Review: James Zabiela @ Coda | September 30th, 2017


It was definitely a stranger night inside the walls of Coda nightclub for the return of UK house giant James Zabiela. Headlining the Toronto haven after his gig two years ago, Zabiela played for a room that wasn’t exactly empty, but not exactly full either. Maybe it was due to the fact that Zabiela isn’t the most traditional DJ you’ll see, but it did seem odd to see the crowd size in a city that has been packed wall to wall for……well let’s just say less profound acts.

The opening slot immediately before the headliner fell in the hands of renowned Toronto resident Albert Jossue. Jossue has been a force to reckon with in the Toronto scene, he is one of the stronger testaments to the local talent in the city. People usually grab drinks and socialize inside Coda during opening acts, but Alberto had everyone on the dance floor for his set.  He wasted no time getting into some heavy tunes, which kept the crowd engaged throughout.

Many UK DJs tend to get experimental with their sets, just recently there was a boiler room with a DJ playing on top of a pool table. Rather than rely on gimmicks though, Zabiela puts his innovation into his track selection. The Brits track list was strange yet worked. Playing Bon Ivers “715-Creeks” over the infamous disco synths of Fatima Yamaha’s “What’s a Girl to Do”, Zabiela was mixing in tracks that only a superior DJ would be able to put together.

For the majority of the night James Zabiela kept it on the heavier side, Toronto is known to be infatuated with darker techno after all. It would be nice to see more growth for acts like Zabiela after a great night with the innovator. With continuous select bookings like these, Toronto will soon get there. There will still come plenty of nights to fill up the room for the Beyers, Moudabers, and so on. Until then….

By Kaivan Adjedani. 

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