On a Friday night when the precipitation finally stopped coming down, the arms and hands never quit going up on Day 1 of the electronic dance music (EDM) fest BlockParty London 2015.
The energy flowed both ways, from the stage with its huge arrays of speakers and light and sound systems, out to the pulsating crowd on the hottest and wettest parking lot in London region.
The DJs obviously felt the energy coming back.
“How you guys doing? Are you ready to party?” Dutch superstar DJ Tiesto asked early in his headlining set. No worries on that score. The fans who had partied during a steady rain for earlier DJs enjoyed the parking lot drying out as Tiesto heated things up.
Tiesto supplied such hits as Red Lights and Wasted as thousands of young fans partied along with him. Even with more than a half-hour to go, Tiesto already had provided the night’s most overwhelming mix of sound, beats, lights and spectacular visuals.
A few years ago, Tiesto played indoors at what was still the John Labatt Centre, going into the wee hours as fans lofted a Dutch flag to salute him.
That flag didn’t seem to be waving in the night on Friday, but the word from his team was positive before he hit the stage.
“Tiesto is so pumped . . . he is so pumped,” said BlockParty London co-organizer Mike Manuel, who also helms the London Music Hall. The hall was where Tiesto was expected to be early Saturday when he was to join other DJs at the after-party. Manuel was relaying news of the headliner’s mood via Tiesto’s management team. Tiesto often plays huge outdoor fests, with 30,000 to 40,000 fans.
No estimate on Friday’s crowd was immediately available. But the lot was jammed with fans to the sound booth. An organizer had told Postmedia News that BlockParty London was likely to pull a crowd of about 6,500 fans.
Among the fans who had seen Tiesto in London before was Jenna Whitney, of London, a Western and Fanshawe grad. Whitney also had been to the previous editions of BlockParty.
“This surpasses (the other years) . . . there is such a sense of community,” Whitney said.
Even a fan who said Tiesto had become too mainstream for her taste was excited about Day 2.
“We’re here for (Saturday), for Zeds Dead and Ruby Rose,” said Stephanie Schairer, a graphic designer from Guelph.
Earlier Friday, U.S. DJ Zaxx had visited I Want You To Know. That Zedd hit includes lyrics about “Honey, it’s raining tonight.” Like a weather god, Zaxx gestured to conduct the mist and thunder of his sounds.
Zaxx had joined Aurora DJ Frank Walker, who opened, for the last moments of Walker’s set.
The effect was to keep the sound going. Unwanted silences can be death at EDM events. In the handoff from Walker to Zaxx, the touch was a bigger, two-star version of a familiar EDM device.
A gradual transition from one song to the next and on to the next flows out of the laptops and other gear. It makes the mix sound like one giant song or soundscape, keeping the crowd moving, a local EDM expert said.
Meanwhile, BlockParty London sweetly survived a brief social media tizzy. DJ and actor Rose, who is Stella on the Netflix hit Orange Is The New Black, silenced speculation a movie deal might keep her away. “Hey guys!! To confirm, I’m doing all the shows this weekend and can’t wait!! Then from Tuesday, I’m gone for 5 weeks shooting a film called,” Rose tweeted.
So who knows the film’s name? Rose didn’t have room to say.