Dave Morris for AOL
Throngs of fans filled Toronto's Wrongbar to watch performances by nominees Holy F---, who represented for their live-band album, 'Latin,' with a DJ set, and Poirier, as well as hotly tipped up-and-comers Bonjay, Egyptrixx and beloved local DJ Denise Benson, and with everything from the biggest soca and dancehall tunes to cutting edge experimental sounds getting an enthusiastic reception, the evening proved beyond any doubt that "electronic music" is a much broader and more popular category than it has ever been.
It didn't take long for things to start simmering once Bonjay discreetly slipped onto the stage. The duo dropped a series of highly combustible tunes drawn mostly from last year's 'Broughtupsy' disc, with Pho Swain contorting the hyperkinetic 'Stumble' even further from its roots while Alanna Stuart displayed her toasting skills and her breathtaking crooning in equal measures.
Dave Morris for AOL
Whatever slight disappointment we might have felt at Poirier not bringing the MCs from his Juno-nominated 'Running High' disc was mitigated by the fact that the Montreal kingpin could start a party in a morgue with a stack of Liberace records and an air horn. Arms flew over heads as he dropped everything from Vybz Kartel's mega-smash 'Clarks' to his own floor-filling 'Get Crazy.'
It's hard to believe Poirier has transitioned between as many different styles as he has throughout his career, since he seems as at home playing dancehall and soca as Toronto crowds do dancing to them.
Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh of Holy F--- also overcame our mild sadness at their not playing a live set with a blistering mix of records that gave Wrongbar's subwoofers a workout. They made a possibly unconscious connection with the Caribbean tunes heard before by dropping Plastikman's percolating, techno classic 'Spastik,' with its soca-having-a-seizure snare drum action, and spanned the distance from there to Eddy Grant's 'Electric Avenue' to Prince's 'Controversy.' They even slipped in some very swishy disco, during which Borcherdt led the crowd in a mock-singalong, a delighted grin on his face.
Finally, Egyptrixx bookended the DJ sets with a live performance that prompted some of the most enthusiastic dancing of the night. He recreated tunes from his acclaimed new album, 'Bible Eyes,' bringing the focused eclecticism of his UK label Night Slugs into the live environment, and showing why they, and he, have become widely touted as among the most exciting sounds in electronic music today.
Building his set strategically, he peaked with the title track from his album, its ping-ponging synths driving bodies to bend in ways they may not ever have been intended to. At that point, dear reader, journalistic objectivity was out the window -- it was so crowded that I couldn't even have reached my pocket to pull out my note-taking device, though if I had, it would have read "!@##@THISISAWESOME." And it was. You'll just have to take my word for it.
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