Most Wanted Entertainment's Nation night has been revived at a new home, Red Square, and now takes place every Saturday. While Red Square is smaller than Nation's previous home at Life, the club's intimacy and luxurious atmosphere have had positive effects on the event's vibe.
It's still a full-on late-night hard house and techno party, but the more overtly hedonistic aspects of the scene are less evident here and, happily, there are fewer obnoxious tough guys. Kenny Glasgow and Matt C are the resident DJs, both of whom are extremely popular with this crowd for their history with the now defunct Industry nightclub.
Last week they shared the bill with Charles Siegling, one-half of Hong Kong-based duo Technasia. Siegling is actually French but has been collaborating with Hong Kong-based Amil Khan since 1996, bringing the techno thrill to China for the first time.
Although he hasn't been DJing for very long, Siegling has mastered the art of techno mixing without much trouble. Fast-paced and energetic, he's constantly working the mixer and rarely leaves a track on for more than a couple of minutes. The crowd ate it up and kept the dance floor packed with bouncing bodies. Hopefully, someone will bring Technasia to town for a live set of their own material.
There was much speculation in the soulful house scene in the weeks leading up to last Saturday's Atmosphere party at 160 Spadina as to whether or not it would succeed.
Despite the rhetoric about the wholesome quality of "soulful" events, many doubted that an alcohol- and smoke-free event would draw a crowd, especially with only local DJs playing. Not everyone is aware that many of the legendary clubs of the 70s and 80s were juice bars, and few believe that the current after-hours scene could exist without free-flowing booze.
While the party wasn't packed, the people who came out were definitely there for the right reasons. DJs Yogi, Stuart and Jason Ulrich supplied the tunes, focusing on house but deviating into other areas of dance music. Many local DJs turned up to show their support, and many of them were even dancing.
Unfortunately, the dance floor didn't stay full consistently, but the vibe was still a lot nicer than at many illegal after-hours events. The absence of alcohol seems to have reduced the presence of cocaine, which pushed many away from the booze-can scene.
If the organizers continue with this concept, it may end up meeting an important need by providing a space for those turned off by the club scene and intimidated by illegal warehouse parties while also providing an entry point for underage partiers left out in the cold by the demise of the all-ages rave scene.
funking up fez
Dale Arsenault's name has been popping up on more and more flyers lately. DJing monthly at the Juice parties, he's also become the Friday-night resident at Fez Batik with Milk's Felix.
Unlike most record collectors, he's well known as an irrepressible dancer, combining disco, jazz and break dancing techniques into a unique style recently showcased in the new K-OS video for Superstar Pt. O. Checked him and Felix out last Friday, and despite Arsenault's claim that it was an off night, what I heard impressed me.
Mixing up brand new unproven tracks with forgotten mid-90s classics, he likes his house chunky, funky and deep. Dig in.