Last Friday, as we step into Celebrities nightclub – a staple for some of the biggest DJ performances in Vancouver – after a brief spell of waiting in line, my senses are immediately shifted into over-drive. Feeling a little dizzy, I gather myself with a reminder that I am in full control of my senses for the night. Or so I think. You see, tonight belongs to House legend, Wolfgang Gartner.
As the anticipation builds for the 30-year-old Californian to appear, glow sticks are being contorted to fit around wrists, drinks are being poured along the bar with the methodological precision of an assembly line, and the dance floor resembles a snake, with people weaving in and out every so often. It is the calm before the storm. As the opening DJ’s finish their set, the atmosphere shifts significantly when Wolfgang appears from his perch in the DJ booth. Those who have been – until now – waiting in line for a drink, or just leaning up against the bar casually, now rush on to the dance floor in a crazed frenzy trying to jockey for a good view.
As he places his fingers along the turntables, the first track blares through the speakers, and for a moment, it is as if Gartner has struck a match and flung it into a pool filled with gasoline. Intensity and pure adrenaline washes over the crowd in waves, as fists immediately spring up in the air, feet leave the ground for a few moments before returning to their original position, and loud yelps and whistles echo through the club.
Wolfgang sets a torrid pace to his set with classics like “Space Junk” and “Push and Rise.” The familiar electro-house sound in both of these tracks gets a huge reaction from the crowd, and will set the standard for what is to come later in the night. After his classics, Gartner plays some big room tunes like “The Way it Was” and “Menage a Trois,” which he then transitions into “Undertaker.” At this point, evidence of just how much fans are enjoying Gartner’s music is beginning to show. The glass barrier which separates Wolfgang from the crowd is now stained with fingerprints from active fans trying to reach for a better picture or video of the performance. To his credit, Wolfgang smiles and poses for photos, giving “high fives” to many hands, all while focusing on the turntables below him.
Personally, my favourite part of his set included newer tracks like “Animal Rights” and “Redline,” which is sure to be a massive hit by year’s end. Wolfgang rounded out his night by playing the track of the night – really what everyone was waiting for – “Illmerica.”
His performance was an up-beat style of electro-house music that came equipped with a plan for some major dancing. There were rarely any moments where the crowd was not screaming along with the heavy bass or bobbing to every beat. I would recommend a set like Wolfgang’s to anyone who has an extra pair of shoes to wear the next day, and a serious hunger for some electro music! Wolfgang came to Vancouver, saw, and conquered it, taking our senses along with him for one night.
Written by: Farzad Kasad
Photo credit: Cascadia Records