NXNE Back2Back Block Party in the lot at 229 Richmond West, Friday and Saturday (June 7 and 8), 6 pm. Free. 19-plus only. www.nxne.com. 416-863-6963.
The NXNE block party -- open-air and free -- takes over the lot at 229 Richmond West for two days. The first focuses on the post-rave sounds of trance, progressive, jungle and techno, while day two emphasizes the various sub-categories of house music.
Not that the division is very strict -- both days start off with some drum 'n' bass, and Saturday also features a couple of local breaks DJs, Robb G and DMonic, facing off early in the day.
The biggest change this year is the absence of big-name international DJs, probably an attempt to avoid fiascos like last year's no-show by the Orb's Alex Patterson.
The slate of locals (33 DJs are confirmed so far) gives the curious a chance to see who's currently ripping it up in Toronto night spots, but they're all playing in teams on four turntables. It's an idea that sounds attractive on paper but means little outside of the scratch-DJ turntablist scene (of which no members are represented here).
Day two features some of the biggest names in T.O. house: Peter & Tyrone, Matt C, Dino & Terry, Andy Roberts, Kenny Glasgow, and Milk's Gani & Izzy all perform Saturday.
Organizers could have narrowed down the list a bit. Booking Dino & Terry with Gani & Izzy in the same time slot means that each DJ might be able to play four songs during their hour, if they're fast.
My bet for most interesting set goes to the opening slot (6 pm) Friday, featuring four of the Chicks Dig It crew: Dalia, Venus, Chocolate and Freedom. It's anybody's guess what genres they'll be touching on, but you can bet they'll go through a few of them in their one-hour set.