Bobien goes back
For the past few years, Solid Garage has been bringing in New Jersey gospel house vocalist Kenny Bobien once a year to bless the crowd with his sweet falsetto.
As in previous years, Saturday's gig at Funhaus also featured local live house ensemble King Sunshine warming up the crowd and backing Bobien during the latter part of his set.
Funhaus is a bit of a weird venue for this kind of gig. Its goth roots don't quite gel with the soulful house aesthetic, but at least the sound system is decent.
Bobien sang few new songs, but his back catalogue contains so many vocal house anthems that he doesn't need to drop much new material to fill a set. Those of us who've heard him a few times would have enjoyed more previews of the new album, but the temptation to fill the set with hits must be strong.
Too bad he went on so late (not until almost 2 am). Many people were visibly getting tired by the time he made it halfway through his set.
Friday night, Mono brought Detroit techno DJ/producer Stacey Pullen into Surface for a night of Motor City beats.
Ben Murko 's decent set of quirky tech house and 80s revivalism warmed up the back room, but it wasn't the sound the crowd was there for.
In the front room, Derrick Ramirez was spinning a more Detroit-inspired sound, somewhere between house and techno, but maybe not upbeat enough to get the crowd excited.
They were all there for Pullen anyway, which was obvious once he stepped up to the decks. He didn't play as hard as he did last time at Element, staying closer to the house side of the tech-house dichotomy. Though not mind-blowing, it was a lot of fun, and he kept the dance floor moving.
The beefed up sound in the backroom was almost too much - tons of bass and volume.
System reno needs work
Checked out Roger Sanchez at System Soundbar late Friday. Friday nights here are usually centred around the sounds of progressive house, and Sanchez is more known for big-room house, but at this point those sounds aren't that far apart.
The club was full, but the new layout helped it not feel too claustrophobic. While the sound has greatly improved from its pre-renovations era, Sanchez started to hit its limits as the night went on.
The crowd loved what he was doing, but it seemed too pop, too over-the-top and too close to trance. The smiling Sanchez was having a great time, pumping his fist and dancing .
Overall, the renovations at System are pretty impressive, but a few flaws still need working out. For one thing, in the newly constructed front room there's significant sound bleed from the main room, which means that in many places out front a DJ sounds like an incompetent trying to mix no matter how smooth the person behind the decks actually is.
And the bathrooms that people were always complaining about don't seem to have been upgraded.