dutch treatdutch treat
Why do people refer to electro's popularity as a revival or a retro fad when electro never really went away? For the past 20 years it's been quietly developing different tangents all over the world.
Last Saturday at the Zen Lounge, Holland's Legowelt demonstrated the genre's capacity for forward thinking without sacrificing its potential for dirty dance-floor fun.
Performing live on various synths and drum machines, Legowelt (aka Danny Blanco) kept the crowd robot-dancing for his whole set, an impressive feat for outer-edge music.
Live PAs by producers don't always deliver, given that reproducing tracks that took months to fine-tune isn't the easiest thing to pull off. Luckily, this music revels in lo-fi dirty sounds, so fidelity isn't an issue and Legowelt was able concentrate on keeping the energy level up.
Most refreshing about his set was how unretro it sounded. Although he references nostalgic 80s sounds, the rhythms and melodies are all his own.
The Electric Workers crew have been throwing electro parties in Toronto for a while, slowly building a scene. Now that the rest of the world is catching up with them, expect their events to grow in size and calibre. The punky edges of their aesthetic may not be for everyone, but it's a refreshing change from the glitz and glamour that so many others are pushing.
in their element in their element
With Nation gone from Life, hard house fans have been hurting for a Friday-night fix.
Communicate Fridays at Element might not be on the same scale but fills the gap nicely in a more low-key way. Residents Stretch and Hooker rocked the downstairs hard last Friday, getting a great reception from the crowd -- lots of cheering and hands in the air. Considering that the club was far from packed, that says a lot for their skills.
The funky filtered disco house went over well, especially the bootleg that lifted the melody from the Clash's Rock The Casbah. (Bet you never thought you'd hear that at Element.) They brought their set to a peak with a barrage of aggressive, new-school acid techno that the crowd loved. Progressive house didn't go over as well -- Toronto clubbers in general are tiring of that sound.
mixed bag mixed bag
The Goldclub event at the Docks last Thursday couldn't have happened without sponsorship -- headlining were jet-setting house producer Armand Van Helden, Chicago's well-loved Bad Boy Bill, the Crystal Method's Ken Jordan and UK hard house pounder Tall Paul, all of whom could have justified the $20 cover by themselves.
For once the Docks wasn't overcrowded to the point of discomfort. Ken Jordan started out the night reminding everybody why some producers shouldn't DJ. His mixes were loose and the progressive breaks he played did nothing for the crowd, most of whom spent his set in line for the VIP lounge.
There was an almost audible sigh of relief when Van Helden stepped up to the decks. As producers-turned-DJs go, Van Helden was decent, if kind of sloppy. He got a good reception from the crowd, though, who were hungry for the kind of hard house he favoured.
Bad Boy Bill is definitely a DJ first, and it showed when he took over from Van Helden and proceeded to devastate the dance floor with funky hard house and crazy scratching. Only the real diehards were still around for Tall Paul, who brought things down a notch with some trancey hard house.