known quantitiesknown quantities
For Those Who Know, or FTWK, as they're otherwise known, book big-name DJs Wednesday nights at Tonic. Last week (July 11) they brought in Germany's Ian Pooley, who spun a diverse set of techno, tech house and filtered disco cut-ups. He's been getting a lot of praise, though to me his sound is fairly typical of any European big club, except without the trance. As a mixer, he's competent but not very showy. Pooley played some good tracks, but strayed too close to the cheese more than a few times.
FTWK sometimes bring in some top-notch talent, but often it's just top-dollar European DJs who would normally be playing in much larger venues. Liked the dozens of video monitors hanging from the ceiling as a fresh approach to lighting, but the huge cigarette-company ad projections that are popping up everywhere are just plain ugly. Nothing makes an event feel square like obtrusive corporate sponsorship.
fukhouse returnsfukhouse returns
Fukhouse threw a one-off small party at Nasa Saturday (July 14) featuring Jeremy P. Caulfield (formerly Lotus) playing electro-influenced techno and New Zealand's Phil Williams playing funky, dubby tech house to a packed and happy bar.
Fukhouse used to put together much larger events at venues like Industry but have been on hiatus lately. They've teamed up with Alien Influx and Dumb-Unit to launch an unnamed series of what they call proper deep techno parties, starting August 18. See www.techno.ca/fukhouse for the details -- definitely worth checking out.
college nightscollege nights
Alto Basso is a newish lounge near Crawford that features DJs spinning predominantly soul-based music, except on Thursdays, when the lineup is more on the progressive/hard house side of things.
Reminisce Fridays give Carl Allen a chance to dig deep into his crates for a classic house, disco and R&B night. When several events around town are billing themselves as classic but don't actually go much further back than a few years, it's good to hear someone who can actually deliver.
Allen has been DJing for 20 years, so you can bet he knows the classics as well as his way around a mixing board. It's a bit saddening to see a skilled DJ with this much history playing small lounges while international guests with far less pedigree and talent get to play big rooms for top dollar.
Also Fridays, Liquids Lounge features the Poundhouse crew of Rod G, Hali, Paul Hogan, Jason Hynes and Jamie Watts spinning quality garage house without too much reliance on hits. There's no cover, and the place is pretty full most weeks, so come early if you want to sit. The sound system has been improved this year, and it's made a big difference in clarity, making good music sound even better.