It all happened so fast. Like a crack of lightning in the night, in a flash, it was over. It’s nearly 4 am and I’m standing outside NEST on College West, drenched in sweat with the thunderous beats still resonating in my body. My brain is swimming. I’m having trouble finding the words to describe exactly what it is I experienced. I remember the lights, the bass. I remember dancing hard. What tracks did he play? I don’t even know. There were bits and pieces; samples and loops mixed together immaculately, cut with effects, creating something entirely new. And the scratching. The art of scratch is not something I’ve ever seen incorporated into a trance set and I don’t know why. It’s pure brilliance. This was something special. This is something no other DJ is doing.
Friday nights are often a challenge for me. Regrouping after a seemingly never-ending workday and putting myself back together in time for the 2+ hour GO transit journey from Guelph to Toronto sometimes feels like an impossible task. This particular Friday was especially gruelling and I didn’t end up pulling into Union Station until 11:45. I knew it was going to be worth it though. In fact, this was exactly what I needed. When I arrived at NEST it was 12:15 am and DeeCee was behind the decks. Unfortunately, I missed the opening set by A.D. the Kid, but I was pleased to be welcomed into the club to the sounds of Andrew Bayer’s Immortal Lover. After a brief but passionate sing-along, I headed to the bar. I grabbed a drink and briefly caught up with some friends, but MarLo’s Lighter Than Air was ringing through the air and the dance floor was calling my name. The club is slowly filling up. The energy level is building. DeeCee is on fire and the crowd is loving it. I can feel the floor bouncing beneath my feet as we dive into Cosmic Gate’s epic, Exploration of Space. It’s 1:00 am and I can feel the adrenaline welling up inside me. Roxanne Emery’s voice rings out over the speakers (Dash Berlin ft Roxanne Emery – Shelter) and I see Jordan Suckley has arrived and is setting up his gear. While I’m loving every track DeeCee is throwing down and thoroughly enjoying all the vocal trance sing-alongs (sorry, not sorry) I’m fired up and ready for the chaos.
At 1:30 am, Jordan Suckley hits the stage and slaps us in the ears with some techno. The crowd is going crazy and I can barely hear i_o’s Possession through the chorus of cheers. The track is dark and mechanical but the heat is building inside NEST as Suckley transitions into a Tiesto classic. I recognize this particular remix of Traffic from his set at Luminosity Beach Festival this summer. I have listened to this countless times and the addition of fresh effects and modulation really breathes a new life into this classic. At this point, I am totally swept up in the music. I have no idea where my friends are as I bee-lined to an opening near the front of the stage the first chance I got. I go wherever the music takes me and tonight I needed to be in the centre of it all. I make it up to the front in time for an intense scratch breakdown as Suckley bounces skillfully between his mixers flipping various switches and knobs that I have no idea of their function. Whatever is coming out the other end is complete chaos and I’m loving it! The tempo picks up as he transitions into Marco V’s 140bpm tech-trance track Godd. This really sets the tone for the remainder of the night save for a few uplifting moments interspersed with fast-breaking beats and intense melodies. I’m up at the front dancing on the riser when I hear my second taste of Cosmic Gate of the night. The track I Feel Wonderful could not ring truer.
And then suddenly a familiar loop. Its The Prodigy’s Breathe, but it’s darker. It’s heavier. It’s driving me completely wild. He has beat-matched with Richard Durand’s Savage and at 140bpm that melody is truly living, reimagined at a tempo I had no idea it was meant to be. An intense build and a third track is thrown into the mix. Systembreaker’s debut single Sleep Paralysis keeps the energy levels soaring, leading into a melodic respite. The chaos is soon restored, leading into Suckley’s track Aztec Curse. This is when it happened: the most epic scratch breakdown I have ever experienced. I audibly exclaim “Oh hell yeah!” to myself and proceed to throw down on the dance floor. It’s only about a half-hour into his set and already my legs have taken a life of their own. I let the music take control and am loving every single moment of it.
