – Find Yourself (Standerwick Remix)
Ace Ventura & Vini Vici vs. Tiësto – The Lethal Calling
Gareth Emery ft. Ben Gold – Until We Meet Again (Ben Nicky Remix)
Jauz – Feel The Volume (Ben Nicky Remix)
Avalon & Tristan & Vini Vici – Colors (Killerwatts UK Psychedelic Remix)
Armin van Buuren – I Live For That Energy (ASOT 800 Theme) (Exis Remix?)
Gareth Emery ft. Christina Novelli – Concrete Angel (Acapella)
Armin van Buuren vs Vini Vici ft. Hilight Tribe – Great Spirit
Darude – Sandstorm (Ben Nicky Psy Troll Bootleg)
Tiësto – Adagio For Strings (James Dymond Rework)
Ashlyn Doughty – EDM TOR