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Tobias, Efdemin & Marcel Fengler @ Blkmarket Membership

In this short window of sobriety, and perhaps less anally-fixated...

Things have been retardedly busy for me at work lately. It's a self-imposed busyness, i guess, but either way i have been working til 6 or 7 every day, logging on from home, the works. It hit a point a few weeks ago where i completely broke down and i realized i needed a vacation quicksmart. Of course, being me, i skipped the all-inclusive Caribbean retreats and decided to take a whole one day off work to fly to New York, go to a party, then fly home. Not particularly relaxing, but definitely completely rewarding.

I'm not a huge fan of Ostgut Ton, or straight-ahead techno in general, so flying down to see Marcel Fengler and friends was a bit of a strange choice, but i just wanted to experience something i couldn't here in Toronto and this fit the bill. I've heard good things about Blkmarket Membership over the last couple years, and Output over the last couple months, so i figured why not?

Got to the club a bit after midnight expecting an awful line, but was waved straight in. Obligatory coat-check, which seemed like a bit overkill for a hoodie, but whatevs. The club is fucking retardedly good on the inside. It looks like they've repurposed a warehouse, but instead of leaving it completely grungy and shit, it's decked out with amazing sound, lights and little chillout booths. You still see exposed girders and concrete and whatnot, but it's not a dank echo-y hole with only a bucket to pee in. Keine foto's, bitte. As fantastic as the light show was during the night, it was 6am when it really took my breath away. Fengler closed with a crazy long mix of Aphex Twin's "On" and the lighting guy turned the full-length wall panels that had had me mesmerized all night into a delightfully subtle sunrise through stained glass. I've never been to Berghain, but i felt like i experienced a bit of it right then - far and away the best light show i've had the pleasure of experiencing in my clandestine career as a dirty raver. No overheads blasting down to scare people out, just calm teal and orange as everyone smiled their way back to the coat check. Fucking unbelievable.

But let's rewind. On the bill was Tobias, Efdemin, Fengler and a couple of locals. I think i caught the end of one of the local's sets. I'm not sure whether it was Tobias or Efdemin who came on next, but he played a lovely mix of slow techno, deepish house and the odd minimal tune. Two tunes in particular stood out - one a very loopy minimal track, and another an acid track. My friend spent the night up on the mezzanine trainspotting and reeled off a few tracks when we met up for a smoke later on - a number of which i actually own - but i honestly didn't recognize any of them, and i didn't care to either. I think that's the mark of a great night for me, when i really don't give a fuck who is playing, or what they're playing, they're just keeping me smiling on the dancefloor for hours on end. And smile i did. Anyone who knows me knows that pretty much all i do at parties is dance; i barely talk to anyone, rarely go out for a smoke, and drink way too little water. I bought 3 bottles and had 2 smokes over 6 hours. The vibe was simply perfect, good tunes, good sound, good lights, a packed dancefloor where everyone actually danced, i was on vacation... you can't really ask for more.

Next up was Efdemin (or maybe Tobias). He opened with two tracks that i fucking swear went on for like half an hour between the two of them. They were the loopiest shit EVER. I haven't felt so on the edge since i heard Digweed drop Pryda - Aftermath. One in particular was absolutely relentless about hitting this same discordant chord for what seemed like a lifetime, some stupid two-word vocal sample, but mostly just percussion and waves and waves of buildy stuff that didn't really build. I was absolutely hypnotized. And destroyed. It was after that, when he went to something a bit more housey that i ended up on the mezzanine for a bit. Sat in one of the booths. How often have you been to a nightclub and been able to find a seat at the exact time when everyone's roll is peaking? That's right, never. Maybe people don't take E (sorry, "molly") any more. Or maybe these hip New Yorkers just want to fucking dance. And hip they were, but not in an annoying way. The crowd had everything from collared shirts to woolly jumpers to little black dresses to raved-up hip-hop-y gear. All different ages, and all different nationalities. It felt like half the freakin crowd was German. And then you'd overhear a Russian guy talking to a French chick about art galleries in Alabama. Which you could do, because the sound was clean and sparkly as Stereo. But it pumped up hard as the night progressed, and ear plugs were in well before Fengler stepped up.

And the clownshoe started with oldskool shit. I mean, for real? I didn't have my phone with me so i had no idea what time it was, but i just assumed it must be almost over because for 30-45 minutes we were subjected to vinyl crackle, bare 909 rhythms, no sub-bass, Detroity melodies, "fade on 4, bring back on 1", and just generally a whole bunch of stuff that to me absolutely did not fit the night. The crowd loved it, of course. (They loved everything, but still. I know all you old farts can't get enough of the Belleville Three.) I was honestly considering leaving when thankfully he went to something more serious and percussive. Danced right through till the end, even though i was well and truly spent from having woken up 23 hours beforehand, jumping on a plane and about 17 trains to get from Toronto to Brooklyn by way of Newark.

So yeah, fucking phenomenal night. And it reminded me exactly why i love this scene so much. Although the majority of the music was stuff i probably wouldn't buy or listen to on its own, in that setting it was perfect. Although in some ways clubs with that level of production kinda take the thrill of raving away, they've done it with so much respect and mindfulness it just works anyway. Although i was packed in the middle of a sardine can later in the night, it was refreshing to be around a truly up-for-it crowd. That place was everything that Footwork should be, everything i hoped Moskito would be but isn't, and exactly what the Great Hall could be if they paid just a bit more attention to detail. Proper fucking production. Proper vibe. I hope more people from Toronto go down and check it out so they can see what we almost-but-not-quite have here. It's the little things that make all the difference - no door policy, comfortable seating, all-night bar, discreet security, decent toilet doors, air conditioning that works, and a motherfucking sunrise like you wouldn't believe.