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NXNE 2014

Jacques Greene Brought Back House Music for The People

After a rocky start, Jacques Greene managed to bring life back to a lifeless venue.

by Evelyn Kwong
Jun 19 2014, 5:07pm

The night started slowly for electronic music fans at The Hoxton's NXNE event. The dance floor held a sparse number of people, all awkwardly dancing without wanting to appear too enthusiastic at the sake of losing some imaginary cool points. For a while, it seemed as if the first night of NXNE Music event would have a hard time finding success in a genre known for having notoriously critical fans. The night was still early for Toronto's extended 4 AM last call, but the audience was unwilling to get on the same wavelength as New York's Jim-E Stacks during his set. Acclaimed for his ambiguous and dark synths, he powered through his time onstage without much support, as people were still trickling in and subtly swaying in order to seem enthused. Promoters handed out bottles of coloured water to the crowd as they fumbled to find something interesting to do. But then, like a Cinderella story, midnight struck and everyone simultaneously lost control.

The artistry comprised of synths, 808s and world music found its target audience as Montreal's Jacques Greene took the stage. Lounging in a big white t-shirt and black cap, the minimalism of his outfit contrasted sharply with the eclectic sounds that came through the speakers. Each detail in his craft became eluding to the crowd, and suddenly people burst through the doors of the venue and proceeded to stampede towards the front of the stage. Jacques didn't use spectacles to lust the crowd, but his ability to provide the audience with the music they seemingly wanted to hear trumped the use of any theatrics. People danced without speaking, and caught onto the same breath that was staggered at the beginning. Some people seemed possessed by the music, as they waved their arms high in the air, until all the blood drained from them and they were forced to drop them again, hopefully in tune with the bass. It was this all-genre nature of Jacques Greene's craft that brought all of the attendants together to celebrate the synthetic sounds that embodied organic R&B and soul, and caused them to finally just let go and enjoy the music.

As the night ended with Montreal's notorious Tommy Kruise, the crowd conglomerated to the heavy and raw methodology of his paleo-trap music at the base of the stage. Starting the last set of the night off with a DJ Mustard set will appeal you to anyone, but especially to a crowd of drunk concert goers who just want to hear a song they know. The night soared skyward from what seemed to be another assumed night of big egos that transcended into a timeless space and community. But after Jacques Greene brought house music back to the people, the people responded by coming back to life.

Jon Reyes is a photographer living in Toronto.

Evelyn Kwong is a writer living in Toronto.

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Want more NXNE? Here's our day one journal, the pictures we took of LIZZO, and the Autre ne Veut concert.