Krewella in Toronto – Sept. 30, 2016

Visiting my friend Eddie for the weekend in Toronto, I thought it would be fun to check out an EDM show too. It turned out Krewella was playing on the Friday night – at a small but well-known Toronto venue, the Horseshoe Tavern, which features mainly rock acts.

The Horseshoe Tavern on Queen St. West in Toronto (photo by Danceclubgirl)
The Horseshoe Tavern on Queen St. West in Toronto (photo by Danceclubgirl)

I didn’t know much about Krewella, but learned that the group consists of two 20-something sisters (Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf) who are half-Pakistani and half-Lithuanian/German, an ethnic mix similar to my own. There had also been a third member (an ex-boyfriend) who had split from the group acrimoniously a few years before.

The date was part of their Sweatbox Tour, billed as a “rock n’ rave show in tiny, grimy venues.” That was a pretty accurate description. The Buffalo-based DJ and composer Grabbitz opened for them.

Grabbitz at the Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 30, 2016 (photo by Danceclubgirl).
Grabbitz at the Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 30, 2016 (photo by Danceclubgirl).

Once Krewella hit the stage, it was obvious what set them apart from most other EDM acts. Not only did they sing and dance their hearts out throughout the show, but they were backed up by “real” instruments – a drummer and electric guitarist.

Yasmine Yasouf out front singing while her sister Jahan runs the controls at the Krewella show at the Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 30, 2016 (photo by Danceclubgirl)
Yasmine Yasouf out front singing while her sister Jahan runs the controls at the Krewella show at the Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 30, 2016 (photo by Danceclubgirl)

I loved the fact that they showcased all of their talents, and that they had written many of their own songs – such a rarity in the EDM world. The combination of live and electronic music was really refreshing.

Jasmine and Jahan Yousaf of Krewella with their drummer (L) and guitarist (off-screen) at the Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 30, 2016 (photo by Danceclubgirl)
Jasmine and Jahan Yousaf of Krewella with their drummer (L) and guitarist (off-screen) at the Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 30, 2016 (photo by Danceclubgirl)

Their performance style was closer to that of a rock act, with lots of choreographed bopping and headbanging.

Jasmine and Jahan Yousaf of Krewella dancing their hearts out at the Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 30, 2016 (photo by Danceclubgirl)
Jasmine and Jahan Yousaf of Krewella dancing their hearts out at the Horseshoe Tavern on Sept. 30, 2016 (photo by Danceclubgirl)

And some high-energy interaction with the audience.

Jasmine Yousaf leading a "Hey, Ho" with everything she's got at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern (photo by Danceclubgirl)
Jasmine Yousaf leading a “Hey, Ho” with everything she’s got at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern (photo by Danceclubgirl)
If the Krewella sisters had been born 20 years earlier they might have been rockers (photo by Danceclubgirl)
If the Krewella sisters had been born 20 years earlier they might have been rockers (photo by Danceclubgirl)

It was a really good, sweaty show, and it was obvious Krewella had a following in Toronto. But  I wondered why they hadn’t been able to sell out a larger venue, having already played large festivals like Ultra Music Festival and EDC

Krewella fans on the dance floor on Sept. 30, 2016 in Toronto (photo by Danceclubgirl)
Krewella fans on the dance floor on Sept. 30, 2016 in Toronto (photo by Danceclubgirl)

All the same, I’m hoping their unique mix of electronic and live performance catches on with other DJs.

Who: Krewella, Grabbitz (part of the Sweatbox Tour)
Where: Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, Canada
When: Friday, Sept. 30, 2016
Cost:  $30 USD for 2 tickets off StubHub
Danceclubgirl Rating: 8.5

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