Future looks bright
Went to the Silver Dollar Friday night for the newest instalment of the post-punk funk party No . The last one was called No T.O. This one was dubbed No Future and featured local death disco band controller.controller alongside resident DJ Will Munro . Thanks to artists like the Rapture, post-punk has suddenly become interesting to many people who are disenchanted with modern dance music. However, the scenes that are developing around post-punk are still closer to indie rock than house music. Controller.controller's set was bouncy and driving but only inspired the bare minimum of audience members to dance. Once people warmed up, they did start moving to Munro's closing set.
A good-sized crowd eventually materialized, but most didn't come until fairly late. Keep an eye out for next month's instalment. This is a pretty good party to get a sense of what the death disco thing is all about.
Dope not too deep
As half of Masters at Work, Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez is one of the biggest figures in deep soulful house and garage. He hadn't been to Toronto for quite some time, so Saturday night's gig at Fez Batik was greatly anticipated by everybody in the soulful house scene. With a packed room and a considerably beefed-up sound system (it might have even been a bit too loud), it looked like all the elements were in place for a good party. Gonzalez started off his set with some pretty chunky house before quickly getting into a classic house set. Before long, he was dropping the old Chi-Lites disco track that Beyoncé sampled for Crazy In Love and mixing the Beyoncé track into it. He stayed in commercial hiphop mode for a while, dropping Sean Paul and 50 Cent tracks, much to the chagrin of deep house purists.
Anyone familiar with Gonzalez's history as a DJ would have expected hiphop, but most assumed he would choose more underground tracks. As far as house music went, he was only playing classics and fairly obvious ones at that. In fact, his mix of classic house anthems and contemporary hiphop was pretty close to what you hear in commercial clubs throughout the entertainment district.
Nevertheless, the dance floor was rocking and the vibe tight. The fact that one of the biggest names in deep house wasn't interested in playing any new deep house was strange, but maybe it should be a wake-up call for people who've restricted themselves to underground music for too long.
It's hard to imagine why anyone would want to break into the promotion business. Being a promoter is one of the most thankless jobs in dance music. Considering that there's no longer any money to be made organizing underground parties, it's amazing that there are any new promoters these days. Desire Production is one of the newer names - you may remember them from the Boo Williams party a few months back at Red Square. Last Friday, they brought San Francisco's RaSoul to Una Mas for a night of West Coast deep house, but despite heavy postering, didn't manage to pack the place.
Luckily, it wasn't empty either, and those who showed up seemed to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. Who knows where these promoters will be in a year. If they continue, eventually their names will become familiar enough to build a crowd. That can take time, and they need to throw a few off-the-hook events before they can prove themselves to the hard-to-impress soulful house crowd.