Two weeks ago on Friday, May 25th, 2018, Electric Escape presented us with an uplifting legend in the making at Nest. James Dymond popped into the trance scene in 2011 and has been steadily climbing his way to the top of the trance charts with his uplifting tracks and remixes. The last time James appeared in Toronto was January 2017, and due to my work schedule I missed out on that show. So when this one was announced, I was thrilled! James Dymond is one of only a handful of the serious trance artists I had yet to see. His name pops up often on Armin van Buuren‘s A State of Trance radio show. While listening to the weekly radio show, some fantastic uplifting tune will perk up my ears and nine times out of ten it’ll be James Dymond, or a remix of his. His sound is just so dynamic! According to James Dymond’s profile on his SoundCloud page, “Armin has rewarded James’ musical prowess by labeling multiple tracks of his as, ‘Tune of the Week’ on his weekly A State of Trance radio show where he has stated – “If you were to look up ‘uplifting’ in a dictionary, I’m sure you’ll find James Dymond in there somewhere!” ” In preparation for Friday’s show, I spent some time listening to James’ set from FSOE 500 this past New Year’s Eve in New York, another set I was disappointed to have missed. This epic set featured lots of uplifting sounds and even some psy! Sure in the knowledge that I would not be disappointed this time, my friends and I headed out to the club around 11:30PM.
What can be said about Nest that hasn’t already been said? While the sound system may not be top-notch, it’s no slouch either, pumping out plenty of bass to shake the dance floor. Our usual spot is at the back left, right in front of one of the large rear speakers. With decent sound, easy access to the bar and the bathrooms, and plenty of space for dancing, whipping or shuffling, we tend to spend most of our nights at Nest there, occasionally venturing into the crush at the front for some close-up vibes from our favourite DJs.
When we arrived, A.D The Kid was just finishing up his set with some groovy progressive sounds. A solid thumping bassline accompanied low-frequency pulses and trilling synth melodies. The dancefloor was ringed with early party-goers and the tables near the back had started to fill up. DeeCee took over the decks at exactly 11:30PM and kept the progressive vibes rolling. He started his set out with a few familiar tracks and some that were new to my ears, including Purple Haze – Bergen. Right away, I noticed some upgrades to the decor at Nest. Several trees and ferns had been placed throughout the venue, including three trees behind the DJ booth. The walls had also been covered in a tree/fern theme. I noticed that DeeCee was also wearing a fern printed T-shirt, and wondered if that had all been planned.
Although DeeCee’s set had started out progressive, he quickly switched to a more techy sound a few tracks in. He played the always popular Oceanlab song, On A Good Day, and a very progressive remix of Blue Monday by New Order. His set then went through an Anjuna phase, (much like most of us did at some point in our lives), featuring tracks like Above & Beyond’s A.I and Ilan Bluestone‘s Spheres. He followed this up with Gareth Emery‘s emotional vocal track Save Me, then dropped into some heavier psytrance influences about 50 minutes in.
DeeCee continued his set laying down what can only be described as an eclectic mix of popular trance crowd-pleasers one after the other. We heard a couple of MarLo tracks, Omnia‘s song All I See Is You, Gareth Emery’s CVNT5, and the classic Not Giving Up On Love by Armin Van Buuren which features the vocals of Sophie Ellis Bextor. He ended his set with Darude and Ashley Wallbridge‘s collab Surrender, and the crowd cheered as they readied themselves for James Dymond to appear.
At 1AM James took over and turned up with a big grin for all his fans. After a brief buildup of an intro, James dropped immediately into a psytrance beat with Simon Patterson‘s Roll The Credits (which we like to think of as Apex 2.0 due to its similarity both in musical style and subject matter to his 2014 hit). He continued to bring the psytrance sound, dropping tracks by artists known exclusively for psy: Omiki, Blastoyz, and Spiritual Machines. The next few tracks brought us back to his signature style: uplifting tracks with melodic breakdowns. A track new to me was Bjorn Akesson‘s Vival. It’s been a while since I’ve noticed anything new from Bjorn Akesson, and I loved it! The crowd seemed to love it too, jumping and hollering to show their appreciation. He continued in this vein for the next 4-5 tracks.
