Last night, the Go HARD tour touched down in Toronto at TD Echo Beach, presented by Live Nation in association with HARD. The roster featured a diverse lineup of artists and the city had the pleasure of witnessing sets by Eric Prydz, Dillon Francis, Destructo and many more. While the weekend’s weather included intermittent rainstorms, it gave festival-goers even more reason to “go hard.” The wet conditions brought out flocks of ponchos and makeshift umbrellas, but it didn’t stop anyone from enjoying the music.
The day began with opening sets by Ethan Kath of Crystal Castles, Cosella and TOKiMONSTA – all of whom put on a show that warmed up the crowd and provided the soundtrack to some sand and puddle grooving.
Next up was Big Gigantic, who proved to be one of the crowd favourites of the evening. They threw down live renditions of tracks like DJ Snake vs. Junior Senior’s “Move Your Feet,” Zhu’s “Faded” and Kanye West’s “Touch The Sky.” The energetic flow of music was accompanied by a live saxophone and drum set-up, adding another dimension to a performance that the crowd just could not get enough of.
Up next was Destructo, the mastermind behind HARD Presents. His set was met with incredible reception from his dedicated HARD and “Shipfam” following – a family of people who have attended his Holy Ship! festival cruise. Walking around the venue demonstrated no shortage of HARD, Holy Ship! or pineapple gear; all indicators of the loyal fanbase that Destructo holds.
Kicking things off with a house edit of O.T. Genasis’ “CoCo,” Gary Richards spun a mixture of his signature G-House sound with party bangers like GTA’s remix of his own “Party Up.” Some highlight tracks from his set include Disclosure’s “Bang That,” Destructo’s “Dare You To Move” and the song of the moment in the industry – the Diplo & Grandtheft remix of Rihanna’s “BBHMM.”
RL Grime took over the stage next with his heavy-hitting “Scylla,” and immediately kicked up the tempo with Wiwek & Alvaro’s “Boomshakatak.” There was no guessing what would come next from the producer as he provided a seamless delivery of mashups and transitions. One unexpected move was Major Lazer’s “Lean On” into “Infinite Daps” at the drop. His set also boasted hip-hop favourites like Kanye’s “Power” and Fetty Wap’s “My Way,” which had everyone singing along, while tracks including his own “Kingpin” and remix of “Satisfaction” brought out a sea of trap arms.
As a big Drake fan himself, RL Grime dropped the 6ix god’s “Enemies” and “Know Yourself,” to which everyone patriotically enjoyed. As the producer played his emotional banger “Because Of U,” a rain shower began and almost seemed cued because of how fitting it was. The moment proved to be just as magical and unpredictable as the rest of his set.
Switching the mood to one filled with lighthearted moombahton, dolphin sounds and bouncy beats, Dillon Francis came on and was met with thunderous applause. Echo Beach was probably at its highest capacity of the night during his set, also demonstrated by the lack of any wait at the washrooms. Dillon played an hour of upbeat tracks as he donned a huge smile the entire time, which you couldn’t help but to mirror especially when watching his incredible quirky visuals.
The crowd knew every word to hits like his own, “Hurricane,” “What’s That Spell,” and “Without You,” while the set also saw Dillon drop his new remix of Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” which he made with Jauz, as well as his highly-anticipated collaboration with Calvin Harris.
Not a moment of dancing was spared as Dillon brought back hits like “Dill The Noise” and “IDGAFOS,” amongst releases off his Money Sucks, Friends Rule album and his upcoming EP. One of the producer’s alter-egos, DJ Hanzel, also came out to play for a few moments, taking things “one deeper.” All in all, Dillon defied genre boundaries as he bounced through trap, moombahton and deep house, claiming the most energetic and entertaining set of the night.
Finally, to close out the show was the progressive house master himself, Eric Prydz. The Swede took to the decks in front of a packed audience who were all ready for the journey that the DJ was about to take them on. Going old school for the most part, Prydz took us right down the rabbit hole for a solid hour and didn’t let us go for even a second.
To close out what was truly a wild and wonderful night, Prydz dropped his new track, “Generate.” With the entire crowd singing along and moving to his progressive house gem, it proved to be a fitting finale to an impressive day and night of music. Music that had people forgetting about the crummy weather surrounding them and instead had them, for a lack of better words, “going hard.”