The island was alive this past weekend with the sound of music – perhaps a bit too lively for our neighbours on the South Shore.
ÎleSoniq closed off its sophomore year with some impressive acts, which included a diverse listing across the EDM spectrum. I suppose that’s the best part of the evolution in electronic dance music: artists are not afraid to indulge in a cross-pollination of genres and sub genres. In addition, there was an impressively powerful female presence this year. Despite some stale vibes from the crowd, the ladies brought the ‘house’ down.
Friday kicked off ÎleSoniq with several big acts, including Die Antwoord, Kaskade and Deadmau5.
The South African duo Yolandi and Ninja of Die Antwoord brought some crazy energy to the main stage. While people overall appeared to be enjoying the set, it became apparent that the crowd sentiments was somewhat divided between “hells YEAH!” and “WTF…?”
We get it, Die Antwoord is not for everyone, however music diversity is healthy and makes the world go round. So sprinkle some salt on that EDM sandwich and eat it up.
Deadmau5 & Kaskade
The only word that can be used to describe Kaskade’s set is: nostalgia. Each artist played a few favourites which brought us back several years. Deadmau5 knows a thing or two about showmanship, and it was proved on Friday night. Between the impressive stage set up and Joel’s signature mau5 look, he was later accompanied by well-known left shark. Lefty’s 15 minutes of fame extended as Joel set his DJ booth to auto-pilot, and enjoyed a beer on the couch with his finned friend.
Keisza and Azealia Banks
There’s something to be said about female musical talent in the EDM world. They are rocking it and owning it! Saturday showcased a strong female presence on stage which reinforced that women are kicking some serious derrière in the EDM music scene.
Calgary’s own Keisza graced the crowd with her energized sweet self . Her 90’s-infused retro-electro-grunge style brought us back to the days of MuchMusic’s Electric Circus. Witnessing her live performance proved that her voice is just as powerful on stage as it is on the radio. Her vocal range is nothing short of impressive – that girl can sing. When Keisza disclosed that a close friend had recently passed, the empathetic crowd listened silently and cheered as she dedicated the next song in their honour.
Harlem-bred Azealia Banks presented a solid set to the ÎleSoniq crowd. It was nice to finally see her perform live after cancelling her Osheaga 2013 performance last minute. She took a moment to speak with the crowd and expressed her appreciation for Montreal. This was after all the city where her career first took off. According to Banks, Montreal gave her a chance when New York wouldn’t.
Despite the crowds lack of enthusiasm (the HELL was THAT all about?!?) we were completely pumped by Azealia’s performance. While the audio appeared to be off during several moments of her performance, Azealia kicked major ass on stage and served us all with some 212 realness.
Overall it seemed that the majority of the Soniq crowd was more interested in hardcore, ‘traditional’ EDM than the inter-mixing of genres. Certain acts generated a bigger crowd than others, and general interest was paid to some of the more ‘senior’ acts.
If there’s one thing that you cannot take away from Montrealers, it’s street style. While many attendees decided to forego clothing altogether, we did manage to snap a few shots of our favourite Soniq styles.
Despite the many issues with the cash-less system, Evenko has plans to implement the modern payment system across the board into other festivals. Jacques Aubé did make mention of assessing how well it was received at ÎleSoniq before introducing it to next years round of music festivals. The system was not without its issues last weekend, as many were unable to actually ‘connect’ their bracelets to their credit cards. Debit and cash top-up stations were set up in order to accommodate those who could not connect credit to their bracelets due to these technical issues. There are also plans to extend ÎleSoniq by adding a third day once the festival increases in popularity.
All in all it was quite the weekend. As always no event comes without its challenges, so when you’re dealing with a crowd of 45,000 – things tend to get crazy.
Thanks Evenko, until next year.
*All photography by Sandrine.