THE FINAL BLOW UP with the DIABLEROS , the LADIES AND GENTLEMEN , BOY BALLZ and guests at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), Saturday (March 26). $5. 416-777-1777. Rating: NNNNN
Long before Mark Holmes and Bobbi Guy started packing 'em in at the Mod Club Theatre over on College, Blow Up was Toronto's premier party destination for the mop-topped masses. But after 10 years of largin' it behind the decks, Blow Up founder DJ Davey Love is pulling the plug.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," sighs Love. "Next week I'll probably end up crying." Though the night is far from moribund (Love says it still manages to pull in about 200 faithful a week), at its peak Blow Up could bring in as many as 1,100 party people.
"It was completely decadent," recalls Love, telling me about the time he brought a blender into the DJ booth so he could make margaritas. "There'd be people rolling joints, doing mushrooms," he says. "I'm surprised we got away with what we did."
Sounds like a gas. But with a crowded party scene and dozens of niche nights playing out in every grimy grotto this side of the 401, Love says Blow Up has "outlived its youth."
"There are a million other parties now," he says, referring to regular shindigs like Santa Cruz, Big Primpin', Expensive Shit and (of course) the ubiquitous Mod Club.
"(Mod Club founders) Mark and Bobbi used to come every Saturday," says Love. "They'd stand by the DJ booth writing down the DJ sets. I was like, 'What are you guys doing?' And then they started their Wednesday-night party, which became Saturday nights, and then they opened up their own club. Now they've got an empire. We call it Mod Disney."
Still, Love isn't looking back in anger. A whack of bands and a very special top-secret guest are gonna help put Blow Up to bed with one hell of a party. It also helps that he scored the El Mo, Blow Up's "spiritual home."
"We went to the El Mo last night, and it looks really different now," he says, "but we'll make it feel dirty again."
Revelry aside, the night also provided a fertile breeding ground for like-minded musicians to meet up. Local indie rock outfit the Diableros, a six-piece crew that builds a wall of sound with a double organ/guitar attack, were among them.
"I used to go religiously," says the band's drummer, Phoebe Lee.
"People were there to have a good time," continues Diableros singer Pete Carmichael. "It was rock and roll. It was easy to hop onto the 1-foot stage, double-fist [a beer] and dance to the Charlatans."
And while Carmichael admits his band's sound these days ain't exactly Britpop, they still have a Brit flavour. They should; the group formed last year to play a Jesus and Mary Chain tribute party. After blasting out some classic Chain, Lee and Carmichael decided to turn the project into a real band. Since then, they've set their lineup and laid down 12 tunes at Kitchen Sink studios that they hope to release as an LP later this year.
Expect a short blast of noise when they hit the stage Saturday night.