Concert Reviews

Dreams Music Festival 2017 Day 2

With an impressive day one, I was overjoyed with anticipation for what the second day of Digital Dreams would bring.

The interesting turn of events of day one had only made me more excited for day two. If anything, it had given the first day a little added excitement and certainly won’t be forgotten anytime soon. But I shouldn’t focus on the past and instead turn my attention to the artists, their sets, and the insanity that is day two of Dreams Festival 2017!

This sunny Saturday started off with one of my all time favourite DJs/producer/radio host, Anna Lunoe! Coming straight off a train from a show in Ottawa the night before, Anna Lunoe took to the Echo Beach stage with her high energy or Hyperhouse, if you will, staple of bass banging, groove infecting, dancefloor moving, hype inducing music. The only woman to play this year’s Dreams Festival was catching the good vibes from Toronto crowd and thanked first time and long time fans for coming out to see her play.  Including tracks such as Ring Ring and co-created Stomper from long time collaborator Chris Lake, to Valentino Khan’s bassy Pump, to her own recently released monster tracks Godzilla, Bullseye and Stay Awake, it was like something out of a 60s-surf party where there wasn’t a soul who wasn’t dancing up a sandstorm to Anna Lunoe’s stellar set, including the DJ herself. 

Deciding to expand my experience from just Echo Beach, I had decided to make my way to the opposite end of the festival to check out the smallest but most well dressed Waterfront Stage. Resembling something of a tropical hideaway, the Waterfront Stage was infected with greenery tucked away at the bottom of a bowl-shaped hill, beyond the Dream House and food trucks. For it being in the smallest space of the three stages, there was a large amount of people crowded around the tropical themed DJ terrarium with just enough space to comfortably groove without getting too cramped. I caught UK producer, Jax Jones cranking out a stellar house set and was extremely humbled by the amount of people who accumulated during his time on stage. Following Jax Jones was the infamous Shiba San. Unfortunately, I had only stayed for a bit to catch French producer’s Deep and G-house riddled set, but from the second he hit those decks it was nearly impossible for me to not catch his groove! 

I took a breather from the music to grab a snack from the festival’s delicious food trucks and to see what other goods the festival had to offer. I checked out some vendors; including what Dreams Festival’s official merchandisers, Vitaly had to offer; bounced around in X Infused’s bouncy ball pit and took a photo in Bud Light’s photo booth. There was plenty of moving space between stages and nothing felt cramped together which is necessary when you need to take a break from the crowds. 

While venturing the grounds, I eventually found myself in the outpour of the Dream House tent for Infected Mushroom. That tent was so packed that not only did it spill out of the tent itself, the inside of the tent looked nice and steamy from the outside looking in! Their blend of psytrance and electronica was something that I haven’t listened to in a while so it was a good change of sound and their energy practically infected those who got close to the overflowing tent.

I eventually made my way back to the Waterfront Stage to witness the first of two Dillon Francis appearances, this time under his deep house moniker, DJ Hanzel. To my expectations, many others were eager to see DJ Hanzel for the waterfront was packed to where the entire space, from stage to the top of the surrounding hill was packed in anticipation. Sporting all black attire and matching shades, the deepest of deep house DJs did not disappoint. Playing many tracks from his previous radio mixes and expecting nothing less, the packed Waterfront stage got lost in the deepness that is expected from DJ Hanzel. 

Switching from deep and bassy to hard and high energy, local heavyweights DVBBS commanded the Echo Beach stage with authority. The Orangeville duo of Chris Chronicles and Alex Andre showed nothing but love for their home crowd and received the same in return when playing their expected set consisting of big room bangers, hard hitting trap and mind melting dubstep. The duo easily took control of their city by cranking up the energy to 11 with Andre serving as hype man. The local duo was not only seamlessly getting the Toronto crowd’s energy up but also showing the world that Toronto goes hard for their upcoming Netflix special. But that was only a taste of how insane the night would progress because for the first time outside of Los Angeles or a cruise ship, something special was about happen. 

In a literal blaze of glory, Curt Cameruci of Flosstradamus and Dillon Francis of Dillon Francis would join forces for the first time in Canada to form Dillstradamus. There have been many times in Toronto that they have played the same stage weather it be nights apart (Danforth Music Hall, 2014) or minutes apart (Ever After, 2016), so to share the stage at the same time is something special and has only been done twice before anywhere. What was expected to be something of a b2b was a perfect marriage of both artists’ sounds with Flosstradamus’ hard trap sounds blended with Dillon Francis’ signature moobathon beats. Of course, both artists had thrown in some of their famous tacks like Flosstradamus’ Prison Riot and genre defining remix of Major Lazer’s Original Don, and Dillon Francis’ Need You and VIP version of his most recent track Say Less for good measure. The duo also added in What’s My Age Again by Blink-182, Queen’s We Will Rock You and Waiting for Tonight Jennnifer Lopez for added flavour. And in the same explosive way they came in, but this time with fireworks, Dillstradamus closed the night with the crowd begging for more until the house lights came on.

Overall, with the smaller lineup and grounds size, this year’s Dreams Festival felt more intimate and the prefect festival for those looking to enjoy a weekend of the wide spectrum that is electronic music. Many different styles and genres were showcased giving a wide variety, which can’t be said for all festivals. It is a new direction considering the subtle re-branding by dropping the digital from the dreams, but is certainly a positively different experience that feels more mature, accessible and fun for the electronic music lover. These past two days have been nothing but good vibes, great music and even greater times. I’m already counting down the days to next year!

About author

Music writer for Live in Limbo. Anthony spends most of his free time wandering downtown Toronto in search of new food and fashion or surfing music sites on the hunt for his new favourite sounds. Find him online @aikidcruz.