On the evening of the 25th of March, I found myself standing in the lobby of the Société des arts technologiques (SAT), an unlikely club-like venue located in downtown Montreal on rue St-Laurent. I had been waiting for this moment for what felt like ages. Gorgon City had finally arrived! They brought a full live show and an arsenal of guest DJs with them, which made that night’s gig one of the best I’ve ever experienced.
As I waited in the lobby for Bucketlist Prez, Liz, to arrive, a number of eager-looking concert-goers entered the main stage area. From where I was standing, I couldn’t see much. I wasn’t sure if the venue was full, or if only a few people had arrived as early as I had. Once we checked our coats and gathered our tickets from reception, Liz and I passed security and walked down the short, dimly lit passage which led to the main room. The stage was at the back of the room, already set up for Gorgon City’s live set. In the middle was the DJ table, flanked on both sides by massive speakers. Just past 9pm, there were no more than twenty people in the room; a few were out on the floor dancing while the majority were sitting on the benches and chairs that lined the perimeter of the space.
By this time, one half of the DJ duo Wayward had already taken the stage. Lawrence Gale Hayes was absent, so it was Louis Greenwood who opened the show solo. Despite the lack of audience, Greenwood looked as if he was having a great time. He played an hour-long set of deep, relaxing house music. In all honesty, I am disappointed that there weren’t more people in attendance for this set. Wayward is an act from which we will undoubtedly be hearing more in the future.
At 10pm, Kidnap Kid (aka Matt Relton) made his way on stage, and consequently my brain fell right out of my head. (Please excuse me whilst I fangirl as I write this…) Kidnap Kid, a recent discovery of mine from Sheffield in South Yorkshire, is not only one of my favourite musical acts right now, but also my future husband. Probably the sexiest man I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes, he had Liz and I completely entranced. I’ve currently got his track “Stronger” on repeat, and it has brought me right back to SAT where I had chills running up and down my arms and legs. As his set progressed, the number of people in the audience increased, as did the number of people dancing about. Random cheers erupted from the crowd here and there, and Kidnap Kid couldn’t help but smile, at one point even giving us thumbs up. While I would have loved to hear two of my favourite Kidnap Kid tracks, “Like You Used To” and “Thin Lines,” I was still left completely satisfied (and on cloud nine) when Tommy from My Nu Leng arrived on stage to take over.
Transitioning seamlessly from Kidnap Kid’s banger of a set, Bristol natives My Nu Leng went hard from beginning to end. By this time the crowd had swelled, and there was barely any room to move around the dance floor. Having never heard anything from this DJ duo, I will admit that I was quite impressed with the set that Tommy had put together. Recognized for mixing genres and pushing the envelope, My Nu Leng definitely got the crowd moving and totally pumped for what was to come. Near the end of the set, Tommy, like Kidnap Kid, dropped both beats and bass that gave me chills. Having scoured their Soundcloud page top to bottom, I would definitely recommend their remix of Rudimental’s “Right Here”, which features vocals by pop superstar Foxes.
At 12:15am, we were welcomed to Gorgon City as Matt “RackNRuin” Robson-Scott and Kye “Foamo” Gibbon stormed the stage, accompanied by percussionist Nathan Curran, also known as Tugg the Drummer. Following a brief instrumental introduction, vocalists Josh Barry and Lulu James entered from stage left, getting things started with a performance of “Coming Home,” the first track off of Sirens, Gorgon City’s debut album. The energy of the band combined with the energy of the crowd made for an experience that is honestly difficult to translate into words. Barry and James worked the crowd, whose singing was at times louder than that of the performers. Their vocal talent and energy were undeniable; they had no trouble whatsoever filling the shoes of album vocalists Jennifer Hudson, Laura Welsh, Anne-Marie, and MNEK, amongst others. Barry and James were the stars of the show.
Interspersed with house and drum and bass instrumental interludes, the majority of tracks from Sirens, such as “Unmissable,” “Elevate,” and “Here For You,” were played to the sheer delight of the fans. One of my personal favourites, “Imagination,” electrified the audience whose enthusiasm radiated from the front of the stage to the back of the room. The set ended with performances of smash hit singles “Ready For Your Love” and “Go All Night.”
Gorgon City’s live set is energetic, exciting, and an experience I wish I could relive. While the songs performed stayed true to their album versions for the most part, the addition of a drum set and the vocals of Barry and James allowed for slight re-imaginations that resulted in an entirely new experience. Having had Sirens on repeat since the end of December, it was incredible to hear the songs in a slightly different light. In short, the experience of Gorgon City live is, as Zak Abel belts out on the album, unmissable.
Written by Victoria Rae