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Danny Howells: GU #27 Miami Release Party @ Aria, Montreal
by Sara2214: 04-23-2005

What a fabulous night! Every time in Montreal is always great, but this specific night at Aria definitely was #1 for me. After checking out our friends gig for a bit at Duplex (small lounge/bar on St. Laurent Street), we arrived at Aria at 2:00am in the rain. Luckily, we had passes to cut the line, so we didn’t have to wait and got in quickly. It was VERY nice that ladies were free! It was only $15CAN for guys anyway, which isn’t bad.

As soon as I got inside I waved to Danny and he ran out of the booth to greet us. He looked so cute in his little white beret hat, blue t-shirt, jeans and sneaks. He was soooo happy to see me and all the Boston characters. The first thing I said to him was “Ann says hi!” and he sent his love. Then he told me how much he loved the picture of us posted on his board and to please send him more (pic of me mounting Ann in Miami – someone randomly posted it FAO Danny girls, lol). Sigh….

Danny was setting up the night as we walked in. He didn’t start out as slow as I thought he would – usually begins with some slow, loungier, mellow prog. It was lighter at first, but then he brought it up quickly. The club wasn’t packed all when we 1st arrived. Immediately, we all got into VIP because our friend knew the girl running it. VIP at Aria is right next to the DJ booth – with a great view and nice leather couches. Definitely nice.

Anyway, Danny picked it up quickly and really got going. During some of this other long sets, he really spent the first few hours building the night up. This time he just got right into it. He was NOT messing around. I started dancing my a$$ off as soon as we got in and he kept me dancing the entire night. I positioned myself on this speaker block that was highly elevated, right next to the DJ booth (arms width from Danny) with a perfect view of the crowd. Around 3 or so the club definitely got full but never packed. Great vibe – everyone was into it and Danny was loving the crowd. I wasn’t uncomfortable the entire night.

I had heard Danny definitely bangs it out in Montreal, usually spinning harder and more techno, but I was not prepared for what I got. He spun deeper, darker, harder, nastier, and more twisted than I have ever heard him. He spun a lot of techno…sometimes housey…sometimes sounded electro-ish…that’s the only way I can really try to describe it… Techbreakie…Sven Vath-esq..(what someone said to me during the night that seemed to make sense)…techy…hard. It was so hard that some people couldn’t even take it…it just was too much…or not their thang….but it was absolutely what I was in the mood for and I loved every second of it. I had one or two of those “music moments” on the dance floor (or on the block I was dancing on) where I just was totally captivated by the music, the crowd, and the moment and it just put me in another place.

It definitely wasn’t the typical Howells set. He spun a lot harder for a lot longer than he usually does. Toward the end, he got even more twisted, and took it down a bit – it was very fast and then it was slower. Then at the end he brought it up again and banged out some great tracks. When I spoke to him at the end of the night he said “oh that wasn’t even close to as hard and hard as I could have been!” He spun a few tracks off his new GU CD which were great. Other than that, I only recognized a handful of his tracks. Here are some spots for now. More will be added next week when I gather them from Tj5 and his crew:

  • DJ Ebar presents New York Pillars - In The Springtime (Teardrop Mix)
  • Thomas Barford - Light Shine
  • Olaf Pozsgay - Like A Virgin and Drama Society feat Turner
  • Crying Hero (Tiga remix)
  • AN 2 - Road Through The Rain
  • Mateo Murphy - Latin Lover
  • Silicon Soul - Les Nocturnes

Danny really connected with the crowd all night. He stayed on top of things and mixed really well. I got to spend some time with him in the DJ booth which is always a treat. And, Danny LOVED the Paul van Dyk shirt Mike was wearing (a gift from me I bought for him at Crobar last week). After sporting his Tiesto shirt at Howells @ Avalon Boston last Friday, it was the perfect follow up. Danny asked me to please purchase him a PvD t-shirt.

The night flew by until about 10am…then from 10-12 I was starting to fade….but kept on going. The crowd REALLY thinned out and the room was perfect. There was a great vibe – and everyone there was very descent. Polite, nice, no issues with anyone the entire night. Especially at the end, it was a great group. Then, around noon, Howells finished out as we screamed and applauded him.

When he was done, we got to chill with him for a few minutes which was fun. Again, he re-iterated he wanted me to send him more “lesbo pics” from Ann and I. I’ll have to dig some up – I know I have some others lying around. We told him we were excited to see him in NY and I am sure we are in for another treat! He also told us he was planning to do a few marathons sets a year (between Montreal and NYC). Then we finally left the club, after a few more goodbye hugs and kisses.

It was an awesome night. I was so glad they changed his set from 3.5 hours until all night. Montreal really knows how to party. There was no BS at the club. Everyone was there to have fun. It was the perfect setting. When I asked the VIP woman if I could dance on the tables, she said “this is your home tonight. Do as you please!” and that’s how it should be. There is just really an element of freedom there. Unfortunately, no pics were taken, but maybe some will surface.

And of course, the people also made the night. Great chillin with Josh (my dancing partner!), Matt Dimond, Dave, Brian, New Hampshire Jeff and Komaka, Nick, J5, Joe Mama (crazy SOB!), and everyone else up there I met and bumped into.

I also met a lot of cool people at the club that night (which I rarely do anymore). I met 3 people from Ottawa who stopped me on the dance floor to inquire who the DJ was. I usually get annoyed by that, but they were very nice people who had never been to an EDM club and really just randomly came to Aria that night. Well – did they get an ear full from me! I told them ALL about Danny and by the end of the convo, I think they were hooked. Great peeps!

As for Aria, this night just proved it really is my favorite club. I really like the setup of the club – you go through a very large lounge/room with a bar when you 1st walk into the club – there are a lot of couches, etc. Then you walk into the club and the DJ booth is in the front of the room. The club is a large, open room. Along all of the sides of the room are tables and couches. Then there is the section behind the DJ booth with the bar where you can watch the DJ, and the VIP room. It is a very inviting set-up. I’ve always liked Aria because it’s very “homey” , “bright”, and “free”. Although Stereo is another great club with amazing sound, sometimes I feel it’s more “dark” and sketchy there – weird vibe. Not so inviting. Aria has good sound as well (not as good as Stereo) but definitely descent and it was at a great level on Saturday night. Perfect sound – no ringing ears the next day! As far as lighting, that was definitely not so great on Saturday. I didn’t really notice, but they usually really liven up the room with great lights/etc. They didn’t do much with it this weekend.
I like how they have the DJ booth set up at Aria – it is elevated, and you walk up stairs to a large bar area, and there is the DJ booth. There is a large, glass wall separating the booth from that area. So you have a great view of the DJ spinning. And you can make funny faces at him when he turns around.

So anyway, that about sums up my night. My favorite DJ in my favorite club, for 10 hours. What more could a girl ask for? And as for Danny, he did not disappoint. Although the style of his set that night wouldn’t be for everyone, I LOVED it. I am sure it will be very different in NY – he will spin “for NY”. I cannot wait! 20 hours of Danny in one week. Such a treat. Danny has proved he is that DJ who always gets me moving, gives me those great “club moments” and never fails to throw a fun, great party. I loved how I have seen so many different types of sets from him recently. He really knows how to mix it up. And despite how “big” he gets, he still loves the little people (like me!) Most of the big DJ’s now have no emotion and can’t even be spoken to when spinning. Danny is the complete opposite – always interacts with the crowd, yells your name, wants your opinion, and just cares about his fans. I’m sold.

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