Toronto

April 11, 2010

MARCH 29, 2010 – APRIL 5, 2010

It’s hard to believe it had been 8 years since my last (and first) trip to Toronto, which was only a 2-day visit for Canadian Music Week in 2002. Needless to say, I was long overdue for a return to the east coast. The reason for this trip? To play a show in Hamilton with Vancouver hiphop supergroup, The Boombox Saints, on the third stop of their ‘Hometown Tour.’

The other reason? To party in the T-Dot..

DAY 1, TUESDAY:
When I arrived in Toronto on Tuesday, The Boombox Saints had already arrived earlier that day after playing a show the night before in Huggy’s hometown of Winnipeg, MB. After a cab ride from the airport that set me back $62(!), I met up with Adi, Huggy and Mike (group’s manager and my former classmate from recording school), at Adi’s cousin’s house in Scarborough where we stayed the next couple of nights. Our first night was pretty chill, and consisted of chicken wings (a common theme of this trip) and Super Nintendo. I think this was the only day/night of the trip where no alcohol was consumed…

DAY 2, WEDNESDAY:

We made our way to Downtown Toronto, linked with third Boombox Saints member JP (who was staying out with family in his hometown of Hamilton), his girl Sam and his sister Jade, then spent much of the day walking around downtown Toronto. We connected with our good friend, Vancouverite-turned-Torontonian, Char, then after a greasy meal at Popeye’s Chicken, we met (in-person for the first time) Twitter pal Sam aka. YourGirlSam and Mahsa of The Substance Group. We then walked up Queen Street, passed by the iconic MuchMusic building where the VJ’s were filming something inside that included shots of us on the street (video here) then headed back to Dundas Square for dinner at Jack Astor’s.

Some Toronto friends, Red & Vince, joined us for dinner, then afterwards took us over to a spot called Wicked. Not sure what the party was that night, but it was interesting.. haha. See what I mean by checking out their website. Don’t judge me.. LOL. Before the night was over, we zipped over to 111 Yorkville where the homie DJ Tilt was spinning. Nice lounge with a nice vibe. I wasn’t planning on deejaying so I didn’t have my laptop or anything with me, but when I got there Tilt let me hop on the decks for a bit using his gear. I think this was my first time deejaying using someone else’s laptop and music library. Tilt kept handing me shots which made the night a little blurry, but apparently NBA all-star Chris Bosh along with some other Toronto Raptors & LA Clippers were there partying after their game in town that night. FUN NIGHT! Big shoutout to DJ TILT!

DAY 3, THURSDAY:

We packed our things from Scarborough and checked into a hotel in downtown Toronto for the next couple nights. HUGE SHOUTS to YourGirlSam for hooking us up with a ridiculous suite at OneKingWest for a ridiculous rate. Wow. 44th floor Premium Suite with an amazing panoramic view of downtown Toronto, the harbourfront, and CN Tower. None of us wanted to leave this room. Ever.

After a quick & delicious meal at Chipotle Mexican Grill (like Toronto’s version of Vancouver’s Red Burrito), we stopped by the liquor store, which due to Easter Long weekend had the longest lineup I’ve ever seen at a liquor store. And why are there hardly any liquor stores in downtown Toronto???

Drinks back at the hotel, then headed out to Wonderland @ Maro where DJ Mensa was spinning alongside DJ Spoonz. Mensa had been a guest DJ on hunt.FM, but it was my first time meeting him in person too. It was another great night of drinks and good music with the Boombox crew, and YourGirlSam, Mahsa, Char and Tilt were there partying too.

DAY 4, FRIDAY:

I woke up before everyone else to meet with Lyon Lee, a Toronto DJ turned label head, who heard my recent remix of Drake’s ‘Over‘ and contacted me about working with his breakout artist, Esly. After picking me up from the hotel, he took me to MoogAudio, a really cool shop on Queen St that sells music equipment (synths, mics, drum machines, software, etc) and vinyl! To compare to Vancouver, it’s like taking the recording department of Long & McQuade and combining it with Beatstreet Records.. awesome.

