The teaming-up of the Fukhouse, Blue and Technomeet crews last Sunday brought German tech-house hero Steve Bug to the Mockingbird to help celebrate Ian Guthrie's birthday.
The venue reached capacity early but wasn't uncomfortably packed. Bug surprised many by deviating from the deep tech-house sound he favours on his Poker Flat label. Instead, he focused more on classic, funky Detroit techno sounds.
Good move on his part, as many in attendance were veterans of Toronto's party scene who were certainly up for some back-to-basics funky minimal techno. This event was anything but a sedate chin-stroker party, and the dance floor was full and bouncing all night.
The Mockingbird is a great location for parties, even if it functions more as a pool hall on a day-to-day basis. Aside from a slightly understaffed and overworked bar and the charmingly naive adherence to legal capacity, it's as good a venue for parties as any dance club, maybe better.
In fact, the owners' reluctance to overcrowd the place was one of the factors that made the party so enjoyable, since you could dance without being constantly jostled and elbowed. You have to wonder why they haven't got rid of the pool tables and tried to run it as a club regularly.
tequila wastes uncut
Much of the local techno scene attended the reopening of the Tequila Lounge/El Mocambo last Thursday.
As much as I'd like to believe they were out to see my band, Tetrezene, it's more likely they were there to support fast-rising new-wave techno band the Uncut.
The duo have automated most of the electronic portion of their live show, allowing them to concentrate on the actual live guitar and bass playing. Their sound is best described as Joy Division filtered through a minimal techno perspective.
Unfortunately, rock venues like the El Mo don't encourage much dancing, even for those accustomed to cutting a rug at dance clubs. Keep an eye out for appearances by the Uncut at a proper techno night, where the vibe is much better suited to their introverted style of performance.
Jeremy P. Caulfield, head of local deep techno label Dumb-unit, was on hand with a few copies of the white-label test pressing of a soon-to-be-released Uncut single, sure to be played out by the more adventurous local DJs.
two faces of nasa
Checked out two very different events focusing on different meanings of the word "garage" at Nasa over the weekend.
The first, Poundhouse's monthly Ground Control party on Friday, featured a special guest, the UK's Simon Concannon, spinning alongside residents Hali, Rod G and Gerald. Concannon's approach to house and garage is respectful of the music's roots and has a much more American feel than his nationality would suggest.
The bar was packed and the dance floor was full, and Concannon worked the dancers into a frenzy without relying on the obvious anthems.
Garage in this context means soulful house, heavy on the vocals. Named for the infamous Paradise Garage club where Larry Levan DJed from the mid-70s to the mid-80s, garage has since become synonymous with the sound pushed by producers like Masters at Work and Blaze. Purists sometimes complain that Levan himself played much more than just gospel-influenced disco and was just as well known for pioneering the dark dubby sound.
Sunday night featured a different variation of the term garage, as the Flirt Soundsystem checked into Nasa for their UKG monthly. Flirt have been the most active locals at promoting the UK garridge sound, also known as 2 step, a style that incorporates drum 'n' bass rhythms with elements of R&B and garage.
While the venue wasn't nearly as packed as on Friday night, Flirt have managed to help build a small, loyal following for the genre over the past few years. In the UK, however, garridge is huge and has even infiltrated the pop charts and mainstream radio. Whether or not it will cross over here before it burns out overseas remains to be seen, but for the curious, the Flirt crew are working hard to make it available locally.