Hurray for boo
It felt like every DJ in Toronto was at the Living Room last Sunday for Chicago house heavyweight Boo Williams. From DJ Chocolate to Kenny Glasgow, from Nick Holder to Deadly Hedley Jones, they came by to pay their respects. After loosening himself up shaking it on the dance floor to the sounds of Gene King and Ray Prasad, Williams stepped up to the decks and reminded the receptive crowd why he's so well loved in Toronto. He tended more toward the soulful vocal side of house rather than the funkier Chicago sound some know him for, but few were complaining.
His excitement and obvious love for the music are contagious. You don't often see a headlining world-class DJ out in the crowd enjoying the party as much as the people paying for it. He likes Toronto as much as we like him, as his recent postings on the T.O.-based garagehousemusic.com message board show. As a DJ, he's the living example of solid: flawless mixing, impeccable track selection and skilled EQ and effect tweaking.
Three of the five original DJs of the now-defunct local tech-house crew Mettle were the special guests last Thursday at Mission, the weekly techno, house, electro and dub night at Element. Bryan Falling, Tyler Kerr and Blotto used to host some of the more memorable parties at Weave and later at B-Side, mixing up funky minimal house with weird electro experiments and pumping techno. The mix isn't as disjointed as it sounds; they offset their edgier tendencies with bouncy but sober crowd-pleasers, a technique that satisfies both the head-nodders and the dancers. The club wasn't exactly packed for the informal reunion, but it was pretty respectable for the first Thursday after New Year's Eve.
Mike Sitchon and Steve Yanko's monthly Leisure party operates on a fairly simple principle: take one well-loved guest and put him in a small venue on a Friday night. Last Friday's guest at Lincoln was Dee Jay Nav, who took the opportunity to drop an extended set of classic disco. Nav has always been a capable DJ, but in the past few years he's really started to define his sound and become increasingly confident. That assurance makes all the difference, allowing him to take bigger chances with his selections, knowing that his crowd will go along. Thanks to the venue's relatively small capacity, the post-NYE lull wasn't too harshly felt.
Every other Saturday, IV Lounge hosts Episode, a night of hiphop, soul and funk spun by two up-and-coming DJs -- Jun Dazai and Liem Bui. Both are capable mixers and boast pretty good collections of old soul for a couple of upstarts. The no-cover event draws a young, relaxed crowd -- mainly students from U of T and OCAD. Dancing isn't too high a priority, but some movement was seen toward the end of the evening. A comfortable way to spend a Saturday night with friends, away from the madness of the entertainment district.