Supercars for Superstars — pictures from the Novus Nights Gala Event

Will Tonic drives a Ferrari 458

Will Tonic drives a Ferrari 458

Supercars for Superstars — On Saturday, May 4th, 2013, Novus Nights was held at the Vancouver Club. This was the inaugural charity gala event supporting the Zajac Ranch. As part of the event, Mile’s End Motors provided several super cars to drive VIPs to the event. These are the pictures from the Night.


Awesome Flickr Gallery Error - SSL is required

Where’s Waldorf?

The Chapel Arts venue in Vancouver

The Chapel Arts venue in Vancouver

29 April – There has been much ado about the lack of good venues in Vancouver ever since the Waldorf shut its doors. Vancouver only seems to have two options for going out – the drunken fraternity party that is Granville Street or drinking at a pub. Granted, this is a highly biased generalization, but you get my point. As such, it was with great satisfaction that I was reintroduced to a venue on Saturday that is worthy to carry the Waldorf torch – Chapel Arts.

Chapel Arts is a great venue. It is a former chapel and funeral home that has been fashioned into an Art Deco multi-room venue. You enter from Dunlevy Street, which is just off of East Hastings. It is dark, creeky, and old…but insanely cool! There is plenty of space to get lost and dark corners with which to snog, all adding to the ambience.

On Saturday night, Intimate productions brought Fred Falke to play at Chapel Arts. The evening started a little slowly but by midnight it suddenly picked up. The place was great and music was bumping throughout, especially the upstairs stage.

Pure Addiction play at Chapel Arts

Pure Addiction play at Chapel Arts

DJ’s Pure Addiction were rocking the crowd upstairs. There must have been some theme going on as most of the crowd that night seemed to be sporting pink. Nonetheless, the night got off to a great start and went from there. The DJ’s all played great and the crowd really responded.

I am quite fond of Intimate events for both the quality of music they bring in and the caliber of crowd they draw. As opposed to other events I attend, I find Intimate is just that — intimate. The crowd seems to be much more familiar with each other and this feeds into the overall positive vibe of their events. I really look forward to May 5th when they bring Soul Clap to play at Chapel Arts.

Coachella 2013 Wrap Up

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

April 24 – With over 100,000 attendees, Coachella is too big to do it all. It boasts five major stages, one indoor dance tent, several DJ stages, and all sorts of art installations. I tried to get in as much as I could but became ill and was out of commission for two days. As for Sunday, here are the highlights:

The Bands

Coachella is great for bringing in a lot of up-and-coming talent and this year was no different. I found a lot of different bands that I had not previously given attention to. Chief among them was Vampire weekend — I loved their retro sound and found myself jamming to them when they dropped ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’ in the photo pit. A catchy tune that left me, and the crowd, with a big wide grin as we sang along.

I was looking forward to finally seeing Grimes live. Originally from Vancouver, Grimes made a name for herself in Montreal while attending McGill. She was among a scattering of Canadian musicians making their Coachella début this year. She played all her hits and her music was great. However, I felt her performance could have been more rehearsed as her dancers were, at times, out of synch with each other. Nonetheless, she has a bright future ahead.

I shuffled over to catch the opening of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Nick Cave, as always, is a consummate professional and it was a nice touch to include a children’s choir as his backup singers. He sang his dark ballad style which was good but did not draw much of a crowd as compared to other acts on the Coachella stage.

The highlight of the night though was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I had never seen them live so this was a must see for me. They are amazing musicians and performed flawlessly. They drew a massive crowd and when they sang Dani California the crowd went off. The crowd was so big that getting out of it took 10 minutes.

Yuma Tent

Joris Voorn plays at Coachella

Joris Voorn plays at Coachella

I tried to spend as much time as I could in the Yuma tent. Firstly, because I loved the music, but secondly, it was air-conditioned. My DJ highlights for the weekend were of course: Richie Hawtin, Pete Tong, and Maya Jane Coles.

I also managed to hear some new DJ’s that really blew me away. Joris Voorn was chief among them, but I would also mention Cassy, and Four Tet. All in all, the Yuma Tent provided a brilliant refuge this year from both the heat and candy pop “EDM” that took over the Sahara Tent.  It was a welcome addition to the rest of the Coachella stages.


All in all, I had a great Coachella experience and although most of my time  was spent running between stages trying to take photos and report, it was worth it. Indio is a beautiful venue and Coachella draws people from all over the world. I met so many people from all over including Australia, Japan, Holland, England, to name a few. I look forward to reporting from the next big festival.

Coachella Weekend 2 – Day 3 pics

Final Sunset on Coachella 2013

Final Sunset on Coachella 2013


Here are some of the pictures taken from Sunday, Day 3 of Coachella.

Awesome Flickr Gallery Error - SSL is required

Coachella Weekend 2 – Day 2 Pics

Major Lazer

Major Lazer


Pictures from Saturday, Day 2 of Coachella.

Awesome Flickr Gallery Error - SSL is required

State of the Union – Coachella Day 2

Crowd for Major Lazer

The most annoying thing about Coachella is the fact that there are too many good things to see and no way to get them all in. But, after running around in the hot desert sun all day, I did manage to catch most of what I wanted to see.

My day kicked off the day with Major Lazer – WOW! They have got to be one of the best live acts I have ever seen and set up the mood for the rest of the evening. The crowd for Major Lazer was more than the Mojave tent could handle and overtook the adjoining tents. Their music was infectious and was just the right remedy for a crowd begging to get their night going. The performance was loud, bumping and contagious. And, to Cap it off, Diplo rolled into the crowd in a huge balloon with a Go Pro on his head.

