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Mad Bar celebrated its five-year anniversary last Sunday with a special appearance by Chicago disco house bad boy DJ Sneak.
Sneak, now based in Toronto, has only played occasional local gigs. As a result, the party was uncomfortably packed.
The crowd was somewhat male-dominated, but not to the point of testosterone overload. Possibly as a result of the lack of space, the dance floor wasn't constantly hopping -- whenever it filled up, everyone would have to stop moving.
Sneak's set of funky house, electro and club anthems was not as tight as he can be. The mixes often sounded rushed and sloppy, but occasionally he pulled off some great transitions that showed why he's so popular with a wide range of partiers.
Sponsors Benson and Hedges sure didn't hold back. They decorated the club with multiple video projections of their logo and hired "glamour girls" to circulate, selling cigarettes and soliciting e-mail addresses. While this kind of corporate sponsorship does make it possible for events to happen that wouldn't normally, there's something about being romanced so aggressively by a tobacco empire that leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
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Santa Cruz deep house producer Rick Preston's set at Film Lounge last Friday for the Infinite Garden party was darker and harder than his productions might suggest.
While most of his singles have been in the mellow, funky house vein, his DJ set only touched on that sound, instead favouring more aggressive tribal flavours.
You can hardly blame him for thinking that a peak-time, Friday-night crowd would want it pumping -- Toronto is one of the only North American cities where he could have gotten away with playing more of his own records.
The promoter, Phox~Patterns, decorated the space nicely, with lots of attention to little details. The venue has potential as the next hot spot, but it still needs to establish its identity. The strict but minimal dress code (no sneakers or hats) is too arbitrary to have any real effect on the patrons' style, and the mandatory coat check is irritating on a cold night in an air conditioned club.
While these measures are meant to encourage a more mature clubbing audience, too many rules make partiers feel like cattle.
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DJ Deep looked like he was loving every second of his gig last Saturday at Una Mas. The skinny Frenchman was bouncing around behind the decks like a madman and singing along to every track of his rootsy, soulful house set.
The club was a little too full for most of the night, but the crowd used what space it had to dance their asses off. Deep even got their hands in the air for some lesser-known songs, not something you see every night. The abundance of new and unfamiliar songs was a nice change. It proved that a deep house crowd will react to more than just the obvious anthems -- something that more local DJs should remember the next time they're shopping for vinyl.