DAVID MANCUSO at Revival (783 College West), Sunday (August 4), $20, www.taboolife.com; and Saturday and Sunday (August 3 and 4) at the One Love Festival at Metro Hall Square Park, free. 416-933-0027.
Considering the revival of the after-hours warehouse scene in Toronto over the past few years, it's fitting that the man behind the original loft party is finally making his first local appearance.
David Mancuso is considered by some to be the true father of dance music culture. The Loft, the rent parties that Mancuso started throwing in the Manhattan warehouse space where he lived during the late 60s, had a profound influence on the young Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan, as well as countless other DJs over the next 30 years.
"Basically, the Loft is a feeling," Mancuso explains from his New York home. "It's about a party, not a club.
"Around 1970, I applied the concept of the rent party to the occasional parties I'd been doing since 66. I started to do them on a regular basis, asking for a contribution at the door. That's legal in New York City as long as you don't bother the neighbours and you're not selling booze.
"The Loft evolved more into a lifestyle for me, but it was also a way to rebel against bars and clubs. I wanted to do something more personal, stay out of the system and keep it as simple as possible."
One of the innovations the Loft brought to the club world was the first real state-of-the-art sound system.
Despite being closer to a beefed-up audiophile-quality hi-fi by today's standards, the Loft's sound system became the standard to which later legendary clubs would aspire.
Mancuso's priority was never to bludgeon the dancers with thunderously loud sound levels, but rather to produce an accurate reproduction of the original recording. This notion of purity ended up extending to his DJing style when Mancuso gave up mixing in the early 80s and decided to play every song from beginning to end.
"I don't want to reinterpret what the artist intended," Mancuso says. "I went to the basics and let the artists present what they intended. Why take a record and mix it just for a sake of mixing?
"When I tour, I don't carry five boxes of records, or even two, because I play the whole song. One box could do 20 hours of music."
The Loft has moved a few times and fell victim to skyrocketing rents during the late 90s but has been revived in a temporary space since last November.
During the lull, Mancuso compiled a remastered set of Loft classics for Nuphonic Records and started touring for the first time.
Unlike many DJs, he's never pursued greater stardom, despite his legendary status. Talking to him, you realize that playing anywhere but his own loft to his own community is a compromise of his vision of the party, one where the DJ isn't more important than the dancer or the record.
"When I do a loft party, I see people who came to the original parties as children, who have grown up and are bringing their children. I'm looking out at the dance floor and I'm seeing three generations.
"What better paycheque is there than that?"