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Ekali takes over Velvet Underground T.O


by Jackie Willson

Last week, Vancouver based artist Ekali took the stage at Velvet Underground in Toronto and proved to the city, that Canadian talent is clearly taking over.

Ekali begun producing music in 2012 and since then, has written songs with Drake, took part in Tokyo’s Red Bull Music Academy, and is currently on a very successful North American Tour. His sound is quite unique and his use of genre infused beats and stage presence will blow you away.

Pleasantly surprised by the turnout on a cold November Thursday, Ekali matched his excitement to the crowd’s enthusiasm and anticipation for his upcoming set. Most notable was his stage set up: two HD glass boxes beside the decks with palm trees inside – hello Summer! The lighting felt like something out of an 80’s tropical paradise, it was different, intriguing, and paralleled the music perfectly. From the first song, “Celebrate” by Kool and the Gang, we knew the night was going to be one for the books.

Everyone came ready to dance and to leave all of their troubles on the dance floor. When the artist and the fans are on the same wave length, it really enhances the experience, and for us, it solidified how good Ekali was live. The effort he puts into the show is the exact same effort he puts into his music, and it visibly pays off. After pumping everyone up with old 80’s hits he transitioned into early 2000 drum and base, sampled his remix of “Babylon” with Skrillex, and then came through with Gucci Mane’s banger “Both,” featuring Drake.

Ekali continued to play through tracks seamlessly. The tracks were matched flawlessly, and when he sensed a beat really got the crowed going he played through it. The evening continued with some more 80’s and 90’s hits and then brought us back to today with ASAP Ferg (“Work” remix) Kanye, and of course more Drake. Ekali also surprised the crowd with a sample of Rage Against the Machine and Krane’s Fallout before pleasing the dubstep crowd once again.

In many ways, Ekali is everyone’s DJ. He knows how to read a crowd and create a set that has variety, but remains true to his sound. It was a fairly unexpected night, but everyone visibly wished it would never end. A huge thanks to Ekali for confirming our home grown talent is killing the music scene, we will definitely see him at the next show.

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