Fri, Nov 7
Crookers get crackin'
When Italian electro-house remix kings Crookers hit Toronto earlier this year, they tore the roof off Wrongbar with their high-energy post-rave set. It was literally raining indoors with the condensation from a few hundred sweaty bodies, and the vibe was off the hook, so expectations for their big-room debut at Circa were high.
While there wasn't any party precipitation this time around, they still had no problem packing the much larger venue and getting fists pumping. Their trademark stadium-rock reworking of house music might be on the verge of wearing thin, but for now they're at the top of their game, and their fan base has grown far beyond the hipster circles that initially championed them.
It's an odd moment in club culture when dudes wearing shiny dress shirts are getting off to the same sounds as the kids in day-glo, so we might as well enjoy it while it lasts. Still, after putting in a few hours in the club district, we welcomed the opportunity to make our way west to the secret after-party, where birthday girl Vaneska was spinning her second DJ set of the night (the first was opening for Glass Candy's Wrongbar gig).
Crookers still had some energy left to play a surprise set at the after-party, and dug a bit deeper into their crates (or rather their hard drives) to find some grooves that weren't completely focused on chainsaw bass lines and stuttered samples. Don't be surprised if you start hearing some slow and heavy dubstep-inspired beats coming from them in the next few months.
Sat, Nov 8
The techno team at Tempo took over the Basement to welcome Mike Shannon back to Canada from an extended stay in Berlin. Shannon is on tour promoting Memory Tree, his new full-length album for fellow expat Richie Hawtin's legendary Plus-8 label.
The Toronto techno scene may not be as youthful as it once was, but it's still not an early-night crowd, so it took a while for the club to fill up
and the dance floor to get shaking. Fortunately, a surprise guest was on hand: Berlin-based digi-dub producer Substance, who threw down a hypnotic set of Chain Reaction-style deep techno.
By the time Shannon came on, the crowd was ready to get down, and he bumped up the tempo accordingly and the energy level a bit. However, he seemed to have trouble connecting with the hometown crowd, and several of his transiti0ns sounded much messier than we'd expected. It's possible that the jumbled beats were an attempt at experimentation, but out in the crowd they sounded more like unintentional train wrecks.