Igloofest on a cold night is like a really big bite of ice cream cake; you love it so much, but it gives you brain-freeze. This was my first experience at one of Montreal’s biggest (and coolest) winter festivals.
From almost a mile away I could hear the throbbing bass of opening act, Tazz. Small groups of people started trickling out of every side street, snowballing into bigger mini-mobs making the lives of taxi drivers slip into slow motion. Getting closer to the entrance and the source of the beautiful wintry lights glowing on the pier, I could feel the collective excitement. Trust me, there wasn’t a single person there who didn’t want to be there. It was cold, damn cold. But there was a smile on every face. Every pair of feet was moving in time with the music for fear of freezing solid. Well, that and the fact that the music was incredible. I mean really incredible. Peace, love, and beats were in the air and there was a moment where I really felt proud to live in a place this beautiful.
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And then Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs hit the stage, wearing his signature awesome hat of the night. This time it was a big fur “Davey Crockett Goes Fashion” chapeau. He went between tracks bobbing up and down, smiling at the crowd when a really big drop was lined up but hadn’t quite happened yet. When it hit, he enjoyed it for a couple seconds with some satisfied hand pumps, and then went back to crafting the next step in his evolving set.
I’m more familiar with his original music than any of his previous dj sets, but he’s no rookie. Orlando Higginbottom, son of an English music professor, has spent some time honing his skills and it shows. The bass was throwing curve balls at you, waves of deep sound you could feel through all the layers of sweaters and coats and toques and boots. The crowd was loving it, bouncing off each other and rotating in a slow circle like a group of happy penguins. Everyone got their turn in the middle and moved back to the outside after they had warmed up. It was impossible to stop moving. Stacks of what look like ice cubes framed the booth and projections of geometric fire blazed all over them, tying in to the beaded wall of LED lights to the left of the stage. After a while, the smell of a campfire and marshmallows roasting filled my nose and I felt a little like a cartoon character floating on wafting trail of delicious scent. It was time to change the scenery. The waves of sound were coming from every direction, so it was time for a walk.
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The best things in life are good people, good music, and good food. People all around were enjoying a little poutine or hot dogs, but I figured it would be better to save it for later, when the dancing was done. As I warmed up and refreshed myself with a spiked coffee (another amazing part of the whole experience) over one of the fires by the stage, I could feel that the climax was coming. It was time. The best part of a set is always the close. Everyone likes to save the best for last right? It was almost… there! I got as close as I could to experience the frequencies of that enormous moment. And that’s what it sounded like, a totally enormous dinosaur dancing to a new disco. But it’s safe to say TEED is far from extinct.