I’ve seen Jordan Suckley live a few times before, but never like this. He is super focused on his mixers, but you can see he is absolutely beaming. Every time he throws in an effect or a scratch breakdown or whatever other insanity he comes up with, it is clear that he is just having so much fun doing it. The energy level in this crowd is unheard of and everyone is dancing hard as he seamlessly blends trance with techno and psytrance and hardstyle in a way I’ve never seen done before. Mash-ups and remixes of tracks dating as far back as the mid-nineties and new tracks, just released within the last few months all coming together to form something cohesive and unbelievably incredible.
The second half of his set is completely loaded with high bpm tracks. He plays a track I’ve heard in a number of his sets lately; Walt – Let The Music Play (David Rust Remix) but mashes it up with a sample that reminds me of one of my favourite video games. Brent Sadowick’s A Night To Remember sounds just like the soundtrack to Streets of Rage 2 and I’m ready to beat up some baddies. Villains beware, my adrenaline is through the roof. Fortunately, the crowd at NEST was incredible, as they always are so no one challenged me on that. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as a couple tracks later, he dropped Ecstasy Love in its entirety and sent me floating back to 142 bpm hard trance heaven. The last half hour flies by so fast. I recognize his opening track from his Melbourne 3FECT set, Steve Hill x Technikal – The One as well as Dark Alliance – Genetic. I was actually really surprised at how different his setlist at NEST was from that Melbourne set. It must be so challenging to build a set like this with so many variables. The craziest thing about it is he is doing most of this live. To be able to achieve such perfection combining elements of recorded tracks and loops with live effects, creating mashups on the spot, is both a skill and an art.
I know the night is coming to an end, but I’m super excited when I hear him drop Scot Project’s L (I Want Your Love) kicking it all the way back to 2005. The next track reaches back even further. Walt & Feliz – Expansion is an incredible throwback that is perpetually relevant and somehow sounds like it easily could have been released in the last few years. He closes his set with Tempo Giusto’s amped up rework of Mark Sherry’s tech-trance classic, Phantasmic. (Side note: you can catch Mark Sherry tearing up the decks at NEST with an open-to-close set in early October). The crowd is cheering loud. We wanted more. As he packed up his gear, DeeCee and A.D. the Kid jumped in back to back to keep the energy level elevated, throwing down track after track of high-bpm trance gold. I wanted the night to last forever, but shortly after 3:30 am things began to wind down. As I walked down the stairs from NEST I became acutely aware of the presence of my legs and how hard I had danced the hours before. But given the chance, I would absolutely do it all again the next night.
I_o – Possession
Tiesto – Traffic (ID remix)
Marco V – Godd
Richard Durand – Legends of the Moon
Mauro Picotto & Riccardo Ferri – New Time New Place
Cosmic Gate ft. Jan Johnston – I Feel Wonderful
The Prodigy – Breathe Vs. Richard Durand – Savage Vs. Systembreaker – Sleep Paralysis
Jordan Suckley – Aztec Curse (Ashley Smith Remix)
Electrochemie LK – Schall
Jordan Suckley – Rocket Punch (Alex DiStefano Remix)
Karen Overton – Your Loving Arms (Billy Gillies Rework)
Walt – Let The Music Play (David Rust Remix) Vs. Brent Sadowick – A Night to Remember
Hennes & Cold – The Second Trip (David Forbes Remix) Vs. Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now
Praga Khan – Injected With A Poison (Jordan Suckley & Sam Jones Remix)
Jordan Suckley & Kutski – Ecstasy Love
Art Of Trance – Madagascar
David Rust & Renegade System – Don’t Give Up
Steve Hill x Technikal – The One
DJ Vortex & Arpa’s Dream – Incoming (Arome Remix)
Dark Alliance – Genetic
TNT ft.Popr3b3l – I’m Raving
A-Lusion – Talk Iz Tomorrow (Second Identity Remix)
Sound 2 Light – It’s Like That
Artemesia – Bits & Pieces (BK Remix)
Scot Project – L (I Want Your Love)
Walt & Feliz – Expansion
Mark Sherry – Phantasmic (Tempo Giusto Remix)
Anna Middleton – EDMTOR