Richie Hawtin and friends took over a massive warehouse in Toronto on the From Our Minds Tour – this was my perfectly imperfect experience!
Tucked away in a quiet side of town, far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city of Toronto, is 131 McCormack Street. This was where techno enthusiasts were gathering for the evening for the From Our Minds warehouse rave featuring Barbosa, Decoder, Lindsey Herbert, and the madman himself, Richie Hawtin. It was a frigid night, but warm greetings from security and staff at the entrance were enough to heat up the spirit as I made my way toward the red glow of the breezeway.
I had officially entered my safe space, a room filled with representatives of the counterculture, whose only purpose was to get lifted by chugging basslines and flashing lights. In fact, as I assessed my surroundings, I was delighted to see the vast array of production elements that included the three most important visuals for any proper party – strobes, moving heads, and lasers. The color pallet chosen to take us on a ride was a sensory pleasing combination of blue and red, with the light show increasing in intensity as the night lurched forward.
As I basked in the glow, I looked up to see who was flinging out the incredible beats, and I realized that I was being honored with the presence of Phoenix-based artist Lindsey Herbert. She proved to be an absolute monster behind the decks, pushing the tempo further and further into overdrive as the crowd ate up every single detail. For the first time in a long time, I found myself stomping hard with reckless abandon as the concrete below my feet fought back.
This moment marks the first of just a few perfectly imperfect elements of the night.
The reason I choose to use this term is that, for a rave to truly be a rave, one must abandon the cushy comforts of the mainstream and go back to the root of the party. In fact, the rave was established as an outlet for the misfits of the world, once illegal and taboo. People would gather in secret locations and proceed to mix and mingle without fear of judgment, escaping the trials of life by the thump of the bassline.
With its unsanctioned origins, the “venues” were often not for the faint of heart, and the warehouse chosen for the Richie Hawtin experience was speckled with that raw, rave vibe. As aforementioned, the concrete dancefloor was the first to bring this concept to life. Luckily, I had just broken in a new pair of dancing shoes – so while the floor had the potential to draw the energy away from my body, I maintained the vitality required to bust a move until dawn.
As I worked on my less-than-perfect shuffling skills, my body pinged my brain that it was time to make a pit stop.
This is where the next “potential” speed bump entered the fray. As I made my way toward the bathrooms, I was taken aback by the massive line that spanned from one side of the venue all the way to the other side. At first glance, it seemed like the wait would last forever, but this is where respectful rave culture shined the brightest.
No cutting (besides a few who absolutely needed to), phenomenally quick turnaround, and a positive attitude is the best way to explain my pit stop experience. I was actually quite impressed by the polite demeanor of everyone passing through the line to get to the dancefloor, a trait that often falls to the wayside at mainstream nightclubs. Refreshed and ready for the marathon, I was back under the lasers and lights as Richie Hawtin was taking over the decks.
Richie Hawtin proceeded to beat the soul straight down into the underworld with a highly caffeinated tempo and basslines that shook every organ in the body!
This is where things begin to get a little bit blurry, not due to any substance but because the music was intermingling with every single cell and pulling me into a headspace I hadn’t been in years. It’s easy to get oversaturated, chasing the same style with each and every event, and if I’m going, to be honest, my world has become a tight space filled with nothing but tech house, progressive, and melodic techno. Don’t get me wrong, my heart opens wide for the softer groove, but on this night, I felt my heart explode from the dark, dingy, mechanical, and all-around manic soundwaves.
I was in it to win it, and for the next couple of hours, I was pulling out dance moves I didn’t know I had in me. Eventually, my exhaustion let me know that it was time to rehydrate, and as I approached the cash-only bar, I was met with a situation that COULD have ended the night. I’ll preface by saying it was great to realize that everyone on the dancefloor was respecting their basic human need for H2O, but this caused a quick sell-out, posing a sticky situation. With needs at the forefront, the amazing promoters wouldn’t let this sour the show, thus hightailing it to the closest store, and within minutes the garage doors swung open, and case after case was swiftly run in.
Perfectly imperfect is the best way to describe the night.
From the concrete floor that proved too weak to dominate my dance moves to the long lines that miraculously didn’t take long at all, everything fell together exactly as it should. It was a true rave experience for the modern day with a quintessential sound atmosphere that reminded me why I’m so darn head over heels for this industry. My hat goes off to Apollo Inc, who put together a night I’ll never forget, and my heart belongs to Barbosa, Decoder, Lindsey Herbert, and Richie Hawtin, four remarkable artists who made life a little bit better with every beat!