too little too late
Now that Life has closed down, there is only one legal after-hours club in Toronto filling the void left by Industry -- System Soundbar.
Many complain about the thin attendance, the hardness of the music, the ridiculously long guest-list lineup and the mainstream-underground image of the club. But there's no denying that it's still your best bet for all-night, full-on partying.
The vibe is a lot better now than it's been in the past. There is definitely less aggression and fewer drug zombies. The club's location in the middle of the entertainment district does attract a varied crowd -- you'll find anybody from veteran clubbers to virgin partiers dancing side by side.
Last Saturday, Bang featured special guest Satoshi Tomiie from New York playing six hours of dark progressive and tribal house in the main room. Initially, the energy level in the room went down when he came on, since resident Evil P had spun a particularly hard and fast set just before. Either Tomiie was bored or just very restrained, but he looked like he was putting as little effort as possible into his set. He did very little tweaking and manipulation, using instead quick, simple mixes and very long records.
As the night wore on, he found his groove and managed to connect with the crowd. Many partiers were heard beefing that it took him until 6 am to make that connection.
j-dub goes deep
Una Mas looked unusually spacious Friday courtesy of the January lull, but the basement dance floor filled up for the soulful sounds of Chicago's J-Dub. Do It Up! Fridays are the most house-oriented night at the club, although the crowd doesn't really differ from their other weeklies. J-Dub was playing deeper, jazzier house than he's known for, but was also mixing it up with harder, pumping Chicago-style tracks. He may have been a bit too eclectic for the crowd, since many people left before last call.
Some of the Una Mas crowd were heading around the corner to the Love Unlimited party at the Mockingbird, featuring Jason Palma, Dee Jay Nav, Steve Yanko and Paul E. Lopes spinning their favourite club classics.
Who says Toronto doesn't like disco? This event was very well attended considering the absence of an international headliner and the lack of heavy promotion. Something strange is definitely going on when a night based on music older than most of the partiers can be so successful on a night when other clubs are hurting. It's encouraging to see so many people interested in the roots of dance music, but worrisome as to what that says about the state of contemporary music.
Garage 416's presentation of Chicago's Stacy Kidd last Friday at Roxy Blu went off smoothly, although organizers, feeling the winter downturn, used only the top floor this time.
The main room filled up early, but the crowd weren't as hyped as usual. They barely responded even when Kidd opened his set with a custom-made Garage 416 loop. It could be that he was too eager to please on his first trip to Toronto. In general, his selections were on the more accessible, upbeat side of soulful house rather than the deep and mellow.