It had that hint of magic - off the beaten path, far from the club circuit, but right on point for lovers of house music, techno and the ineffable in between. It felt almost poetic to have a cab drop me off in front of one of Toronto’s most historic performance venues, The Opera House, with its ornate marquee and unique charm. Tonight, the Toronto staple, with its distinct arch above the stage and architecture reminiscent of early 1900s theatre, would house lauded Danish DJ and producer, Kölsch.

Over its past nine years organizing events, Ozmozis has built a community of dedicated followers; avid music lovers who align with Ozmozis’ intention of creating a sense of unity on the dance floor and connecting people through music. The space was imbued with a receptive, devoted family of music-lovers who were there for Kölsch with arms wide open (or up in the air, as it were).

Hometown favourite Alberto Jossue opened the night with an impeccably programmed, groove-heavy set. It built anticipation, had power without overpowering and carved out a magnetic atmosphere to welcome the crowd. As I walked in, the massive room with its high ceilings was dark, pierced only by multi-coloured stage lights and the orange hue of the back bar; but the energy was electric and mood increasingly upbeat as Jossue’s track selection merged with the crowd’s dynamic vibe. By the time Kölsch took the reins, we were ready.

Kölsch announced his arrival with a gorgeous remix of Massive Attack's 'Teardrop,' effectively drawing attention to the stage, allowing momentum to build slowly, culminating with a decisive downbeat. From there we were hooked into a story of driving groove, syncopated hi hats, instrumental layers, heavy bass, melodic overtones, full sound and anthemic moments. For the unbridled, enthusiastic and dedicated crowd, it was bliss.

Kölsch’s presence visually, on the elevated stage, was iconic. The lighting danced alongside animated revellers, and enveloped the artist’s wide-brimmed hat with thin, chromatic laserbeams and thicker rays that floated and bounced into darkness. He took control sonically with a diverse set, generous bass and undeniably danceable tracks. There were emotive peaks throughout the night culminating with a take on Radiohead’s ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ which Kölsch played out to end the evening. The full crowd clapped in sync as the last beats faded into a round of applause, house lights on and shouts of appreciation. There was a lot of love and zest in the crowd - which truly did feel like a community - and made the night even more unforgettable and extra fun.

It was refreshing to have this sound and vibe here - a new perspective, audio experience and overall treat for a community well-versed in club life. The coalescing of artistic expression, crowd receptivity, audio and visual palette, distinct venue and behind the scenes orchestration led to a memorable night with one of the underground’s premiere artists. It was a musical experience that was emotive, powerful, driving, full and brought people together - in other words, an unforgettable, harmonic mix.

Kölsch came to Toronto from LA and his gig at Sound, and traveled to Montreal the next day for a performance at the much heralded and ever-growing Osheaga festival!

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