After that I had some time for a one-on-one with Fedde Le Grand before his set. I first saw Fedde live in Bangkok when he played at the Sensation white party and he killed it then. I was really looking forward to his set and he didn’t disappoint. Playing in the Sahara tent, Fedde dropped some of his newest tracks and had the crowd in a frenzy. I really like his style. Unlike other DJ’s I’ve seen in the Sahara tent, who bang out hard song after hard song, Fedde really does mix his music and manages to create a nice ebb and flow that really punctuates his crescendos – and he’s a super cool person.

Richie Hawtin at Coachella
Richie Hawtin at Coachella

After Fedde I caught a bit of Hot Chips. I like a lot of their production work but their set to me was somewhat mellow and not too memorable.

For me the evening began and ended with Richie Hawtin. Richie is my favourite Dj – full stop. He played in the Yuma stage and the crowd just poured in to catch him. The man is a genius when he plays. His techno is precise, hard, and timed to perfection. Every build, every transition, it’s created by him and he just has an innate ability to get the crowd going. By this point I put down my camera and danced. Finishing the evening there. Perfect day!

Stay tuned for when I post the day’s images!

Coachella Day 1 – Wrap up

Crowd goes off for Blur -- Coachella

Blur plays at Coachella

Blur plays at Coachella

April 20 – After an amazing night I finally have some time to replay yesterday’s events in a little more detail. With darkness descending, so to did the crowd as it more than doubled in the evening from what I thought was already capacity. It’s hard to get a good number but by best estimates I would say more than 80,000.

Getting around was difficult as the throngs from each stage bled out into the main arterials making navigation between stages a chore. Furthermore, losing any one of your friends was a permanent loss for the night as too many people on mobile phones rendered cellular communication useless.

For myself, I bounced between the main stage, outdoor stage, and the brand new air conditioned Yuma tent. It is a spectacular space in the desert. It is a full on nightclub focusing on a more underground electronic sound. Some of the greats will be playing here this weekend including Maya Jane Coles and my personal favourite – Richie Hawtin.

I had the opportunity to catch Pete Tong and he didn’t disappoint. It has been over seven years since I last had the opportunity to see him in Taipei. He rocked it and the tent was at capacity with many people left in the queue trying to get in.

After that I made my to see Modest Mouse. That set was good but did not blow me away. The night truly belonged to Blur. They played all their classics and really capped off the evening with their biggest hit — Woo Hoo — the crowd was left begging for more.

I’m off for the afternoon. Hot Chip and Richie Hawtin are the must sees for me today.

Follow Will Tonic at Coachella

Vancouver Sun Logo














Check back here this weekend to follow Will Tonic as he reports from all the festivities at Coachella Weekend 2 for the Vancouver Sun.



Maya Jane Coles overcomes the “Venue”

Maya Jane Coles at Venue in Vancouver - April 11

Maya Jane Coles at Venue in Vancouver – April 11

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.

Jim Jefferies takes down the house

Will Tonic and Jim Jefferies in Tulalip, April 5th

Will Tonic and Jim Jefferies in Tulalip, April 5th 

On Friday, April 5th, in Tulalip, Washington, Jim Jefferies performed to a capacity crowd of over 2,600 people. The audience that night was electric and Jefferies, an Australian expat comedian, had them in hysterics as he broached such provocative topics as masturbation, disability, and US politics.

With a brand new television show, Legit on FX, along with three successful comedy specials, Jefferies is a comedian on the rise. His brand of comedy is offensive, excessive, sometimes misogynistic, and quite frankly …hilarious.

In Tulalip, most of the crowd knew what they were getting into, but not the people in the front three rows. In Casinos, those seats are generally reserved for the ‘high-rollers’ and this theatre was no different. But, instead of catering to the money-men, Jefferies levelled them with punchlines. He ridiculed their dates, their ages, even their hair – nothing was off limits. The audience loved every blow. That’s until Jeffries hit on an American sore spot: gun control.

At that point, the crowd became tense. People seemed defensive and uncomfortable. Some were indignant. One woman actually got up and marched out. The crowd had no problem with jokes about physically hurting babies, but restricting the ownership of fully automatic weapons was too much for some.

Despite this hiccup Jefferies got the crowd back when he talked about how he struggled to find a disabled actor to star in his new television show. Apparently the casting was a disaster. Who knew that disabled actors were so hard to find? Jefferies didn’t. In fact, most everyone he interviewed was faking to get the gig and Jefferies was so taken in by their desperation that he even carried one to his car – method!

Jefferies is equal parts offensive and endearing. He manages to tell jokes that few others would even try to get away with. He seems to revel in that awkward space where his audience is on the verge of walking out , but remain hesitant to miss anything he might say next.

As offensive as his on-stage persona is off-stage he’s a super nice guy. In Tulalip he spent a full hour between shows greeting audience members, signing autographs and smiling for the camera even though he was to perform a second show an hour later,

When he returned to the stage he delivered a second edgy show. The audience for its part offered up a standing ovation – well “mostly standing”. As Jeffries pointed out some of the customers were in wheelchairs.

Tonic Pics of the Day

Follow @willtonic Instagram
January 2019
« May    

Copyright 2019 Travel Tonic · RSS Feed · Log in