Richie Hawtin, with Loco Dice, Carl Craig, and Ean Golden at the Hoxton, Thursday, November 8. Rating: NNNN
Considering that Windsor techno hero Richie Hawtin's CNTRL tour is framed around a series of early evening college lectures on electronic music, you had to wonder if the after-party portion might turn out to be a low-key night of chin-scratching nerds bobbing their heads. Thankfully, other than Hawtin's set ending at the early-by-techno-standards hour of 2:40 am, it was still as sweaty and hedonistic as we've come to expect.
Hawtin has an odd history of playing lots of Thursday night parties in Toronto over the years, but he's a big enough name that the chaos outside the club still felt like a full-on Saturday night. Walking through the front door to be greeted by an intimidating wall of eyeball-shaking bass let you know immediately that this wasn't just another ordinary dance party at the Hoxton.
Hawtin had demanded that the in-house sound system be replaced by a more techno-appropriate rental, which is the type of detail that can make all the difference with this music. It's that kind of knowledge and attention to detail that he's trying to share with the new generation of dance music fans at the lecture series, although the crowd looked a lot more old school than the audience at a Skrillex gig.
He mostly played the stripped-down, percussion-focussed hypnotic grooves he's best known for, but shook things up towards the end by mixing in Egyptian Lover's 1983 electro anthem Egypt, Egypt and ending with Nitzer Ebb's Join In The Chant, connecting the historical dots between industrial music, early hip-hop and underground dance music. The CNTRL tour might not end up converting that many young EDM fans to techno, but it was still a good excuse for a great party.