Foundry Day Two featuring Purity Ring, Shigeto, Blue Hawaii and Katie Stelmanis 99 Sudbury, Toronto ON, March 15

Foundry Day Two featuring Purity Ring, Shigeto, Blue Hawaii and Katie Stelmanis 99 Sudbury, Toronto ON, March 15
Photo: Kevin Jones
If Friday night's opening salvo of grooves and beats was a euphoric nod to the transnational nature of modern dance music, Saturday's lineup was — with the exception of Michigan-based Shigeto's live set — mostly composed of notable Canadian electronic musicians taking to the decks. Indeed, much of the lineup from Foundry's second instalment are better known for their respective band-based live acts rather than their adopted role as dance floor selectors. Nevertheless, the well-loved lineup drew another massive crowd to Foundry's newfound home at 99 Sudbury.

Toronto resident Katie Stelmanis of Austra stirred the building into movement and politely dispelled any reservations with a barrage of seriously tough techno. Moving deftly between broken beat and straighter rhythms, the gritty textures of her set forced the full attention of a rapidly growing crowd and crafted one of the more intriguing soundscapes of the night.

The dancing started in earnest with Blue Hawaii's stint of crystal clear contemporary vocal house tracks quickly setting a contrasting tone to Stelmanis' darker tendencies. Though the set's progression seemed somewhat uninspired to start, a brief foray into Chic's "I Want Your Love" brought some much-needed soul and marked a shift into an eclectic late selection of raw tracks spanning from Shed's booming techno to a resounding finish of synth-drenched house.

The only live set of the night followed rather abruptly in the form of Shigeto's skittering bedroom beat music. The sludgy submersive intro was a somewhat severe about face for the at-capacity crowd at 99 Sudbury. However, as the set went on, his loopy themes started to solidify and gain momentum. Hopping from laptop to drum kit with an exhausting enthusiasm, the most striking aspect of Shigeto's performance was undeniably his constant fusion of live drumming and electronic looping. However passionate, the marriage between instrumentation and electronics often meant that the intricacies of both were lost in the wall of sound.

Nonetheless, Shigeto's frenetic activity set the scene well for the blistering pace of Purity Ring's DJ set. Endlessly oscillating between vocal-heavy juke, hip-hop and the occasional sound system tinged Drum n' Bass moment, Megan James' selection provided little respite for weary legs. The frenetic chop-and-change mixing and dizzying tempos marked Purity Ring as the obvious peak of the evening.

The pace was clearly infectious and extracted what little energy remained in the slowly dwindling crowd. Though the sonic restlessness was exhilarating more often than not, the constant change of pace left several interesting themes, like a brief foray into the Night Slugs back catalogue, mostly unrealized. Still, the set list full of crowd-pleasers left the congregation happy and sweaty, and suitably drew to a close the first weekend of Foundry.

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