By Gabriel Klein
September 16, 2016
VANCOUVER — After wowing the B.C. dance music faithful at this year’s Basscoast with one of the festival’s standout sets, Ivy Lab were set for a return to B.C. at one of my favourite venues in town, Vancouver Arts & Leisure. Having just a week earlier brought drum & bass heavyweights Sinistarr and dBridge to the same venue, I just want to shout out Shah DJs for continually putting on high-quality events in the city, and the VAL, for providing such a great space for dance music. VAL proves that Vancouver needs more two-room venues. Other names on the bill included the ever-present local duo Greazus, and Turu Crew’s 22:22, both of whom you may have also seen this summer at Shambhala and Basscoast, respectively.
To my surprise only one of the Ivy Lab trio was actually present at the event, and some post-show sleuthing revealed that the other two were simultaneously rocking shows in Cardiff and Vienna! Talk about industriousness. Luckily, the quality of the music didn’t suffer from having the crew spread out across three different time zones, and partygoers got treated to that signature mix of liquid and halftime drum and bass, with little forays into other bass music subgenres and even some hip-hop sounds. Ivy Labs appeal definitely lies in being able to deftly apply outside influences into their drum and bass roots without making it sound contrived or mash-up-y. Instead the sound becomes something new and innovative, and frankly hard to categorize. Calling this a drum and bass or even bass music show would be doing it an injustice.
After Ivy Lab’s set (I’m almost 80 per cent sure the man behind the decks was Stray), Greazus treated us to some darker sounds within the drum & bass and dubstep spectrum, while 22:22 held down the second room playing music that I still cannot quite define after having seen him twice already this summer. Think experimental bass music at tempos fluctuating somewhere between 140 and 170 and you might get an idea. If you haven’t yet made it to dance music show at VAL, I absolutely urge you to come check out this oasis of underground culture in the middle of Mount Pleasant. After the recent media attention that the closing of Fabric in London has been getting, we need to be more protective than ever of spaces like it in Vancouver.22:22, BC, British Columbia, Greazus, Ivy Lab, Vancouver Arts and Leisure