Thankfully, the unprecedented success of Altered Natives' New Years Eve performance at an undisclosed Montreal location stands as proof that roughneck and "forward-thinking" need not be in opposite corners.
Promoted by Clark St. Music Is My Sanctuary and the ESL Crew who first brought UK Funky to Montreal with 2009's landmark MTL Funky events, the night attracted a motley crowd of outsiders and open-minded revelers with his dirty, percussive brand of house.
Though a tad chilly, the undisclosed venue provided ambiance in spades and the surprisingly massive sound system more than did justice to the intensity of the music on display. With an emphasis on consistency, DJs Lexis, Rilly Guilty, Skinny Bones, Bus and 2010 Mutek favorite Sharivari kicked off the night with a heady mix of house, garage and more, seamlessly going back-to-back and highlighting a chemistry born from many a night spent spinning together. Though the tropical leaning beats occasionally felt out of place in the wintry environment, the dancers soon warmed things up setting the stage for the headliner.
With a set comprised almost solely of his own forthcoming material, Altered Natives did not disappoint. Barreling through ultra-percussive tracks that obliterated more than one raver's preconceptions, the Londoner proved to be the perfect headliner for a rave that was all about bridging gaps and building new connections. Already known for bringing together disparate elements of rave's past in his music, Natives' set brought that ethos to life with flawless mixing and explosive intensity.
Hard without descending into parody and polyrhythmic without losing sight of the classic house pulse, his peak-time set established a high bar for 2011 and left the 600 strong crowd seeing stars. By the time the event wrapped up around 8:30 AM after a few more sets from the ESL Crew, it appeared that the old rave paradigm needn't apply and that the future was bright for Montreal's urban beats. Even the fog of 2011's first morning couldn't dampen the spirits the remaining crowd with practically everyone leaving with a smile on their face.