For anyone who’s been following the Vancouver underground rave scene, names like Bizarnival or the Caturday Crew might already be familiar. Likewise, certain venues need no introduction, like the Rickshaw Theatre or Chapel Arts. Two names to add to the vocabulary this summer (if you haven’t already): Vancouver Arts & Leisure and the Emergence Project.
Canada Day saw Emergence’s second event come to fruition at 1965 Main St, where back-door entry meant the party had no curfew. The first thing I noticed was the bleachers set up in the alley for the convenience of those looking to relax in the open air. Inside, the lobby-turned-miniature art gallery hosted rows of shimmering, psychedelic works from local visual artists. Past reception you had your choice of two specially-curated, air-conditioned rooms, each bumping completely different vibes with Application Audio & PK Sound hooking up the bass. The “Tight & Bright” room was the larger of the two – Alex Mei & Perkulat0r’s joint set (Meikulator) was my personal favorite for the night. SHAH Djs mostly dominated the smaller “Red & White” room with enough drums ‘n bass to send you to space. Blowin up the screens in both rooms was DreamJackerz, who provided visuals. But for me, the sense of community at this event was by far its best feature. Being largely dependent on word-of-mouth for its turn-out meant the people showing up weren’t just looking for any party — they were looking for this one.
A guided tour of the VAL revealed to me just how little of the space was actually being used. A third room and an entire sub-level were blocked off, much of which appeared to be awaiting some future TLC. I stumbled upon one unusual corner of the basement where the walls closed in around a slanted, checkerboard floor; it had a slightly-warped, Alice and Wonderland appeal to it. Although admittedly a bit of a fixer-upper (particularly the downstairs), I saw a ton of potential for the VAL to grow into itself as an event space with the capacity to comfortably hold huge crowds and still keep the party going late into the a.m.
With help from all affiliated acts, credit for organizing this all-night basstravaganza goes to Matt Troy of Vancouver Arts & Leisure, Nick Prouten of the Emergence Project, and the talented people over at SHAH Djs. If you couldn’t make it out on Tuesday, don’t let yourself get too hung up over it – Emergence’s next event at the VAL is rumoured to be on an even grander scale, and will be upon us just 10 days from now. On July 17th, the VAL will be hosting Reflektor’s jungle-themed EP release party, ENTROPICA. I’ve been told there’s talk of installing a ball-pit in the sub-level, so grab your ticket now while they’re still cheap!
For more events featuring Vancouver’s best and brightest, like the Emergence Project on Facebook. And while you’re there, show your support for the artists above and hit like for them, too.