About an hour in, he dropped probably his most well-recognized track, Push. With its melodic piano breakdown and flowing synth rhythms, this one is a true hands in the air, eyes closed, take-me-on-a-journey-into-trance song. The crowd ate it up. He followed it up immediately with another well-known track, Spectrum, a similar uplifting melody he released with Chris Schweizer. After Spectrum we heard another familiar tune, Veracocha‘s Carte Blanche in a James Dymond remix, with a heavier rolling bassline. And what could be better than one classic in the middle of a set? Two of course! We all cheered and sang along as Silence played. Little did I know this marked the beginning of an onslaught of classics, which was a pleasant surprise. It’s a running joke that neither me nor my partner can ever ID Armin’s Communication when it comes on at a club, despite the familiarity of the iconic old-school track. We also heard an unfamiliar remix of Iio‘s Rapture, one of my all-time favourite classics.
After the classics he slowed things down with the lovely vocal Destination by DT8 Project featuring Roxanne Wilde, then kicked it back up a couple notches into that hard-hitting uplifting trance he’s known for, breathing new life into a weary crowd. Three o’clock in the morning had come and gone, and he kept on going! Mad props to everyone who stayed until the end. One thing I noticed about this show was that unlike most shows at Nest, where the crowd gets thick and rowdy between 1-2AM then thins out significantly towards the end of the night, at this show there seemed to be the same number of people there throughout the night. Although there were fewer people there than I expected to see, these were the hardcore James Dymond fans. Some people in the crowd were even sporting James Dymond T-shirts.
James’ most recent release with popular vocalist Susana, Love We Are Made Of, brought some serious feels to the venue. The last few tracks of his set included his beautiful track Carry Me Away, featuring melodic guitar sounds, which was followed by the classic Oceanab song we all sing along to, Satellite. He did the obligatory sound mute so the crowd could belt out the chorus, and took a snapchat while the crowd was singing. Got a good set of lungs on you, Nest crowd! He then shut down the sound, and while we all clapped and cheered many were demanding “One more track!” – and then some certain greedier audience members demanded five more. James was happy to oblige and gave us an encore: Oceanlab’s On A Good Day. At 3:40AM the show was over and we all traipsed outside to discuss the wonderful experience we had just had!
Overall, I’d have to say the night was a great success! James Dymond is truly a gem to be witnessed live. The music was great, and the vibe was intimate and fun. I can’t wait to share more amazing dance floor feels with you all at the upcoming trance events we have on the horizon for this summer!
Sander Van Doorn pres. Purple Haze – Bergen
Pete Tong – Pjanoo
Above & Beyond – A.I.
Ilan Bluestone – Spheres
Oceanlab – On a Good Day
Gareth Emery feat. Christina Novelli – Save Me
Marlo feat. Christina Novelli – Hold it Together
Omnia feat. Christian Burns – All I See Is You
Gareth Emery & Ashley Wallbridge – CVNT5
Gareth Emery – U (W&W Remix)
Andrew Rayel & Armin van Buuren – Eiforya
Marcel Woods – Advanced (Marlo Remix)
Armin Van Buuren – Not Giving Up On Love
Darude & Ashley Wallbridge feat. Foux – Surrender
Simon Patterson – Roll The Credits
Omiki – Na Le
Blastoyz – Mandala
The Spiritual Machines – Anyone Can Fly (Ranji Remix)
Signum & James Dymond – Keep On Moving Up
RAM & Daniel Skyver – Subkonscious
Bjorn Akesson – Vival
Scott Bond & Charlie Walker vs. Trouser Enthusiasts – Sweet Release
Solarstone & Indecent Noise – Querencia (Giuseppe Ottaviani Extended Rework)
James Dymond – Push
James Dymond & Chris Schweizer – Spectrum
Veracocha – Carte Blanche
Gouryella – Gouryella
Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan – Silence (RAM remix)
Armin van Buuren – Communication (James Dymond remix)
Tiesto – Adagio for Strings
DT8 Project featuring Roxanne Wilde – Destination
James Dymond & Susana – Love We Are Made Of
James Dymond – Carry Me Away
Max Graham & Neev Kennedy – Guiding Light (James Dymond remix)
James Dymond – Stay
Oceanlab – Satellite
Oceanlab – On A Good Day
NOTE: James’ set was recorded but may or may not be suitable for posting. If it becomes available we will add it here.
Shannon Cowie – EDM TOR