Jellybean Benitez's last scheduled Toronto appearance was cancelled due to a freak snowstorm, so anticipation was high for his makeup gig Sunday, May 18, which was also his local debut. The lovely Lula Lounge was the site of the party, which also celebrated promoter Taboolife's third anniversary.
The first thing you noticed walking through the front doors was the high level of energy on the dance floor. Benitez may have had a long break from DJing during the 90s, but he obviously hasn't lost his touch.
He kept to the deeper side of house, causing some to compare him to Ron Trent, but he definitely has his own style. Lots of DJs attended, including house and techno mixers, and many were very impressed with the Lula Lounge as a venue for dance events.
Don't be surprised to see more DJ events there, depending on management interest, over the next year.
Jarvis beats J-Dub
Up-and-coming house promoters Solma have left their weekly party at Red Square and are now concentrating on a monthly event at Element.Last Saturday they brought in Chicago house DJ J-Dub to rock the sweaty, dark basement. He played well, staying on the funkier side of house for the most part, but I was more into Peace Harvest's (aka Play Record's Peter Jarvis) opening set downstairs. Jarvis seems to be increasingly taken with the dubby, tribal sound of house, which he pulls off at least as well he does the deeper and jazzier side.
Habitat has a new Wednesday-night live music event called Improv, which focuses on the intersection of live improvised music and electronic dance music. Lots of guests are lined up for the next little while, and the resident band is DJ Christian Newhook's smoking Afro-Latin tech-jazz project, Pantiki Sound System.
Habitat actually works surprisingly well as a live venue, although the promoters had to bring in extra sound in order to beef up the small restaurant- style system they usually use.
Once the patio opens, this could end up being the mid-week electro-jazz party of the summer.
Checked out a new weekly Friday night at the Eleventh Hour called Listen. Focusing mainly on deep house, residents gaDJet, Dubl D, Gus Valdez and percussionist Chico Pacheco are joined each week by special local guests. The club has a fairly conservative, upscale feel, but the crowd wasn't too uptight and looked like they were all having a great time on the dance floor. email@example.com