Dada Life Encamps Toronto
After the cancellation of the Dada Land Compound last year, Toronto was expecting big things when the Compound was confirmed for 2015. However, the reasoning behind why the Compound was canceled really seemed to piss Toronto off, leading to A LOT of anticipation. You could feel the excitement around the Metro Toronto Convention Center on the cold March 21 night.
The MTCC itself added to the buildup of the Compound. The venue is massive and the amount of washrooms and bars within the setup is impressive. A venue this size had to have patrons wondering, what is Dada bringing? One of the only setbacks from the venue is that you could tell this was not a regular “show” spot. But the positive of this is that the coat check had a large staff of mature workers each controlling their own station. A big step up from the single file lines you can find at most clubs. The downside? Because of the sheer size of the venue, the lighting at the back near the bars was fully turned on and tended to take away from the usual mood of an indoor show.
Beyond the venue, Dada Life real does embody what it means to have fun. Little things like the photo booth with cardboard cut outs of Stefan and Olle and the rules of dada land signs throughout the entrance are details that really make the difference as to why people are excited for the show. Dada Life’s efforts in the little things for the Compound are what make thousands of fans attend these shows, some even in full out banana costumes. Things like the endless inflatables thrown into the crowd, the gigantic hanging banana everyone dancers underneath, or the pillows and fluff thrown into the throngs of people, are the things that make fans angry it was only a Dada Life show last year, and not a Dada Land Compound. This is an experience that goes beyond the music. It creates great memories for people.
The Dada Land Compound was also a warm up for Toronto as the city enters a summer chock-full of local festivals to attend. The Compound line up was announced leading up to the event and looked as intriguing as it did entertaining. Going from Henry Fong to Loudpvck felt natural, but having Ilan Bluestone after a sweaty and energetic trap set was different, but the crowd loved it. The transition from trap to trance was awesome and the crowd really reacted well to Bluestone who played multiple songs by Toronto favorites Above and Beyond. Mak J amped up the tempo before Dada came on as he catered to the 19+ 90’s crowd, similar to Loud PVCK’s set, playing old school hits by DMX, Notorious B.I.G and randomly Papa Roach.
Between the massive venue and all the playful additions the Compound brings, the crowd almost exploded as Dada Life took the stage. The buildup was really something to behold and something management should be proud of. The openers should also give themselves a pat on the back as they really kept the crowds energy high and feet moving in what was a very early start to a long night.
It should be immediately noted that the duo literally does not stop moving throughout their performance. More importantly, they demanded the crowd’s energy to be up to Dada Land standards, reminding everyone where they were and how long they had waited for this. EDM gets criticized for fans not actually going to shows for “the music”, but at a Dada Land Compound, there really is more. Fans ran around the MTCC to take pictures with the inflatables, and everyone who got a pillow really made the mosh in the middle of the crowd a site to behold. More importantly was that Dada Life followed through with their promise of bringing ALL of their equipment. The lasers were nothing short of amazing and you could really see the efforts that went into synching the lasers with the music; it set the mood nicely in some awe inspiring moments.
Overall, the Dada Land Compound was a great experience, but the show itself was not a real “rave” vibe. This can be attributed more to the fact that indoor Toronto raves do not have organized coat check and floor space to spare. There was more than enough room for shufflers throughout the entire night and the lineup really was a festival lineup catering to every sort of EDM fan. As everyone was handed fake smiley mouths upon passing through Dada Land immigration, it is easy to sum up what Stefan and Olle have created with the Dada Life Compound in one word… fun. Their energy, their props and their music really bring out the energy in a city that is used to having big names pass through. Toronto waited anxiously (as did Dada Life) for the Compound to come and it was worth the wait.