CAPTAIN EASYCHORD with DJ FANNY and the FUNKY DIABETIC at Thymeless (355 College), tonight (Thursday, March 11). Free. 416-928-0556. Rating: NNNNN
Indie rockers have been infiltrating DJ culture over the past little while, introducing new feet to the dance floor and reacquainting new ears with guitars. Most of these parties feature a wide variety of music, touching on underground rock, electro, mash-ups, vintage funk, post-punk disco and anything that will get the record store nerd crowd on their feet. One of the hallmarks of this emerging genre is a general lack of DJ technique and mixing, which you could take as a critique of techno culture but is more likely the result of music fans diving in headfirst without buying decks and practising in the bedroom first.
Expensive Shit falls into this category of party, but over the past year the DJs have started picking up some technique, as well as some fans, and it has evolved into a pretty consistently good shindig.
One of the two DJs, Captain Easychord (aka Luca Lucarini), has recently started a franchise night to fulfill the needs not met by the dance-floor-attentive night he hosts with Lil' McKimm (aka Rob Gordon).
"I just wanted a place for my friends and me to be able to play head music. Dance parties are wicked, but there's so much music to be heard that doesn't fit into dance-vibe functionality. We're going to have a rotating cast of DJs as well as genre specificity.
"It all came from a conversation I had with my roommate Steve about the potential beauty of a night featuring nothing but British progressive rock - beat-matched Rick Wakeman Mellotron solos."
In addition to the planned prog-rock mash-up, he's also thinking of special editions highlighting IDM, American hardcore, math metal and the Afro-futurism of Detroit techno, P-funk, dub and Afrika Bambaata-style electro.
Not that he's forsaken Expensive Shit while Club 56 waits out its liquor licence suspension. The monthly party moves to Lee's Palace next week (March 19), which is a big step up in size and visibility. As well, he's hoping to start a night focusing on the MC-oriented side of UK garage and Dirty South hiphop.
So how did he end up being one of the lone indie disco DJs brave enough to tackle beat-matching and mixing?
"I don't actually own decks yet, but I've been lucky enough to have always had at least a couple of friends with turntables to practise on. I'm no Q-Bert or anything, but it's coming along.
"I like the control of being a somewhat competent turntablist. Originally, I wanted to nail beat-matching after I heard all those mash-ups that started coming out of England a couple of years ago. I wanted to be able to throw down a cappellas over other shit."
I guess it's a good thing no one told him that the mash-ups in question were made using software. Otherwise, he might not have invested the effort into taking the craft seriously. Even if he's still a novice by DJ culture standards, he shows a knack for it, and it's paid off at the parties and on the dance floor, where it counts.