Yet again, the Anjuna crew left me breathless after dancing for hours on end at the Anjunabeats North American Tour. My Portland Anjunafamily made the six-plus-hour drive up to Vancouver B.C. this past weekend for a double-header. First up was RÜFÜS DU SOL on Friday night, and then the Anjunabeats North American Tour Saturday night, both at the PNE Forum. The crowds were wildly different from one night to the next, with see-and-be-seen, snobby #influencer types filling the Forum the first night, and bright, friendly Anjunafamily spreading love the second night. Along with the brilliant tunes of Tinlicker, Gabriel & Dresden, and Andrew Bayer, there were many reasons I enjoyed that Saturday night more.
The show started ridiculously early, with doors opening at 4:00 PM. None of us had seen Tinlicker yet so we made a point to get there in time to see their set. Micha Heyboer was the only one playing and he told me later that his partner in crime Jordi van Achthoven was at home with his wife and new baby. Understandable! He dropped their alt-J “Breezeblocks (Tinlicker Edit)” which I’d only heard once before and absolutely fell in love with. It was the first track of the night to make me dance my face off. Of course, Micha had to please the crowd with their tearjerker “Nothing Without You” and I hugged my friends and sang “might as well die without you” with the rest of the crowd. It was a fantastic set and I’ll be sure to check out Tinlicker again in the future!
As per usual, Gabriel & Dresden didn’t disappoint. In fact, it was one of their top five sets I’ve seen, which is saying a lot cause I’ve seen them over 20 times. It was my friend Amy’s first time, and it’s always a beautiful thing sharing an experience like that with someone you love. In the typical Anjuna fashion of artists sending a virtual high five by playing each other’s music, Josh and Dave dropped the emotionally evocative Tinlicker remix of “Underwater“. They followed it up with tons of material from their new Remedy album (some of which sounded a bit like Tech-Trance, YAY), and that taste made me excited for its July release. “Happy Birthday Josh” (Gabriel) in green lasers hit the back wall and they shared a hug on stage, which was followed by that “Summertime Sadness” remix. Gabriel & Dresden dropped their Grammy-nominated “Only Road – Cosmic Gate Remix” near the end and left us on an emotional high as Andrew took the stage.
If you’ve read any of my other articles, you know Andrew Bayer is my Greatest of All Time (GOAT). This was my third time seeing him, and he impresses me more and more every single time. His mixing is flawless, and he has a unique ability to take an entire crowd from jumping up and down to hard-hitting beats to emotionally evocative, mellow downturns, making us want to cry tears of joy, and then taking us right back to bouncing to his beats. All the while, Andrew will be singing with us, hands thrown in the air, looking every bit as blissful as we are as if it’s the first time he’s playing a track I’m sure he’s heard countless times during the production process. To my immense satisfaction, he played every track from his recently released “In My Next Life” album. I simply cannot get enough of it! He threw in “Only You Boy” which I first heard in his ABGT300 set, which had me dancing at dawn in my room watching the live stream from Hong Kong. It’s another perfect example of a Bayer banger smoothly transitioning into a beautiful downturn and back into bassy beats. I always think I’m sick of hearing “Signs of the Fall” until I hear it in one of his sets and it just FITS!
All of my friends have gotten to meet Andrew at one time or another and I just barely missed him at his Portland stop in December. I was admittedly crushed. But now I’m glad things turned out as they did because I got to sit down with him after his set and chat about Mental Health Awareness, a topic that’s very close to my heart. My own experiences with social anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation led me to social work and counseling children with eating disorders. As it turns out, Andrew himself has dealt with some of his own mental health problems. Our conversation was cut short as his driver arrived, but he said he’d like to continue our chat at the ABGT Weekender, so my fingers are crossed for an interview!
I’m still recovering from walking pneumonia, so all the dancing had me a bit out of breath, and I’m beyond tired today, but it was absolutely worth it. You may have noticed I didn’t mention Audien‘s set, and that’s intentional as my Momma always said, “if you don’t have anything good to say, keep it to yourself” and she’s one of the smartest people I know. If you have the opportunity to catch any of the next stops on the 2019 Anjunabeats North American Tour, click HERE for tickets; I’ve yet to regret catching their local stops!