pullen pulls 'em in
Got to Element late Friday night to catch Detroit techno heavy hitter Stacey Pullen. There was a huge lineup to get into the basement to hear him. This time of year is usually pretty dead in the dance club world. Even so, and despite the downturn in the market over the past year, this month has seen great attendance at almost every event.
Pullen was obviously enjoying playing for a packed and happy house, and gave it to them hard and fast. Thankfully, he isn't one to play just brutal pounding tracks for no reason, instead filling his set with smart, strangely pretty but hard-as-fuck stompers that drove the crowd nuts.
By closing time at 4 am the floor was still full and sweaty, and Pullen could easily have kept the crowd there till sunrise if he and the club had wanted to. All signs seem to point to a very good new year for techno in Toronto.
Two consecutive nights of Detroit techno icons is pretty rare. Una Mas was rammed on Saturday night for a rare appearance by Carl Craig, and the club wisely extended its normal hours so the party could continue until 5 am. Considering that Craig didn't even make it to the club until 2 am, the extra hour was much appreciated.
The only word for the evening's program is "eclectic": from the live performance by cross-cultural electro jazz band Pantiki Sound System, led by Christian Newhook, and moody live tech-house performed by Todd Sines and Natacha Labelle, to Moonstarr's very well-received dancehall reggae excursions and Craig's mind-blowing DJ set.
Craig moved through chopped-up Brazilian percussion workouts, angular broken beat, hypnotic minimal techno and weird and funky house to some edgy acid techno sounds without losing the dance floor. The dazed but satisfied look on everybody's sweat-soaked face when the lights came up said it all.
Tuesdays are traditionally fairly quiet in the club world, but for mid-week partying there are a couple of good options worth checking out. Footwork Tuesdays at NASA are still going strong. The residents, DJs Fase and Hangman, are well loved for good reason -- they're both good at treading the line between the fun and serious sides of the music.
A new Tuesday-night dub reggae throwdown has quietly started up at Fez Batik, featuring live performances by the Resinators, DJ sets by Chocolate and weekly special guests. For only $5, Maximum Dub is a great way to get your rocksteady fix.