Danny Tenaglia is an experience. I’ve heard it said that words don’t teach, life experience does. Words can affirm what life experience has shown you, but it’s the experience, the feeling of it, that truly allows you to know something. That’s how I feel trying to explain these nights. 

It was fitting to have Tenaglia close out Nest’s First Anniversary celebration as it brought the club full-circle from his set at last year’s opening weekend. In that time, Nest has brought some of the industry’s finest: Victor Calderone, Hernan Cattaneo, Stacey Pullen, Radio Slave, Nicole Moudaber, Joseph Capriati, Marco Carola, Neverdogs, Timo Maas, Chus & Ceballos and Louie Vega, as well as consistent local nights where the city’s formidable talent is showcased.

On this night, Danny’s sound was relentless, gritty, dark, drum-heavy techno.

(John Mitchell at www.derinkuyu.ca )

He is versatile and can easily move from techno to tribal to house classics to disco and more in a night, which he did near the end of his 13.5 hour journey, but tonight was like a charging train. Valves closed, full-steam ahead. Straight up pummeling via elastic bass lines, White Label Promo’s Brent Hayward’s description of the sound emanating from the Dynacord sound system. It’s a bottom heavy system with punch on the lower end that brought Danny’s signature sound to life. 

Hayward provided the perfect opening set - just the right mix of tracks and timing to coalesce the packed room into a state of both fulfillment and anticipation.

The space was bumping, groove on-point and energy ascendant in preparation for the main event. A proper warm-up for an industry legend. And then, Danny. 

(John Mitchell at www.derinkuyu.ca)

His sound is so full, chunky and locked into a groove pocket - nobody does it like him. The journey had begun. What makes a journey? Traveling from one place to another. Hayward’s opening set brought us to a new place, setting the stage for the next destination. And now with Danny it would be another adventure. After a house-y, melodic start, it got nasty with his combination of heavy techno and deep groove, pounding us with nuanced sound loaded in history. I remember realizing there were no phones in the air recording much of anything, a rare sight. Just darkness and dancing. Even Tenaglia had no lights on himself in the booth.

The night continued into morning, often industrial, always hammering, non-stop techno with a rock steady, rooted bass underneath every other layer of sound. There was so much movement sonically, something fresh always coming through. Layers blended into something new as every beat moved you forward. Whether it was a shaker coming in, a lo pass filter, some melodic build up, something was always on its way, the journey never stagnant. Every once and awhile I hear a DJ, a set, that makes me think of what I have read and seen about how this whole thing started. How I imagine it was at Paradise Garage in New York back in the late 70s, with people tuning into themselves, dancing like no one’s watching, feeling something that wakes up within themselves what they most want to be alive. No hype, no big lights, just you, the music and a feeling. Getting lost and found at the same time. That was this night. 

As the night turned into morning, knowing Danny would likely play until the afternoon, I decided to hop over to the diner across the street with a friend for breakfast. It was a gorgeous day, and I sat in a tiny 2-person booth in this 50s style diner, sun streaming in, eating scrambled eggs and toast, hearing Natalie Cole’s sultry ‘Unforgettable’ waft over us, while across the street Tenaglia’s bass could still be heard faintly through the front doors of the club. I couldn’t help but smile at the sweet and striking juxtaposition.
And then it was back into the night. The calibre of music was incredible, every track counted. It was 10 hours in and our focused maestro was orchestrating a marathon. The relentless, hard bass was still there, and near the end flowed into more classic tracks, house, disco, progressive, but always with Danny’s signature full bass.He looked happy at the decks, enjoying the trip. We were well into the afternoon, and there were still a few dozen dancers championing through these final hours.

Near the end he threw in more vocals, one or more Prince tracks and an epic Jennifer Holliday vocal track to close out the voyage.

I’ve been to Nest many times now and am constantly impressed by the sound, vibe, and the quality bookings. A welcome addition to the vibrant Toronto nightlife scene, a city that attracts major talent to distinguished venues. It could be just me, but I leave these nights fully immersed in the sweet spot of what it is to be alive and on this planet. The night was a convergence of talent, people, sound and space - an atmosphere that allowed a feeling to breathe. Tenaglia used to have a night at Vinyl in New York called, Be Yourself, also the title of a chunky, bass heavy track he’d released with Chicago vocalist, Celeda. And ultimately, to me, at the end of the night into day, that’s what this is all about - connecting to your truth, a feeling, a knowing, and allowing it to be. 

Congrats to Nest on a solid first year, and to White Lable Promo and Balance Inc for bringing in some incredible talent and being an integral part of the fabric of the Toronto scene.

Thanks to Nest, Brent and OJ of White Label Promo, Danny for the incredible event and to John Mitchell of www.derinkuyu.ca for the use of photos from the night:)

(John Mitchell at www.derinkuyu.ca)

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published