The night John Digweed played for 11 hours.

It was one of the most anticipated shows of the year, the legend himself returns to Stereo Montréal. With one of our talented local DJ’s withdrawing his name from the bill, [ALL NIGHT LONG] was added beside John Digweed. With the surprise twist and no one knowing how long he would play, there was nothing but excitement in the air. He started the journey off with a steady pace for the first couple hours getting everyone warmed up by making them groove. His selection of slow and melodic undertones alongside highs that made you pay close attention to every detail was what the party needed to get going.

2AM-6AM: The deep sundering bass which drove everyone to dance picked up it’s speed over the course of the many hours he played. Much like a book, John was telling us a story with his set list. Narrating the tale with his tracks, mixing in emotion with the limited use of vocals and having everyone in sync with one another. He had us all on the same page with a neutral progressive sound, an introduction of whats to come. Creating anticipation and tension from the excitement filling the room, smiles began to generate as the ground started to rumble.

6AM-9AM: Digweed transitioned from a progressive sound into techno by seamlessly melding two tracks of opposite genres together. The melody of progression and the heavy drums of techno were all too surreal. The journey took a dark turn at this point, as for the next couple hours the techno got darker and heavier. Some dancing harder to the fast paced treble, others pacing themselves to the slow and steady bass in the background. This was the part where everyone heard the music as they chose to hear it.

9AM-12PM: As the menacing techno subsided, John brought back some classic beats. I say classic because some 15-20 years ago, Progressive House didn’t sound like it did today. The very middle of a set would be faster to give the high energy presence that the people needed. Hearing songs that brought us all back to the late 90’s and early 00’s, the set at that point sounded timeless. It almost sounded as though I was witnessing Sasha and John mixing their own “Renaissance: The Mix Collection”. This portion of the set was similar to the masterful sound of Danny Tenaglia. I had asked Mike Larry (Darkroom) what was it exactly that made this unique timeless sound so rare? “It’s something only 30 years experience can do. That’s why you’re thinking of Danny right now. Experience is what makes it rare.” The vibe was authentic and as tired as everyone was, no one could argue with a sound that just said “original”. John took a moment to speak with those in the booth, I was very fortunate enough to ask him one question;

Rye: John, What do you think of Stereo Montréal?

J D: I don’t have to answer that, It’s 11:30 and I’m still playing!

He shakes my hand and returns to his gear bag fishing out USB’s. Satisfied with my answer, I return to the best dance floor in Montréal to see what sounds he could have in store for us. Shooting the crowd back in time to another era and getting that old school 90’s underground vibe by feeling his nostalgia through the music.

12pm-1PM(Closing) : The last hour or so was packed with a range of emotions. He laid down songs with powerful lyrics, soulful vocalizing and some that just made you dance a little differently. At this point in his set, he was playing songs that felt deep. It was as though there was an emotion everyone forgot about. It’s what I like to call relief. Only lyrics by Depeche Mode and The Chemical Brothers could do such a thing. Everyone was cheering between tracks to show their support for the selection of what sounded like vocal-progressive-techno. The vocals were heavy, they were heard clearly and matched perfectly with the beats behind them. As the vocals faded out John ended it all with some robotic sounds a well as dropping the tempo, almost like a machine winding down to stop. He was shutting down the club in the most passionate way I’ve ever seen. We could hear that he didn’t want to stop, but had to pull the plug. It was a very memorable night as all the dancers that stayed until the end were cheering their loudest for him. We all thanked him for his time and the love he shows for Montréal. It’s quite possibly the set of the year for many people.

John Digweed , the man, the legend, the genius behind the decks showed us what he’s all about.

He was able to play anything and everything he wanted. His passion for music showed us the broad spectrum of electronic music that he loves. Branching out and touching the roots of all the great genres Stereo goers love, his set included; House, Deep House, Vocal house, Soul, Progressive House, Progressive Techno, Dub Techno and a whole lot more of that melodic sound from when he started it all. This plethora of sound, the range of emotion that transcended was what made the night so special. It wasn’t about an icon playing a marathon set and giving Danny T a run for his money, it wasn’t the fact he played open to close. It was just that. He played everything we all wanted to hear and everyone left more than satisfied.

I recommend catching John Digweed whenever possible, He is one of the greatest in our life time and is not to be missed. If you’re fortunate enough to catch him at Stereo here in Montréal, I suggest you make the trip. Fans from Toronto and some of the neighboring states came up to see him play. It goes to show you how dedicated his fans are. Remember, these DJ’s wouldn’t work or play as long as they do if it weren’t for their fans. The delicate idea behind such a long set is simple; The more people that stay and dance, the longer they spin. This is the important role his fans play and he loves each and every one of us for it. It was a team effort, I would like to thank everyone that was able to stick it out for the last stretch of the set. If it weren’t for you all, John wouldn’t have played as long as he did or with nearly the same amount of passion so here’s to John Digweed; thank you for guiding us through the journey of a life time and for having tremendous love for Stereo.

Thought of the night:

The tale was told by John, however it was the story of the dancers that he was reading.

Rye Guy

SPOTLIGHT track played by John Digweed

The Chemical Brothers – Sometimes I feel so Deserted (Skream Remix)