This past Monday, Electric Island held their second-to-last event of the summer in celebration of Civic Day.
As has been the case all season long, the event had to be kept off the island once again due to the season’s copious amounts of heavy rain fall resulting in muddy and unstable grounds. Naturally, the day-of forecast wasn’t looking too promising to start, either. Nonetheless, we made the trek from Buffalo early on in the afternoon to enjoy all that this edition of Electric Island had to offer.
Held in a bay-side parking lot across from the city, the Toronto sky line laid the backdrop behind the towering speakers and shiny metal rods that intertwined on stage. It was clear early on that as the sun went down, the setting would be picturesque.
A row of food trucks lined the outer edge of the event grounds offering a variety of eats that included everything from Asian street tacos to wood-fired pizza and of course, a Canada favorite and meal popular among Upstate New Yorkers, poutine.
We arrived at 51 Commissioners Street just as city-favorite Jonathon Rosa was warming up the main stage and rising talent Jeremy Stott was getting on the Garden Stage.
Rosa’s rise in popularity in recent years has been well-documented, but it was Stott we wanted to catch early on, and he did not disappoint. Careful never to push the tempo too much, he laid down a slick blend of tech and house beats for the roughly 50 or so people who had arrived early to witness.
After Stott was another name that had been on my short list of regional acts to catch a performance from, Nature of Music. The Toronto-based duo took the brunt of the rain that fell on Monday, be it only a light drizzle, and coupled with their brooding bass lines and melodic rhythms allowed for the atmosphere to toy with just about all of the senses. The guys carefully worked from track to track, telling a tale between each deconstructed melody and thumping kick which resulted in arguably my favorite set of the day.
During this time, Dam-Funk held down the main stage due to Jackmaster’s cancellation early on in the week. Dam-Funk worked through a diverse, at times hard to follow, set that included vinyl, live vocals, and several abrupt style changes that covered just about any and all major styles of music in general.
Following, Dam-Funk was the Irish standout, Mano Le Tough, another artist I was looking forward to catching. Mano promptly steered the evening back on track and I took advantage of this time to catch a rest in the VIP area while Charlie captured some photgraphs.
The system radiated with the big, brooding bass lines and deep, melodic leads that earned his signature sound the title of Man Trance and it was in full effect Monday afternoon.
Mano Le Tough handed the decks off to KiNK, who’d been on stage the last 15 minutes prepping his live rig for the awaiting audience. As KiNK took control, the energy in the air shifted almost immediately. Throughout the afternoon it had felt like none of the artists, despite playing incredibly proper sets, were able to truly grab the full attention of the crowd until KiNK. The Bulgarian had the crowd eating out of his hands for the entire live performance, constructing rhythms and adding live improv via drum machines and keyboards every step of the way.
The highlight of the set came right around 8:30pm as Nina was supposed to take the stage. After stripping the last track down to about nothing, the familiar bass line of one of his early hits, ‘Cloud Generator’ came creeping in from the background. For a good five minutes the record’s smashing bass lines laid the background for a barrage of improved piano melodies at the hand of KiNK himself. After another 15 minutes of live work, it was finally time for Nina Kraviz to grace the decks.
Nina was a few minutes late to start, pushing KiNK’s already lengthy 90 minute live set to an impressive almost two hours in duration. As soon as she took over, the darkness of the evening really set in and the projections intensified to match the energy of Nina’s high-bpm style. For over an hour, Kraviz had hi hats and bass lines flying off in all directions as she controlled the crowd with ease.
The crowd swooned as she bopped around the stage, never letting the infectious smile leave her face, while she delivered hit after hit, layering pulsing bass lines, throbbing synths, and high end back melodies with precision accuracy.
Electric Island wraps up the 2017 season with a two-day finale over Labor Day Weekend on September 3rd & 4th. The event features the likes of Claude VonStroke, Chris Liebing, Dusky, Gab Rhome, The Black Madonna, Sonny Fodera, Soul Clap and many more. Stay tuned for details.
All photos taken for Electric Island Civic Day provided by C.P. Abbott Photography. Check the rest of the photos from the event HERE.