Seattle's Donald Glaude dropped his trademark hard-bumpin' house for Communicate Fridays at Element last weekend, where the basement was packed and energy was high.
Glaude is an impressive technical DJ, scratching and chopping his way through a mix of funky electro, tech house, fast disco house and hard house. His energetic, crowd-pleasing style goes over well with the Element faithful -- even if the pummelling, constantly high energy can be a bit numbing after a couple of hours.
In the later part of the evening, they had his signal going upstairs as well, for those wishing to escape the heat downstairs. The empty DJ booth and pumpin' music created a strange tension that could almost work as a subtle conceptual art installation.
The monthly Dissolve party touched down last Friday at Lincoln, featuring Rob Nice, West Magnetic and Deeno. Resident Rob Nice's opening deep soulful house set warmed up the room nicely -- he's a good clean mixer and plays a lot of undiscovered gems.
When you're trying to establish yourself in a crowded genre, it's good to search out records that aren't getting played every night. Nice is starting to play out relatively regularly. Worth checking out if you get the chance.
Now that the Fridays at Lincoln are being hosted by rotating monthly events, they're drawing bigger crowds. Many people are spending their whole night at smaller lounges like this instead of just stopping in on their way out to a big night.
They're not just sitting down and socializing either. The lack of a dance floor and big system don't seem to impede booty-shaking.
Andy Roberts has been holding court Sunday nights for Hard And Soul at the Living Room for over six years. Still going strong, he's now joined by Dino most weeks for the soulful house institution.
The crowd is a mix of people who work in the club industry and hardcore house lovers. In spite of the empty streets throughout the rest of the club district, the Living Room feels closer to a full-on Saturday night than a mellow end of the weekend event.
Dino tends to play more of the gospel vocal anthems, and Roberts gets a little more dirty and funky with instrumentals. Both are technically skilled enough to compete with the best and know how to balance hits and obscurities to build memorable sets.
Not many other weeklies can boast this kind of longevity or consistently good energy. No big international guests means that Roberts has been able to develop a good relationship with his crowd. He knows what they want to hear, and they trust his taste.
Too bad more nights don't focus on their residents. The competition to book the biggest headliner often pushes local DJs to the sidelines, in spite of the fact that they generally know best what will move a Toronto crowd.
Remember that all the legendary DJs built their reputation through long-term residencies. There's no better way to hone your personal style and develop a strong relationship with your audience then by playing for them every week.