eight is enough
The basic concept of DJing hasn't changed that much in the past 25 years -- two turntables and a mixer are still a very efficient way to rock a crowd.
In a crowded club market, though, new concepts can make the difference between a half-full bar and a packed-beyond-capacity party.
The Quadrasonic event last Friday at Revival was the second instalment of Alvaro C's eight-turntable/four-DJ extravaganza, an idea that sounds problematic on paper but attracted an impressive crowd.
Set-ups like this have been used before for turntablist showcases and experimental events, but deep house and Latin soul? Could four DJs communicate well enough to avoid dissonant melodic relationships and not sound like a train wreck?
Good news -- the mixes were clean and the experiment didn't degenerate into chaos. On the other hand, eight turntables proved to be a bit of overkill, as there were rarely more than two records being played at a time.
Toronto house hero Andy Roberts dominated the mix most of the time, while Milk's Izzy added bits here and there. On the other side of the stage, Alvaro C and Boris Kid Congo worked the other two mixers, contributing accents to the sexy, funky house vibe that Roberts was pumping out.
Unfortunately, Revival is still one of the worst-sounding clubs of its size. Beyond the first 10 feet in front of the stage, the sound turned into mush, and any intricacies were lost in the roar of small talk. The meat market vibe of the venue didn't help either, but it is College Street, after all.
The highlight of the evening was Katie Burgess's live performance of a couple of her new songs. A few DJs onstage are no match for a talented vocalist, no matter how many turntables they have.
FTWK teamed up with Blue two Wednesdays ago to bring Glasgow techno pioneers Slam and Italy's Gaetano to Tonic.
Strangely, despite Slam's popularity, the duo didn't draw much of a crowd. It didn't help that Gaetano had already played in Toronto a few times over the past couple of weeks; he's been in town since the Miami Winter Music Conference.
The other reason might be that Slam just weren't very interesting. Where were the bass lines they used to be known for? Hours of virtually identical drum tracks don't make for a very inspired dance floor, especially if you're not going to work the mixer much.
Gaetano's set raised the energy level in the room a notch or two. Minimal, hard techno needs a bit of manipulation on the part of the DJ to be engaging, and Gaetano was glad to oblige with lots of aggressive EQ and effect tweaking. Unfortunately, by then most were getting ready to leave.
Hard to believe that the Bag of Trix breakdancing crew are already celebrating 11 years.
Last Saturday's bash at the Opera House definitely had the old-school vibe. DJ Serious and Son of Soul provided the memory-stirring mix of classic soul breaks, electro and hiphop while the crew got down to business.
Too bad the lousy sightlines left much of the audience straining their necks to try to keep up with the action onstage. Next time they should try putting the mat on the floor and letting the crowd up on the stage.
A vegetarian restaurant isn't the first place that comes to mind when you're looking for a Sunday-night party, but the Red Beet Lounge at Fressen has developed into a fairly consistent good night out. It features different DJs every Sunday night, mainly focusing on the mellow, earthy vibes of dusty old R&B, roots reggae and hiphop. Yummy vegetarian snacks, lots of weird drinks and a warm, comfortable vibe complete the package.