It was with a sigh of relief that I approached the generous-sized crowd of partiers getting fresh air outside Gypsy Co-op Friday night at the Milk/Do Right co-presentation of Jazzanova 's Alex Barck . The promotion for the event had been low-key, and most people I'd run into earlier that night hadn't known it was going on. In retrospect, that was probably a good thing; you couldn't have squished many more bodies into the bar.
The Jazzanova crew are known for their unique take on organic dance music, much of which could be described as broken beat but which straddles a number of different styles along with that sound. Correspondingly, Barck's DJ set also moved through a wide variety of tempos and rhythms as well as a number of eras. He also deserves credit for staying away from the obvious floor-fillers and still keeping the dance floor hopping.
Given the lack of a real club home for the soul- and jazz-influenced dance music scene, more and more of these types of events are being booked at venues like Gypsy Co-op and Supermarket, both of which are half-restaurant, half-bar. This works fine for low-key local DJ nights, but for larger events like this it can feel cramped and awkward. It's hard to see an obvious solution, though; having that split identity is important when it comes to paying the bills.
House music (all night long)
Last week there were rumblings that Studio 99 (aka 99 Sudbury ) would once again be off the market as a party space, but the news was greeted with a bit of eye-rolling; there's been many a "last party ever" at this warehouse because of long film shoots in the space and ownership changes. Turns out the rumours were half-true. The main room won't be used again any time soon, but it looks like the smaller side room still has some life in it, with a number of smaller-scale house-music-oriented events booked in the next little while.
Last Saturday saw an all-local DJ lineup of Mike Klaps , Dirty Dale Arsenault and Felix & Gani , hosted by Dany V . The vibe was very classic-warehouse-party, even if the music was mainly contemporary: so dark you had to be next to someone to recognize them, a big stack of speakers in the corner and lots of stomping and hollering. In fact, the wood floors and more intimate vibe of this space are better-suited to this kind of event than the large shooting studio was.
Honey, I shrank the Fukhouse
Over the years, techno institution Fukhouse has occupied a variety of venues, from large after-hours clubs like Industry and System Soundbar to smaller venues like Footwork and the occasional warehouse. The newest chapter, however, has a totally different vibe in mind. Starting last Friday, they're holding down the fort at Toi Bar (see Club Spotlight, page 118), a tiny little bar on College. Granted, Fukhouse was never really about that hard-as-nails side of techno, but taking it to the lounge wasn't what anyone expected. Having said that, Toi feels kind of like a miniature club, minus the strobes and lasers, but with enough bass and dance floor space to do justice to the music. The main residents are Ian Guthrie , Lee Osborne , Eric Downer and Noah Pred , but they'll also be bringing in local guests and maybe a big name once in a while.
If Friday night's opening party was any indication, this could end up being a new Friday-night institution for the tech heads. It hit capacity pretty early, and the dance floor was going off as if it were a full-on club. All of these guys deserve to be playing more prime-time slots anyway, so a break from international guest DJ events might just be a good thing.