Parisian DJ Deep played his French take on New York house at Aria on Friday (June 22) to an appreciative audience of house heads.
He's excited to be playing for Toronto and New York's more educated crowds, compared to those in his hometown, where hard house and big beat still rule the club scene.
In fact, he's a bit fed up with the Paris scene.
"The sound systems are shit," he said to me after the set. "You can play the best music, but if you can't feel it, it won't work."
Here, his song selection was strong, and he got the crowd throwing their hands in the air for more then a few tracks. He's also a competent mixer, although he doesn't indulge in many tricks, letting the songs speak for themselves. The last 30 partiers got to hear a short set of romantic R&B -- a nice way to end an evening.
Much of the most adventurous new music in the last few years has come from collaborations between electronic artists and live musicians.
Cinematic Orchestra started out sample-based but had to recruit musicians to fill in what the machines couldn't do. Their Wednesday-night (June 20) gig at Harbourfront Centre ended up sounding closer to genuine jazz than to dance music, leaving some fans of the recorded work disappointed while impressing many of the musicians in the audience.
"It was an ear-opening experience," gushed James Payment of local space-rock heroes Do Make Say Think.
It was fitting that Pharoah Sanders played the same stage two days later, since his 70s fusion work is clearly a heavy influence on the Orchestra. While less outside than he has been, Sanders was anything but predictable. The strangest moment came at the encore, when the band broke into a Caribbean funk groove and he decided to put down his horn and sing, convincing the audience to join in. More passionate and moving than the Cinematic Orchestra, he showed that there's a difference between referencing jazz and living it.
Once again, the Blockorama Pride party (Sunday, June 24) was the place to be. Woke up late to hear DJ Mr. Kicks kickin' it. Apparently only 14 years old, he mixes prime deep house and garage creatively. If he's this good now, imagine when he finally comes of age.
The women DJs all rocked the decks as well. TNT, Verlia and Nikki Red threw down some wicked house, soca, Afrobeat and R&B to a sweaty, happy crowd.
PhatBlackPussyKat is back at Surface (basement of Roxy Blue) on Saturdays, featuring an all-star cast of CKLN's top house and nu-jazz DJs. Augmenting the thump last weekend were a group of musicians on various Latin percussion instruments and trumpet who improvised over the front-room DJs all night. Let's hope they'll be a regular feature.
The atmosphere is warm and friendly, bringing back good memories of the old Warehouse days, and the crowd is there to dance.
Respect in particular to Joe Rizla for making us feel So Special at the end of the night and getting everyone singing and clapping. pulse