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Richie Hawtin in Barcelona / Adam Beyer at Coda

Illogistix

TRIBE Member
Adam's appearance on Saturday has motivated me to write these reviews. Not really comparing the two but it was kind of neat for me to see how the Toronto club scene stacks up against Barcelona for what were pretty similar gigs at two new spaces.

I was in Barcelona over the holidays and wanted to hit an afterhours one night. I kept checking online to see who was playing when I was going to be there and was pumped to learn Richie Hawtin!!! would be in town Jan. 1 for Elrow City at a place called KER club. I bought tickets online - 50 euros each, but was happy to… to see a legend in a city I've always wanted to visit. Did I say I was PUMPED? I stopped checking to see what else was going on that week because I hadn't planned more than one night in a club with so much to do and see. New Year's Eve I was in our hotel getting ready for dinner and checked the site again and saw Adam Beyer was booked last minute (with Tale of Us and Ida Engberg) to play New Year's Day at KER Club leading into Richie's night. I have wanted to see Adam forever - so I was very very tempted to hit that day party as well. In the end, we really didn't want to spend 12 hours in a club when we could be out exploring the city, so I hoped someone in Toronto would eventually book him – which is exactly what happened this past weekend. Lucky me I guess.

Anyway - Hawtin in Barca was top banana. We drank some C-store absinthe like teenagers on spring break and headed out to the venue, which was near Placa Espanya on the city's west side, downstairs in an office building, right near a Metro station (their system makes the TTC look like a group of high-school kids designed and built it. Basically it runs everywhere you need to go and boggles the mind that they can have so many lines built underneath 1,000-year-old buildings and churches but we can’t have a Queen St line.) The nightclub was cool – décor inside was really nice, loads of neon and interesting design choices and multiple full-service bars, which served drinks and cheap cava all night. There was a glassed-in backroom with a different DJ and separate bar and they had a mojito back bar serving proper mojitos, which you'd never see in a Toronto club since they take so long to make. Drinks were like 6 euros - not bad, but amazing when you consider they served right to closing at 5 a.m. The place was packed with 80 percent dudes but it was the night after NYE so I’m guessing it was mostly Barcelona’s hardcore types out that evening.

First surprise was that the promoters hired a bunch of people in costumes and let them loose in the club. They had a hype man –- a mascot dressed like the San Diego Chicken, no joke -- who was pumping up the crowd all night, some people dressed like mad scientists and they had a whole crew of stilt-walkers in hazmat suits and lab coats who’d come out on the dancefloor every few hours. Just random weird happenings. Second surprise, the bathrooms were completely wallpapered in animal prints (including the floors, walls, doors, everything) with a lion head collage in the men’s, zebras in the women’s, and giraffes in some sort of “VIP bathroom”, which I guess you needed a bracelet to get into but I wandered into by mistake. Best club bathrooms ever. The DJ booth was set up under two giant umbrellas like a Bedouin type deal and the dancefloor was busy all-night. We met lots of locals and groups of friends from Scotland, Holland, Italy and France who were visiting Barca for NYE and to see Richie, as well as a crew of ex-pat Canadians, who are everywhere on earth it seems. Totally surreal to be standing in a club in Europe at 4 a.m. talking about old Toronto parties (Transcendance) we both went to 20 years ago, watching Richie Hawtin do his thing all these years later.

Richie was on his game, an unrelenting 2 hours of danceable stuff. Gaiser and Matador before him played tons of great tracks too, including many classics and even one old plastikman song. Pretty sure Gaiser played alongside Richie for a bit as well which got everyone hype. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFjymxekXFk. This video sums up the scene that night. Barcelona! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa_LChnfD8Q.

The party ended right at 5 a.m. and there was a near Hillsboro-style disaster at the coat-check as everyone crushed towards the door. Not to make light of an awful football trampling where loads of people and children died, but it did NOT feel safe. If you've ever been in a crowd that packed where your body moves with the will of the mob and you’re sweating and short of breath because of that much mass tightly packed together - it's not good times. The rest of our trip was amazing though - speaking of football, we even got to see Alexis score a hat-trick at Camp Nou (Messi was injured and didn't play - boooooooo!)

Fast-forward three months and I was equally pumped to see Adam at Coda, which is certainly worth a visit if you haven’t been yet. Even with a badly wrenched back and a surprise snow storm that made it impossible to get a taxi (seriously - the snow was so bad we didn't want to trek out to find a cab on Queen St. so it took us 1.5 hours to get one to come to my place), we rolled in just before last call to a busy (but not too packed) house. I guess the weather scared a lot of people off on Saturday as there was no line when we showed up.

Adam played a really hard set – heavy pounding basslines from 2 until 5 – and the crowd ate it up. We parked ourselves dead-centre just in front of the booth and watched him do his thing. He is a great DJ – kept it full-throttle with some nice changes here and there, but the pace and layered rhythms kept coming in waves all night. I didn’t get a good look at the crowd as we stayed pretty much put but it seemed like there was A LOT of guys – maybe that’s just the techno scene all over? No matter – amazing set and I’m really looking forward to listening to some track selections from that night when (if?) he posts it on soundcloud later this month with his classic Adam Beyer voiceovers. I also really liked that they kept the lighting dark inside to match the music. Nice call Coda.

Here’s a neat mixed vid from Saturday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaggaYplZAk

I’m off to Montreal in a few weeks and other than hitting DEMF, I’m definitely taking a weekend trip to NYC this summer to check out Output in Brooklyn. Anyone been yet?
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Really nice to hear about the space for a headliner - could not attend this one but was wondering what a big draw would be like @ Coda and you're making me more likely to give it a go next time a good show like this comes along!
 
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