Ended up at a loft party thrown by Leisure and Pixelate in Kensington Market on Valentine's Day. Usual Leisure residents Steve Yanko and Mike Sitchon were joined by Jason Hodges , rounding out the all-local lineup. Even though it was promoted as a late-night event, quite a few people were there at a relatively early hour. Decor was done in the traditional warehouse party style - minimal and very dimly lit. The rental sound system wasn't particularly beefy, but it was good enough to get the dance floor moving. Yanko and Sitchon haven't been throwing as many parties as they used to, so it's good to see they can still draw a crowd.
If you're into intimate deep house parties, it's worth getting on the Leisure e-mail list, which you do on their Web site (www.leisure.fm).
Monolake not missed
A lot of people were disappointed when it was announced that German minimalist pioneer Monolake had cancelled his North American tour for health reasons. Wabi salvaged their five-year anniversary party by getting Montreal micro-house star Akufen to fill in on short notice. It was probably for the best, since Monolake's most recent material isn't really party music. Friday night at Surface , Akufen performed a live laptop set (using the software developed by Monolake, Ableton Live) of his biggest songs as well as some new material. It was surprisingly funky, considering that he's usually associated with the minimal scene, even verging on disco house at times.
As usual, Wabi decorated the club with projections and hanging screens that added an appropriate ambience. The sound system was also beefed up, thus thankfully avoiding the problems Mono had last week at the same venue.
After Akufen's set, Wabi's Task stepped up to the decks and unleashed a driving set of weirdo techno that kept the dance floor going. Moving from dark industrial beats to aggressive tweaked-out tunes, Task proved that Wabi may have been unfairly typecast as a purely experimental party. Let's hope for five more strong years.
Drake a draw
The newly renovated Drake Hotel (on whose creative board I've been invited to sit) had its official opening last weekend. Friday night was open to the public and packed with people trying to get their first glimpse of the venue. In the main floor lounge, Aki was DJing old-school, house, disco and funk, but there wasn't really any room to dance. The room is nice enough, but the sound was distorted and thin, a problem that has to be fixed.
The downstairs live room boasted much better sound. Disco punk upstarts Controller.Controller thumped out their trademark post-punk funk sound and hawked their new CDs. It's a very promising venue for live shows, and could also be a good location for DJ parties.
Sexy performance art in some of the upstairs hotel rooms added extra weirdness to the evening.
It all augurs well for the Drake's future.