System sound glitch
System Soundbar was decked out Wild West style on Saturday night for an appearance by the UK's Luke Solomon . I'm not sure of the logic behind that aesthetic choice, but at least some effort was put into making the event different. I arrived a bit before 1 am to hear residents Stretch & Hooker , both dressed up in theme-appropriate costumes, pounding the crowd with some jackin" tech-house. They took over the warm-up duties from Dino & Terry a few months back, and while they don't have the same kind of history as those Toronto house legends, they do suit the vibe of the club a bit better.
System Soundbar has also changed the program for the backroom on Saturdays, bringing in local drum "n" bass DJs instead of featuring house back there. Unfortunately, on this particular night the DJs were playing through a system that was shorting out.
When Solomon finally stepped up to the decks in the main room, you could hear the style of music shift subtly. He still played fairly aggressive big-room house, but with a weirder and more twisted take as well as a nod to Chicago funk. In many ways his style is similar to his frequent partner-in-crime, Derrick Carter "s, but Solomon makes fewer disco references and uses more psychedelic sounds.
The crowd moved to his set, but maybe his style wasn't quite the hands-in-the-air kind of thing most on the dance floor were looking for late Saturday night. Then again, maybe they were still recovering from Roger Sanchez and David Morales at the Docks the night before.
Normally a big pool hall, the Mockingbird has been used over the years by many dance promoters for its back-to-basics classic warehouse feel. It'll be shutting down in the new year, so the guys behind the Promise parties thought last Friday would be a good time for them to book the club. The room was decorated with abstract balloon sculptures, disco balls and digital projections. They brought in a substantial sound system and a veteran DJ of the Ottawa scene, Teknobrat . Though the crowd is older, the clothes are different and the music has changed, the Promise parties still capture some of that feeling of a classic rave - a rave for grown-ups.
Teknobrat played upbeat techno and a bit of bangin" house, which the crowd seemed to enjoy despite his somewhat sloppy mixing. Rounding out the lineup were a bunch of locals who covered the ground between dub reggae, electro, house and trance, a much wider variety of music than you"d generally hear in one room on one night.
Cops hit DIY party
Late Saturday night we went searching for a warehouse party called Welcome Ohm in the Bloor and Lansdowne area. In a classic party moment, when we stopped at a convenience store to look at a map book , we ran into a stranger doing the exact same thing. Once we got into the general area of the party, our search turned into a game of "follow the bass" that led to a small garage on a side street.
Doing this kind of event on a residential street isn't the best idea. Sure enough, a couple of hours after we settled in, the boys in blue walked through with flashlights and threatened to confiscate the sound system. Eventually, they left and the DJs started up again at a more reasonable level, but by then most of the crowd had been scared away.
Considering that the event was basically a house-warming party for someone moving into the space, the police response was a bit heavy-handed, but that"s what you get for annoying the neighbours.
Nice to see that the DIY party spirit is still alive, even if it suffers from the same trials and tribulations as in the old days.