We ate sushi, talked biznass, then met up with the rest of the Boombox’s as well as another fellow Vancouverite who was also in town for a few days, club promoter & Bacardi rep, Shaun G. Some more walking around, some shopping; checked out the Toronto Livestock location, bought some new kicks at ‘Get Outside‘ (thanks Red!), said what up to the homie DJ Fisher Pryce..  Then it was back to the hotel to gear up for the biggest night of debauchery (for me at least) of the entire trip…

We hit up Atelier, a small room but with a really dope vibe, reminiscent of Wednesdays @ Lucy Mae Brown back in the day.. Music was provided by DJ Riccachet, DJ Thera-p & DJ RoyaleGG who threw on some nice old school hiphop/r&b classics mixed with the new bangers. Adi and I appreciated their willingness to drop the smoothest r&b (eg. ‘Houstatlantavegas‘) right at primetime.. and the room was into it!.. YourGirlSam & Mahsa were in the house.. Lyon Lee was there and I met Esly for the first time.. I wish I could describe this night in better detail but it’s the foggiest of them all. There were drinks, more drinks, even more drinks back at the hotel, a toilet bowl, and a bathroom floor.. WOWWWWWW

DAY 5, SATURDAY:

Lazy day… recovery from the night before was everybody’s primary goal. It was also our last few hours to enjoy our suite, so most of the remaining hours were spent lying motionless in bed. We eventually checked out at 2pm, then walked just a few blocks down the street to hop on a bus headed for Hamilton where we would stay with JP’s family for the remainder of the trip. Obvious Fact: a one-hour bus ride is not the greatest cure for a hangover. We finally reached Hamilton and rested up to do it all over again..

It was the birthday celebration for Jade (JP’s sister), and the destination for the night was The Guvernment. Before heading out, I received a message from Tilt asking if I wanted to spin and he offered me his spot alongside homies DJ Wristpect, MC SirLanceLot & DJ Mattice. Nice!.. Another BIG SHOUTOUT to that man they call Tilt! We all travelled back to downtown T.O. in a strech SUV limo that Jade had booked for the night.. Adi (aka. DJ Adlib) was straight murdering it, playing a random CD-R on the one CD deck in the limo, while air-mic’ing ‘Put ya hands up! Who’s gettin drunk tonight??!’ Lol.

I’d heard Guvernment is the largest club in Toronto so I had high expectations coming in; and it didn’t disappoint. We entered through one of the several entrances, this one led right up to The Drink, one of the many rooms within the Guvernment complex and the one where I was playing. Throughout the night, Wristpect kept apologizing that it wasn’t as busy as usual; apparently the Thursday prior was the club’s annual Easter long-weekend party that packed 11k+ people into the building! But it was all good to me.. !! Our crew was there to party, and I was amped to be spinning. Admittedly though, whether it was due to the night before or the slow room, I gave a ‘less-than-inspired’ set.. But in all, it was another great night and walking into the main room at 3am and seeing how packed it was, it was pretty crazy to hear that it was a ‘slow’ night.. Also shoutout to the homie Kid Famous who was holding down MC duties in the hiphop room downstairs. And of course big shouts to the homie MC Sir LanceLot who made sure I mirrored his behaviour that night by keeping a bottle of Belvedere at hand at all times. Lol. I look forward to partying with you guys again soon!

DAY 6, SUNDAY:

I don’t usually get nervous man.. but I’m nervous ~ JP

Today was the day of the big show: the Boombox Saints concert in JP’s hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. The day consisted of rest, anticipation, anxiety, rest, excitement, rehearsals, and more rest.. Oh I have to mention this was also the day that me and Adi rocked it in the bedroom [pause] going back and forth [pause], track for track, instrumentals/acapellas, on 2 laptops, no turntables, no pitch control! He was plugged into a stereo and I was plugged into TV speakers!.. Truly some next level ‘ish.. This day was also our first experience of Red Rocket chicken wings, found only in Hamilton. How good are they? Well we got 8 pounds that day, then 5 more pounds the next day. WOW. Yes we ate a small baby. No don’t take that out of context.

