For official photos of Labour of Love 2013, click here.
School has just begun, and the summer may be over, but don’t tell that to the people running The Guvernment. Last weekend, the mega-club entertainment complex played host to their usual two-day, end-of-summer event, Labour of Love, which saw 10,000 frenzied fans pack the doors and various rooms. Featuring fireworks, circus dancers, and a list of DJs that could go head-to-head with the best at any festival, this was the perfect seasonal send-off at Toronto’s most famous club. This wasn’t just an all-night party, but an all-morning party as well–the dancefloor was still bumping at 6:30 a.m. both days. For those of you who have made the journey, I don’t have to tell you how awesome it was. For everyone else, read below.
Day 1 began with huge lineups (expected) and a fireworks show rivaling Canada Day (unexpected). From outside, excited clubgoers could feel the low hum of the bass emerging from inside Kool Haus and The Guvernment, and the excitement and anticipation was palpable. If you’ve never been to the world-renowned superclub, I highly suggest you do so – that first instance when one walks smack-dab into the heart of the beast is an unforgettable moment. Inside Kool Haus, Sander van Doorn hopped on the decks at midnight and kicked things off with megahits such as Into The Light, Joyenergizer, and his newest release, Neon. To say the house was packed was an understatement – it was so hot than t-shirts were definitely optional. On the other side in the main room, Kill The Noise and Tommy Trash played back-to-back and absolutely brought the house down (and the dubstep and trap, for you KTN fans). KTN’s boundless enthusiasm was easily apparent; he wowed fans with new remixes off his Black Magic Remixes EP and his typical bass, while still managing to throw in a few lighter tracks as well. Tommy was, well, Tommy. There’s a reason he’s on the short-list for best electro house producers on the planet. Aside from his usual selection of big-room hits (hello Reload sing-along) I managed to catch two unreleased Tommy Trash productions during his set, and believe me when I say that they were banging!
The remainder of Day 1 was a proverbial blur–bass gods Chase & Status in one room, trance lords W&W in the other. One song that I felt badly needed an update- Avicii’s Wake Me Up – saw a massive remix courtesy of W&W (ID as of this moment), and the crowd went bonkers. The 4-6 a.m. time slot belonged to Showtek, and so did the hearts and minds of the Guvy faithful. The floor may have been dirty and sticky by that time, but that didn’t stop the whole crowd from getting down for yet another one of those infamous “sit down until the drop” moments. After closing with a new, unreleased track, I glanced at my phone. I read 6:15 – time to go home and recharge for Day 2. As I walked towards the bus, the streets were quiet. The only sounds I could hear were the squish of my sweat-soaked shoes and the various beats running through my head.
Day 2 began as the second half of any epic party begins – with doubt. Could I really summon the emotional strength to go wild one more time? Better yet, could I summon the leg strength? You try dancing for seven consecutive hours. Then it hit me like a 128 BPM drop – this is Labour of Love, the rookie game is down the street! I scarfed down some poutine (link for the uninitiated), knocked back my fair share of 1800 Tequila, and strapped on my big boy shoes. As soon as the bright lights and beats reached my body I realized I had made a great decision. I was back. I was home!
The talented trio of Dannic, Hardwell, and Dyro played back-to-back-to-back sets Sunday night, treating fans to exclusive mash-up after exclusive remix and proving that their massive buzz wasn’t unfounded. I wouldn’t call myself the biggest Hardwell fan before that night, but I’ll give the man credit where credit is due – he put on a hell of a show. One definite highlight was a filthy bootleg/mashup of the JT/Jay Z collab Holy Grail (found here). The other two flying Dutchmen were no slouches either – Rocker lived up to its name and Paradise had the crowd crying tears of ecstasy.
Finishing off the main room and the festivities was former Swedish House Mafioso Steve Angello. To those out there still hating on the man (you know who you are), his set silenced any doubters. Scheduled for a two and a half hour set time, Angello kept going and going and going, spinning for an incredible five hours and ending at 7:00 in the morning! Dropping down the DJ stage to become eye-level with the crowd, one couldn’t help but feel Angello’s performance on a personal level. His set was an awesome combination of old school hits, new age classics, confetti, a fog machine and the classic Guv horn. I can’t say I was in love with Don’t You Worry Child before Sunday night, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t sing every single word alongside a thousand other people. It was a long trek back home in the sunlight (hello Monday morning!), but it was worth every second – it truly was a Labour of Love.