Checked out the Guvernment Saturday night (January 31) for Erick Morillo 's CD release party and found it mind-boggling that the mega-club manages to draw so many people each week, especially when so many other venues are hurting. Granted, a large segment of the dance music community will never set foot in the Guvernment, thinking the crowd and the music are too mainstream, but how else are you going to fill a club this big?
The production for Morillo's appearance was huge, as expected. He was up on a stage, with video projections around the club showing him DJing and the go-go dancers wiggling.
Looking closely at the mixer set-up, you noticed that he wasn't using any records, only CDs. It's been a slow time coming, but digital is really starting to overtake vinyl in the DJ world, especially at the touring superstar level.
Musically, it doesn't make that much difference, except that a DJ like Morillo is able to loop bits and trigger phrases in real time, allowing him to add more of a live performance element.
He played for about three hours, then had to jump on a plane to play sunrise in Montreal. Lifting heavily from his new mix CD, he kept the mood dark and pumping, getting on the mike to egg on the crowd.
Resident Mark Oliver followed him with a set more rooted in house than I've heard from him in years, and kept the crowd focused on making it to daybreak.
A few months back, the Guvernment started using its front room, Charlie's , for a breaks party on Saturdays. Generally featuring local DJs, Focus attracts good numbers and feels completely different from the rest of the club. The party-within-a-party thing is a bit weird, but you can stay pretty oblivious to the rest of the club if you want.
The Movement party at Roxy Blu has really changed over the past few years. It used to be that the club would still be packed at 3 am, but now that the buzz has died down, Roxy Blu starts clearing out at last call and pulls in a smaller audience of hard-core jazz funk and Latin lovers. The Movement crew seem relieved that the trend followers have moved on, since there's more room for their core audience to move and enjoy the music. Fans who stopped going back when there wasn't any space to dance might want to reconsider making it a monthly destination.
A birthday party brought me to the Gladstone Hotel last Thursday for some good old karaoke. At times, it was disturbingly close to an electroclash gig, complete with indie hipsters dancing to their friends' off-key renditions of 80s hits. Definitely one of the more surreal things to do in Parkdale, and rapidly becoming an institution. Weird but charming.
What's with the 12:30 last call, though?