In an unfamiliar city, there was that all too familiar positive anxiety as some of my closest friends and I hurriedly walked the streets of Montreal from our hotel to a relatively new venue that has been gaining quite the name for itself. It was the weekend of May 18th and after a long week touring upstate New York, doing a few college graduation gigs, I found myself in the heart of French-Canada with some of my dearest friends going to see one of the greats performing live. Many of my friends are bi-monthly guests of Canada, seeing any and every show that Montreal has to offer. I however, do not get as many opportunities to make it to the shows up North, so I try to make every trip count, going to see Mark Knight was a no-brainer.
I had never been to New City Gas, I have updated our shows page about a plethora of events that take place there on a monthly basis, and I am always astounded to the versatilely of genres that come through the venue, as well as the calibre of entertainment; needless to say I had some predetermined bias on what to expect, in my mind I pictured Montreal’s version of Pacha. To my surprise I found something much better.
As we rounded the bend I was pretty impressed with what I was presented. The first thing one notices is the large stack of ISO containers, the kind you see on giant freight ships, big steel cargo containers, all of which were draped with large banners brandishing Mark Knights label “TOOLROOM KNIGHTS”. These ISO containers not only gave an overwhelming feeling of a warehouse rave but also served as entrance gates to the first of two checkpoints of admission. Past the ISO container wall was the venue itself, a large warehouse building with a rugged windowless brick facade. The walls adorned with bright LED lamps and the words “TOOLROOM KNIGHTS” projected across the wall facing the line. Overall the initial presentation of the venue made me feel at home, as if I was walking into an after-hours rave in Brooklyn.
After the first check point, only your ID making sure you are of age to enter, there is a second stop where you are asked to present a ticket for admission. I was impressed with the streamlined process of this, my tickets were on call and I received my entrance stamp immediately and proceeded down a few flights of stairs to a very speedy coat check, after which with mild confusion we found the dance floor.
We had made it just in time for Mark Knight to get on and from beginning to end I was very impressed with his mastery of mixing. For some reason or another my friends and I always prefer to stand front left of the stage, so as is tradition that is exactly where we landed. Flanked on either end by bars it was pretty quick to get alcohol if you needed any, and all the VIP booths remained to the left, right, and rear of the rectangular venue so, in a way, the individuals who purchased a $20 GA ticket had a better view than those who had spent a couple thousand on a table, that is a huge plus.
I liked the mentality of the crowd at this event, everyone was very courteous and polite. Most people kept their distance from each other to allow one another room to dance, and even right at the front row no one was piled on one another crushing some poor girls diaphragm into a steel fence post.
Mark Knight was on point all night, smooth transitions, classic samples of old songs brought into renditions of the new, even the old “Got ya!” as he brought Nari & Milani’s “Atom” to a boil (a song made very popular when SHM opened up with it in Madison Square Garden) and brought the drop into something completely different, something that makes the whole crowd go “oooh”. Predictability is something that I cannot stand in a DJ set, having seen Dada Life and Tommy Trash a few times, and if you have seen these artists more than once I think you know what I am saying, but Mark Knight had none of this, its easy to say that some of the tunes played I may never be able to find, released, unreleased ripped, or just ever, there is something about the novelty of a uniquely tuned set that just makes for an intimate connection with the artist. The TOOLROOM KNIGHTS label has been gaining a lot of momentum and its clear to see why, they foster some of the biggest names out there right now and they are run by a straight up and down electronic music legend.
As far as the night went, well it was one to be remembered, I am surprised I was able to retain all of this for even a day after, let alone a week. The only thing that I found myself complaining about was that the sound was not as good as some of the other smaller venues in the surrounding area. It was good but I guess I expected more, umph, I know some of the smaller clubs in the surrounding area support FUNKTION ONE sound, and a few others have completely ground up custom rigs, I was expecting something a little along those lines. All in all everything else was completely on point and I had an amazing time, certainly a place that I will be returning to.
So if you are in the area make sure to check out an event at New City Gas, even if you are new to the scene, you will love it, and if you are anywhere in the world, find Mark Knight, and go pay all your money to listen to him live. Follow us on twitter and check our facebook page to see more photos of the event, cheers!