It seems disrespectful, almost irrelevant, to be reporting on parties and dance clubs after the events of last Tuesday, but after days of being glued to the news, the need to get back to life and connect with friends starts to emerge.
Many were eager to make contact with anyone; wherever I went I ended up getting into conversations with strangers. Clubgoers were saying they needed the release of going out and dancing and the break from TV.
Most higher-profile gigs were cancelled when international guests were unable to fly, but a couple of promoters had booked locals to begin with, and their gigs were surprisingly well attended considering the circumstances.
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Last Friday' s Garage 416 had 17 house DJs appearing in the four rooms of Roxy Blu. While it wasn't completely rammed, attendance was definitely respectable. The vibe wasn't as celebratory as usual, but there was a different intensity in many dancers as the house scene worked out the tension.
Ray Prasad's closing set downstairs captured the mood well -- serious but uplifting -- with very clean mixes and nice track selection. It's too bad she isn't playing out more often. She dropped a lot of hits, but no more than any international guest would have.
boogie onboogie on
The Boogie Box party Saturday at the Mockingbird had also been promoted as locals only. Felix and Gani of Milk headlined alongside the Analog crew. Again, attendance was quite decent, and many stayed late for Analog's closing set.
Not the tightest mixers, Felix and Gani make up for it by searching out good songs that don't get played too often. Good space design featured multiple projections. The vibe was a bit escapist, which by Saturday was a welcome distraction.
monkey domonkey do
The Monkey Mob played a low-key, intimate gig Thursday at IV Lounge to celebrate their sax player's birthday. They bill themselves as jazz funk house, but for this gig they slowed things down to a funk swagger with some jazz flavours. It sounds like they've listened to tons of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis; luckily, they're good enough players and improvisers to keep it sounding fresh.
The mood Thursday was more reserved and solemn than on the weekend, but most in attendance were doing their best to distract themselves. Check out Monkey Mob's Monday-night residency at Lava for the full experience.
loft-y ideasloft-y ideas
In times like this, the first instinct for many is to be near friends, to touch base and engage in human contact. The small loft parties and speakeasies that make up Toronto's unofficial nightlife seemed like a better place to do that than the big clubs.
Boutique held a private party in Kensington Saturday featuring G Abugan and J Salvatore spinning classic disco, house, soul and reggae for their friends and neighbours.
Interesting that a Fela Kuti track was the floor filler. Not everyone is looking for escapism. If you're into the classics, keep an ear out for their next event -- it may be more official and above-ground.