DJ Sneak sure knows how to throw a birthday party. The Chicago native, now transplanted to Toronto, has been putting on birthday fetes here since the days of Industry, and they just keep getting bigger and better.
The mammoth Kool Haus was chosen as the site for last Saturday's do, and DJ talent included some of the biggest names in Chicago house: Mark Farina, Derrick Carter, J-Dub and Sneak himself.
It's been a while since Toronto has seen a house event this big, and every scenester in town came out to support it. It was a very long night that didn't wrap up until dawn the next day
Mark Farina's set before Sneak's was dirtier and tougher than usual. And the funky, raw beats he pushed set the tone -- this wasn't a soft and deep house occasion, but a pumping, jacking kind of night.
As Sneak started playing, the stage filled up with friends and random partiers. Surprisingly, security seemed unconcerned about the large crowd onstage. And luckily, all the dancing didn't make the turntables jump.
His set was trademark Sneak: stripped-down disco loop house, ranging from techy, hypnotic minimal tracks to more melodic but still tough filter funk.
Derrick Carter, in top form, closed the night. Playing older Carter anthems to please the crowd as well as newer, weirder tracks, he reminded everybody why he's such a well-loved guest in Toronto. Using hiphop a cappellas over top of some of his mixes, he revived the concept of hip house and made it work in a new way.
light fright night
Sneak showed a different side Thursday at a lower-key Halloween party, the Black Masquerade at Habitat.
After warm-up sets of deep jazzy house mixed with some Chicago-style bump 'n' funk by residents Christian Newhook and Teeloo's Kitchen, Sneak opened his set with the classic Halloween party track -- Michael Jackson's Thriller. Mixing out of that with a bootleg remix of the same song, he then continued through an eclectic 80s-inspired set that included, of all things, David Bowie's Let's Dance.
It was a good party, but Sneak fans must have been saving themselves up for the weekend or had gone to house parties instead of the clubs for Halloween.
locals rock roxy blu
While many of Thursday's Halloween parties were less well attended than expected, one that did go off was the annual Roxy Blu do. This year, instead of focusing on a big international headliner, two Toronto legends were chosen to rock the main room.
Carl Allen and Gene King have a lot of years of DJing between them, going all the way back to disco days. This night they played funky house back to back, and the crowd loved it. At times like these you have to wonder why we're so eager to pay top dollar for imported legends when we have such talented and underrated locals to draw from.