Review: Bal en Blanc 17

So this will be my first post on WPT and I, Tang, will be writing up the review for BAL EN BLANC 17th since our dear friends Alex and Cube couldn’t make it this year. So let’s kick it off with a run through of BEB itself and then a review of each DJ that I was present for. FYI, I am pro-trance so for those who are more into house, this review may or may not reflect the full experience at BEB.


Quick introduction to Bal en Blanc for those who are unfamiliar with it: It is Canada’s biggest Electronic Dance Music (EDM) event gathering a total of 15 000 people at the “Palais des Congres” in Montreal. As the name suggest, it is an all white party.


After getting through the much strengthened security from taking off your shoes to having a finger go between each and every one of your toes (extremely unpleasant btw), I walked onto the scene in which I have been anticipating for more than 5 months ago. Sadly, I was disappointed. Production Playgrounds had some sort of a dome shape visual planned for this year’s BEB Trance room. However, due to our strict fire codes here in Quebec, it was deemed unsafe so they had to scramble to get last minute setup and the result was like walking into an early 90’s rave. I mean, yes – LED screens are cool but the big ghetto suspended primitive lighting structure that kept the room really bright the entire time was not at all satisfying. Either way, compared to the Godskitchen from BEB 16th, it was basically a race between a Civic and a Ferrari.


The Trance room setup was better than the Main (i.e. House… a name change requested by Tiesto) room setup. The usual rave has the stage set on the short side of the normally rectangular dance floor. Tiesto however had another request: a “rock” style setup which disallows speakers to be placed in the back of the room. The problem is that the venue where BEB took place is huge, and so was the Main room. The speakers did not have enough power to travel all the way to the back without having the sound lose impact. Production Playgrounds had no choice but to move the stage on the long side of the room, resulting in a really short but wide dance floor. Dumbest idea ever as when I went to see Manufactured Superstars for 20min or so, it was already packed in the middle! And let’s be honest here… do you really want to see a show from the sidelines?


Of course, there were several good improvements that were made compared to last year. In the Trance room, the VIP washrooms barely had any lineup and were easily accessible. They removed the sketchy picnic tables and replaced them with comfy couches that were elevated on a much bigger stage. There was also a speaker set up and a small dance floor on the bottom, but it lacked bass. As for the House (Main) room, there was a bottle service available in the back on a elevated stage for those who had several bills to spend, much like any lounge/club.


For the avid fans of Glow Sticks and whatnot, they were only allowed after 4:30am. Tiesto played 1:00 – 4:30. He was yet AGAIN the reason behind this ridiculous change. He never did gave a proper explanation as to why he dislikes them. I’d like to think he got hit by one while he was DJ-ing just like how Justin Bieber got hit by a water bottle!


So yes, apart from writing a review on BEB, it is also a rant on Tiesto whom by the way played sub-par from what I hear other people say. I personally did not even bother to go see him. He is probably the sole reason to the price increase of a single regular ticket. 137$, Ouch my wallet… Also, BEB was most probably sold out thanks to him, but we could’ve done it without him and his ridiculous drama queen requests. Either way, let’s move on to the DJ’s.


Oh Cosmic how I love thee – Again, I may be a little biased here since they are my all time favorite DJ’s. From their signature fat bass line to their soothing smooth vocal tracks, I think that they have the perfect style for any set time in a rave. Some key songs were “Raging”, a classic by Cosmic Gate followed by “Sun and Moon – A&B” which was completely unexpected since you’d think they’d let A&B play their hit song first. To be honest, I find “Sun & Moon” an OK song but definitely not worth all the hype it is getting nowadays. The entire set felt balanced and very smooth with just enough calm rests and good non overpowering beats to get the night started. The ending was particularly sweet and loving with Nic Chagall dropping “Find yourself” and “This moment” back to back. Once again Cosmic Gate has done it for me and I expected none the less.

Download Cosmic Gate’s set via FileServe, Mediafire or Megaupload

O M G. Yes that’s right, even after listening to his ASOT500 Miami set repeatedly on my MP3 for the past week including all of his recent singles; he still comes out surprising the hell out of me. Unfortunately for the majority of you who couldn’t make it, the set was not recorded as per his request… but no matter, I’ll try to explain it in words. SvD can play anything and make it work regardless of your musical taste. From House to Dubstep and everything in between, it sounded as if you were surrounded by dark mysterious angels who bring your state of mind to a different level. His musical taste is at the forefront of the current trend in EDM and he mixes in and out of it seamlessly while incorporating his own tracks. The general mood of the set is of course pretty dark, but he evolved a bit, becoming even more versatile compared to last year. Nevertheless, time flew by super fast and way too soon, A&B were preparing to go on. Here are some songs SvD played since there is no tracklist or recorded set:



More like Below and Far Back… They played what I expected them to play so in that regard, they played a “good” set. A&B are amazing for one thing, productions. Everything else, bahhh… it’s not that they’re not good. It’s just that their style is too mellow and soft for Montreal. The people here are oriented into a faster, tech-ier, heavy bass dance music. It’s day and night in comparison to the west where they like to get high on calm and melodic vocal tracks. This is just speculation but I think Production Playgrounds wanted to schedule A&B after Cosmic Gate in first place. But due to Tiesto, who recently decided he only plays Club Hours (early timeslots), they had no choice but to put the calm A&B right after the highly energetic SvD. There is no way that they would have scheduled Tiesto and A&B, two top5 Djs (based on the DJ Mag top 100 rankings which in my opinion is nothing but a popularity contest, in now way based on musical skills), to play the same timeslots. In reality, I kind of welcomed them as my legs we’re getting destroyed after SvD. A&B gave me a chance to wander around to check out different places and try to find other friends and whatnot. The set itself was filled with Vocals and a lot of ups and downs. They would drop heavy bass tracks that would get you going but it would fall right into a calm track right after and the roller coaster ride would continue. The good thing is that instead of playing for 3.5 hours, they gave up an extra 0.5 to Markus who used it magically as we shall see in the next paragraph!


Markus is the equivalent of an alarm clock. Same time slot and same wake up call as last year when he woke us up from Ferry’s emotional set with a BANG. This year, an even bigger one, since A&B sank me back all the way to the couches at one point. Regardless, after seeing this guy countless times, his musical style and sets haven’t really changed over the years which is good. Great energy, great vibe, great track selection and knows what Montreal likes. Great! Although not awesome… for awesome, continue reading.

Download Markus Schulz’s set via FileServe or Megaupload

He should rename himself as Ben Platinum or something because he is AWE… wait for it… SOME – Hands down the best part of the night in terms of music. In terms of body, not really. Unfortunately, after 12 hours of bass thumping music, my body was screaming, my ears were bleeding and I just had about way enough. No matter how amazing his vibe and energy was, I just couldn’t muster enough strength to continue on so therefore, shortly after 11am, I left. Cube, who was listening live @ work was updating me on the tracks and already I regretted it. Thank god the set was recorded… either way, Ben Gold got those who stayed at the end to dance like never before dropping Choons after Choons after Choons, each one elevating one another with a good BPM, fast mixing (27 tracks vs 22 tracks for Cosmic Gate within the same time frame of 2 hours) and ending it with the best set of the night in my opinion.

Download Ben Gold’s set via FileServe, Mediafire or Megaupload


Warmup sets: RANEEM (fileserve), DJ MALEK (fileserve, mediafire)

Finally, here are some pictures from the night.

For more pictures, visit

Thanks again to The Hawt for the Download Links. Thanks to for broadcasting the event Live :)