life's a beach
It's been a hard summer for many promoters. But there have also been some surprise success stories.
The Promise Cherry Beach Soundsystem was an informal, below-the-radar beach party that somehow managed to sustain itself over the entire summer. There were other Cherry Beach parties this season, but it was the Promise Sundays that everyone was talking about.
Last Sunday was the final Promise event of the summer, and a good-sized crowd came out to say goodbye to what for many had become a favourite way to spend a lazy, hazy afternoon.
The success of this series and of other informal, semi-private events may give clues to the changing desires of partiers. Newer clubs in Toronto put a lot of effort into projecting an upscale, elite image. Maybe they haven't heard that we're in a recession, and many people can't afford to pretend to be rich any more.
The increased commercialization of the party scene, which at one point appeared to be completely outside of that system, has alienated veterans and doesn't seem to be drawing in new people either.
Much of the charm of the earlier days of the party scene lay in its subtle subversiveness. Despite the obvious disposability of much of the rave experience, the fact that it functioned outside all the normal rules of society meant more than we realized.
The Promise Cherry Beach Soundsystem reminded us of what was lost years ago, and also provided a wholesome, idealistic alternative to the club district. These were the kinds of events that parents would take their children to. Not many clubs can boast that.
dub does it
Caught Chicago funky house DJ J.Dub at Element last Saturday, playing to a crowd who clearly appreciated him. Toronto clubbers have enjoyed a good relationship with J.Dub since the days of Industry, and last weekend was no exception.
Starting off a little harder than he usually does, he soon dropped some seriously sick bass lines, which led up nicely to his well-loved funkier, more disco-influenced house. This is the kind of DJing Toronto partiers love from Derrick Carter, which makes sense -- they're both part of what's sometimes referred to as the "third wave" of Chicago house DJs.
Element seems more concerned about sticking to its legal capacity ever since its licence was suspended for exceeding it. The club now keeps track of how many people are on each floor so the basement doesn't get too crammed when there's an international headliner. Of course, this also means that if you get there late you might get in, but you might not be allowed into the basement.
lifted live to air
Earlier that week Element also hosted Lifted, the first underground hiphop live-to-air club night in Toronto.
Broadcast on 89.5, it features DJs Fase, Grouch and Jacksploitation cutting and scratching their way through stacks of hiphop and vintage funk while breakdancers pop and lock in the circle in front of the DJ booth.
A fairly large crowd made it out, although there wasn't much dancing outside of the breakers' circle. Hopefully, Lifted will maintain the momentum of the first night. Wednesday isn't the easiest night to get people out.