Maya Jane Coles overcomes the “Venue”
April 11 – On the eve of her Coachella performance, producer / DJ – Maya Jane Coles (MJC) played her first ever set in Vancouver. Fronted by an initially tenuous audience of no more than 400 people, Coles managed to do what few other DJ’s who come to this city can – win over the crowd.
Spinning at Venue in downtown Vancouver, Coles blended a seamless mix of melodic, pulsating house — very much in the spirit of that Chicago house sound – and although it took a while, the crowd finally went off.
When Coles did hit the decks a little after 1am, she began with a nice minimal synth and driving bass line to which she added progressively subtle layers of complexity. It was a neat mix of repetitive but pleasant beats that built seamlessly into each other, all while teasing the crowd with more. It was infectious yet masterfully restrained performance.
At first, I was a little unsure of what to expect from Coles. Even though I had heard of her as an up-and-coming UK producer, I was still a little hesitant. Too many ‘popular’ DJ’s are producers first and DJ’s second. It is my experience that they generally suck live and pre-program their sets. As a point of preference, I like to see a DJ mix their music based on their read from the crowd – a talent one does not glean from the studio. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to see Coles’ mixes keep the Vancouver crowd under her control.
I find Vancouver to be a very strange market for electronic music and Venue was just an odd place for Coles to play. It is in the heart of the Granville Street club district and on most nights it attracts a heavy drinking early twenties crowd – generally an impediment for electronic music connoisseurs. Also, compared to the massive venues and energetic crowds across Europe, Asia and even Toronto, the audience in Vancouver seems to be very inhibited – like they are waiting for something to happen.
The majority of the crowd in attendance were not familiar with Cole’s provenance and just simply came for the Blueprint promoted event. Most of those that were familiar could be found neatly tucked behind the velvet rope in the back. Nonetheless, props to Blueprint Events for taking a chance and bringing her over. I just wish Vancouver had the proper venues and support to really showcase this style of music.