Deorro video courtesy of Stephen Kazumi; No Neon pictures courtesy of Jordan Curry and Melissa Matheson of Straight Goodz.
Every January, over the past few years, has seen the closure of an iconic venue within Toronto – 2015 saw Deadmau5, Knife Party and Armin Van Buuren closing out The Guvernment for #GUVFINALE, Sound Academy said goodbye last year with one last GLOW party (although upgraded to REBEL later that summer), and now, we bid farewell to one of the most favoured regular spots for bassheads, The Hoxton.
It almost felt like it came out of the blue – hell, it doesn’t even feel like it’s gone yet, as much as I am in denial about saying goodbye to a second home. After 6 years of some early-morning yoga workouts, some of the craziest festival afterparties, and showcasing/debuting some forward-thinking and up-and-coming powerhouses – both local and international – the community has no choice but to let go of the location, but we shall never forget the ways it revolutionized the city’s dance scene.
The final weekend started off in the same usual manner – lining up outside the building, with the windows, coated in condensation, rattling to the sheer bass being unleashed inside. It’s also worth noting that the Neon ‘Hoxton’ sign above the entry doors remained off all weekend – possibly as a shout-out to the final No Neon happening the following night. Either way, the first night welcomed Erick Orrosquieta, better known as Deorro, back to the Hoxton. I remember seeing Deorro’s Toronto debut back in 2013, during my so-called “neon bro” days – my buddies and I jumped around to the madness, threw our fucking hands up, and partied like the world was going to end.
Straight up, it was no different this time around, as the Californian superstar returned to help make Melbourne bounce great again (not that it ever stopped being great). Adding some of the hardest of hard elements into his mix, with some dubstep, bass house, and hardstyle, the floor of the building felt like it was sinking, and would give way at any moment – yet, like always, it held strong as partyers, bassheads and newcomers alike went wild to the Panda Funk ambassador. Hunter Siegel and Autoerotique joined him on stage sometime after, making it feel like an unofficial No Neon event, especially for those of us planning to turn up the following night as well.
Throughout the night, Deorro, as well as Dirty Audio
on the decks before him, would lead up to the drop by saying “1, 2…” and the crowd, as if we were the ones dropping the bass, would respond in unison, “1-2-3-4!” each time. Maybe it’s becoming a thing? Or perhaps, it was to commemorate the numerous times we’ve heard it, at the Hox and elsewhere? Regardless, it was one of the little things that brought us all together during these final moments.
Returning the following night, the lineup was already around the corner of the building as early as 10:30
; even in the usually-long coat check line, everybody was revelling as Hunter Siegel
was on stage from open to close, joined on stage throughout the evening by the likes of owner Kenny Hotz
, Omar LinX
, and even k-os
, for a night which saw that no patron was left unturnt by the end. Needless to say, IT WAS FUCKING LIT, FAM.
After two solid years of No Neon gracing the Hoxton, it was bittersweet to see the ‘IT’S LIT FAM‘ signs floating throughout the crowd, as well as a few which read ‘IT’S R.I.P. FAM‘, indicating its end. No Neon itself is going to live on throughout the city, and there’s going to be more Dark Plur to relish, but the vibe won’t feel the same without its birthplace.
After last call, some of the staff members jumped on stage to party with us, as we let loose until just after 4:30AM
, as Neil Young’s Heart of Gold
played out before the lights came on one last time, bringing the night, as well as the years that led up to this moment, to an end.
Thank you to all the staff who saw that the patrons had an amazing time – from Benny and Maggie constantly serving countless drinks and jamming to every drop, to Sam keeping things in check, both indoors and outside, to Embrace
co-owning and bringing the best of the best DJs, producers and live performers alike.
Thank you to the plethora of artists, whether local or international, for always setting the vibe to whatever night we were going to throw down, on whatever day of the week.
And thank you to all of the wonderful, vibrant faces who would fill the room from front to back, to help to make King and Bathurst one of the city’s hot spots over the years.
It will never be the same. And it’s going to take some time before the hiraeth fully sinks in for some of us. We may have other venues to “replace” it and move on, such as CODA and The Velvet Underground, which in themselves are fantastic venues still currently standing. But it won’t change the fact that 69 Bathurst is no more. ;(
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