The basement of Milano was hot and steamy, filled with jungle lovers bouncing up and down at Sunday's CD release party for the new disc by Visionary vs Division One. It's a mixed disc by local d 'n' b producers Marcus Sills (aka Marcus Visionary) and Dave Whalen (aka Nemesis) for the Nice + Smooth label, and features a mixture of aggressive rollers and smooth funky d 'n' b, all produced by them. The disc also has appearances by local MCs L. Natural, Friendlyman, Kid Rasta and MCP, and captures the feeling of a live jungle party.
Milano's weekly Sunday d 'n' b party has developed into one of the city's more consistent Sunday nights, and international headliners still in town from Saturday-night gigs often make surprise appearances.
This week was strictly local, though, not that d 'n' b fans mind hearing another storming set by Marcus Visionary. He's one of North America's most highly rated d 'n' b DJs, who's been around since the scene's earliest days and played a major role in how the music's developed locally.
MC Caddy Cad was the master of ceremonies for the evening and did a good job, taking care to stay off the mike when appropriate and egging on the crowd when needed. If more jungle MCs followed his lead, you might not hear so many people complaining about hyperactive MCs running their mouths off at d 'n' b events.
el mo goes straight
Caught the last couple of hours of the sweaty Building Blocks techno party Friday night. Held at the old El Mocambo, it was the first glimpse of the renovated venue for most of the partiers.
The techno room was upstairs in the dance studio, which is now unrecognizable to those familiar with the venue's former life. The mirrored wall was the cause of some unintended slapstick comedy a few times during the evening when various people accidentally walked into it, thinking the room was bigger than it is.
Caught local tech-house DJ Lee Osbourne's closing set upstairs. He focused on minimal, tribal-influenced tracks but got a bit weirder and more techno-influenced as the night went on.
Downstairs was the chill-out room, in what's now the main El Mo space. Like the upstairs, it bears little resemblance to the gritty rock bar most of us recall. For one thing, there's a lot more open space, and the stage (which was curtained off) is comparatively huge.
Unfortunately, a lot of the soul of the venue is gone, and the overall look is a lot more conservative. You can easily imagine it as a coffee shop now, and it's hard to remember what seeing punk rock bands there was like.
With all the gossip and back-stabbing in the dance music scene, it's easy to forget that a real community exists around this culture.
Saturday night at Jai Bar, we were reminded of the fact by an event celebrating the life of Aivi, a partier who passed away recently.
The event was called Elements Of Life and was free except for a donation box raising funds for her family. A variety of local soulful house DJs donated their time.
What could have been a sombre event turned into a positive jam and attracted a good-sized crowd, especially considering the minimal promotion and lack of big-name DJs.
Caught most of the set by Yogi, who spun an uplifting mix of soulful deep house and disco classics. Yogi will be playing at Jai with the rest of the Groove Institute crew at the next Solid Garage party December 14. They've relocated from Roxy Blu to Jai, partially because of the club's impressive sound system.
Detroit's Theo Parrish touched down Friday at Roxy Blu for the Movement party and proceeded to unleash his brand of dance-floor weirdness.
Though many in the crowd came specifically for him, the regular Movement audience seemed a bit bewildered. On the one hand, the underground disco he plays fits in well with the party's overall vibe. But when he took a left turn into weirdo techno territory, he seemed to lose much of the rare-groove-loving crowd.