Mika Zibanejad, hockey player, made his debut as club DJ early this morning with a set at Junxion. In the days prior both Le Droit and the Ottawa Citizen had stories detailing the background of Mika's affinity and education in the art, you can check out those here and here. Seems the crushing boredom of life in Binghamton honed his technique.
Since Graeme is allergic to electronic music, our trusty pinch correspondent for this event was Mathieu Marchand (@mat_sens).
Without further ado, what Mat saw and heard:
"My friend and I arrived at Junxion without any expectations, but we were quite surprised by the turnout and atmosphere inside. Once everyone was given access to the dance floor, we headed down and saw that Mika was sitting at a table with Conacher and friends. We were able to talk with them although only for a minute or so, Mika said he was nervous to get up there, and we joked about the Swedish House Mafia t-shirt he was wearing. J-G Pageau arrived at the table later on and a PAGEAU PAGEAU PAGEAU chant erupted in the club (Mika and Cory joined in) and JGP laughed it off. Everybody took out their cameras once Z-BAD hit the decks at 12:30. It felt like a photo-shoot for a second there, but as the camera flashes stopped, people began to dance.
Like he warned, Mika looked nervous when he first got on stage. You can see the difference between his intro video (see above) and the ones I recorded later on in his set (1, 2, 3) where he is interacting a bit more with the crowd. He didn't say anything on the mic, I don't even think there was one for him to use. There were people coming up to the stage all night to shake his hand and take pictures. At one point DJ BZRK (opening DJ and Mika's mentor) told him to put his hands up to "pump up" the crowd. Mika obliged and got a huge screaming reaction from the crowd. Like I said, he definitely looked nervous at first. But he had a smile throughout the night and looked like he was having fun.
As for a critique of his skills, everything went smoothly as far as I could tell. Mika's set was something I'd expect from a first time DJ. He was pretty much just mixing the beginning of the next song with the end of the one that was playing, and using synthesizer knobs to make the transitions a bit more fun for the crowd. His music selection was good, plenty of mainstream house and electro, I remember hearing; Avicii, Hardwell, Steve Angello, Tommy Trash, Sebastian Ingrosso. He was definitely better than some DJ's I've seen in various clubs around Ottawa, the crowd was into it. The $7 cover charge was more than worth it, for a first time gig I'd give him a 9/10.
Oh and at 1:30, the cameras came out once again when Erik Karlsson arrived on stage for a few minutes (with bodyguards in tow)."
A big thanks to Mat for writing in.