mad housemad house
John Acquaviva doesn't care about subgenres -- to him it's either dance music or not.
I didn't love every song he played at Mad Bar Thursday (May 24) but respected the chances he took. The high point of his set was the crowd throwing their hands in the air and screaming when the kick finally dropped in Moodyman's Shades Of Jae. Not many club DJs are confident enough to play a track that has no bass for the first five minutes.
Those who stuck around till the lights came on were treated to an encore. He pulled some Prince out of the hard drive on his laptop, which was connected to his turntables through a Dutch device called Final Scratch (finalscratch.com).
dub datesdub dates
Went to see a couple of local dub reggae bands, starting with the Resinators at Ted's Wrecking Yard Friday (May 25). Their sound is closer to 80s England (i.e., Adrian Sherwood, Mad Professor) than to 70s Jamaica, but they still have a roots feel. Definitely appreciated the live remixing by Mountain Dred, but wasn't really feeling the wailing guitar. They oughta lay back more -- this music is all about space, and the rhythms need more room to breathe.
On Saturday (May 26), checked out Prelude To The Underground 2, featuring the sounds of Dub Solution and the words of dub poet Michael St. George at the Pilot. Dub Solution are a pretty solid roots reggae band, more on the subtler side of dub.
Nderi Wali joined them for a few songs and was way impressive. Can't say enough about this girl -- loads of charisma .
Michael St. George read, accompanied by percussionist Muhtadi, but was overpowered by the chatty crowd. He hit his stride, though, when he came back to join the band for their second set.
hiphop heightshiphop heights
The Serious Revue presentation of UK hiphop duo Andy Smith and Scott Henry at Reverb Saturday was disappointing. Nothing in particular wrong with their DJing, but they couldn't get the crowd moving outside of the break-dancing circle.
Big contrast to the Thursday-night Uproc party at Una Mas, also featuring DJ Serious, where the dance floor was packed and jumping.
Stopped by the Cameron House earlier on Thursday to chill out to the sounds of DJ Anousheh. She's been the front-room resident for close to six years now. A great place to be if you're into vintage soul and you want someplace to relax and sip cocktails .
wrecking crewwrecking crew
On the weird side of things, went out to see Exhaust at the Wavelength night Sunday (May 27) at Ted's Wrecking Yard. Wavelength is becoming a Toronto institution in the experimental music community -- check out their zine to find out more. Exhaust do noisy post-rock on drums, reel-to-reel tape, mini-disc, bass and bass clarinet. They seemed to be trying to do one long improvised piece, but the crowd kept interrupting to cheer, which is a good sign. Spotted Mogwai members there getting rowdy -- and happy.