Checked out the Solma party last Sunday at Element, featuring the Toronto debut of up-and-coming Baltimore-based DJ Patrick Turner.
It took a while for the bar to fill up, but even when it was still fairly empty the dance floor was moving. Solma residents Ben Murko, Mat Lunnen and DJ Redd all focus on chunky, funky Chicago-style house. They did a good job warming up the crowd along with guests Ian Guthrie and Lee Osborne, who took over the late shift upstairs while Turner turned up the heat in the basement.
Turner's set was tight, smooth and funky and avoided the obvious anthems. On the other hand, it lacked surprise and tended to fade into the background. Still, it was nice to see a new name headlining a party; many promoters have been sticking to proven Toronto favourites for their international guests.
A new weekly started up last Thursday at the Savannah Lounge, formerly known as Studio 69. The party, called simply Dance, takes the club's preserved 80s decor as the starting point for a night focused on a reinterpretion of that period's club scene.
The night grew out of the successful one-off event Dance Dance Dance, held earlier this year and organized by resident DJ DMT (whom some will recognize from behind the counter at Cosmos Records).
Opening night drew a good-sized crowd, which bodes well for the future of the weekly. The headliner was DJ Aki, playing a special set of 80s electro, disco, new wave and funk. Part of the point of the night is to highlight local DJs, so expect high-quality Toronto guests and not international superstars. Alongside DJ DMT, the other residents are Son of S.O.U.L. and Alvaro C, with visuals by Ulysses Castellanos.
To go with the 80s theme, there was a fashion show by Pink Cobra and wandering models wearing Rick Diculous creations. Unfortunately, bad sightlines and the lack of a stage meant that most of the crowd saw little of the show, and the Rick Diculous models tended to blend into the rest of the flamboyantly dressed crowd.
All in all, a fun night of sensory overload, with much more going on than can be described here.
Toronto's premier broken-beat/future-jazz night, Sessions, has returned after a brief summer hiatus.
Now in a different venue, B-side, the night still features residents Moonstarr, John Kong, Andrew Allsgood, Roland Deschamps and DJ Stuart. Unfortunately, not enough time was given to promotion, resulting in a disappointing turnout Friday. For those who missed out on their broken-beat fix this month, the next Sessions happens November 9.
local outshines medina
Bump N Hustle's presentation of the Red Hot + Riot album release Friday at Roxy Blu drew out a large crowd eager to get down to some Afrobeat and funk.
New York's Rich Medina headlined the event, and although his DJing was solid, you couldn't help but notice that the energy level was much higher on DJ Son Of S.O.U.L.'s side of the room.
It's a strange paradox that an international guest will often get more people out to a party, but a local can usually read the hometown crowd better.