We arrived at Club Absinthe in downtown Hamilton, and after a quick sound check (‘Whataya Want From Me..‘) we waited for showtime. Doors opened at 10pm and within 15 minutes people started filing in. And it didn’t stop. As we hung out front, every 3 minutes another one of JP’s friends or family members appeared, chatted with their west coast stranger, and walked through the doors adding to the crowd that was forming inside. By 11:30pm the room was packed and it was time to begin.

Their performance appropriately kicked off with the track ‘Gametime’, one of the newer tracks that I collaborated on with the guys, and JP stayed hidden offstage until his verse later in the song. When he finally jumped onstage, the room went crazy and from there on the energy never dropped throughout the whole set. It was one of the better (if not the best) performances I’ve seen from the guys; they were giving it their all and the crowd was giving it right back. Whether it was Lara’s finger-waving or Jade’s gunshow front-and-centre, everyone in the room was enthralled in witnessing for the first time their hometown hero in his element. Hamilton showed an enormous amount of love and support for The Boombox Saints and vice-versa. At the end of the night, me and Adi even got to spin for a bit, playing back & forth on 4 decks. Big shouts to DJ Juice & DJ Slick Rix!.. The guys actually recorded a short video interview with Slick too.. Hamilton, we’ll be back!

DAY 7, MONDAY:

Our last day on the east coast.. after some more Red Rocket chicken wings, we packed up our stuff and some of the group headed back to Scarborough for one more night while some of us stayed back in Hamilton. I was part of the latter, and we spent our last night up at Niagara Falls; it was my first time seeing them in person. We walked up to the falls itself, had drinks in the really nice ‘R5′ lounge, and threw away some money at the casino. It was a calm night compared to the rest of the week, but a perfectly suited wind down that was more than welcome after the non-stop marathon of the previous days & nights.

I couldn’t have asked for more out of this trip; we seemed to luck out with everywhere we went and everything we did. I shouldn’t really say ‘luck’ though because a lot of it had to with all the friends and family that we got to meet & visit with while in the cities of Toronto, Scarborough, & Hamilton. GIANT THANK YOU’S TO: The Boombox Saints (Adi, JP, Huggy Fresh), Mike, Sam, Jade, YourGirlSam, DJ Tilt, DJ Wristpect, MC SirLanceLot, DJ Mensa, Char, Shaun G, Red, Vince, Teddy, Lyon, Esly, DJ Riccachet, DJ Thera-p, DJ RoyaleGG, Famous, Mahsa, DJ Grouch, DJ Fisher Pryce, Lara, DJ Mattice, Wicked, 111 Yorkville, Maro, Atelier, Guvernment, OneKingWest, Red Rockets, Adam Lambert and everyone else that made this trip what it was.

Toronto, thank you for what was essentially my first real taste of your city! I’ll be back sooner than later; definitely in less than 8 years this time..

See more pics from my trip here

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Comments

    Char L Says:

    AWW HUNTY!!!

    it was sooooooooooooo great finally being able to hang out with you. my very first (and only) producer!! Bahahaha can we record a song again next time im in town? LETS DO IT!!!

    see you first week of july! it’ll be my birthday and we gotta do it up biiiiiiiiiiiig.

    love lots! so happy that you were here=D

    March 11: Champagne Fridays @ Atelier (Toronto) | WhatTheHunt.com Says:

    [...] up Toronto?! I’m back in your city next week, and will be playing Friday March 11 at the legendary Atelier nightclub for Champagne Fridays alongside DJ [...]

    Prashant Says:

    , You can’t lie [about your skills] in the kctehin. You’ll be found out the first time you f*#k up because you don’t know what you’re doing. Pretty much says it all.Dave

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