After a brief hiatus due to the closing of Club 56 , indie-disco crew Expensive Shit returned to the scene Saturday night with a party at the infamous Comfort Zone . For the first time, they brought in an out-of-town live guest - NYC's Shy Child , a hot synth-rock duo who laid down a tight and sweaty set to rapturous approval from the crowd. While their sound owes a certain debt to punk rock, it also contained elements of prog rock, synth disco and new wave. Considering it was just two guys with no backing tracks, they made a hell of a lot of noise. The Comfort Zone lost its liquor licence some time ago, but that hasn't much affected normal operations at the all-day and all-night underground dance venue. In this case, the club procured a temporary permit, which unfortunately sent many partiers up to the patio after Shy Child finished their set. Apparently, temporary licences come with an early cutoff, while the patio, which has a normal licence through the Silver Dollar , can serve later. That left Captain Easychord and DJ Nunk playing to a very lonely room.
The Expensive Shit crew made a valiant attempt to bring the rock and dance worlds closer together, but by the end of the night, they realized that this particular venue wouldn't work for their purposes. Also problematic was the fact that most of the focus was on the band. They were great, but it turned the event into just another show rather than the full-on dance-party action that made Expensive Shit at Club 56 so much fun.
Friday night at Sunnyside Pavilion , three heavyweights of the deep house scene, Garage 416 , Milk and RNB , teamed up to bring in NYC's Joe Claussell . Their cooperation resulted in a very memorable event, one that even the constant drizzle couldn't ruin. In truth, the light rain was welcome in the hot, humid air, and much of the outdoor venue was tented, keeping those with hard-to-maintain hairstyles happy. For readers unfamiliar with Claussell, he became known for his infamous Sunday afternoon/night party Body & Soul , which he DJed with old-school legends Danny Krivit and François K. That NYC institution ended several years ago, but their open-format approach to deep house has had a huge impact on DJs worldwide. Claussell's deep and dubby Afro-Latin jazz experiments coexisted with minimal techno, rock, disco, garage and anything else the trio felt like playing.
Claussell was on the decks before we arrived and was freaking the EQ crossover from the start. He's not known for ultra-tight mixing; his expertise is in tearing apart his favourite tracks with the faders and EQ, cutting out everything but the vocals for a bar before slamming in the bass and pulsing the levels on every fill and climax. Some DJs look at what he does as the dance music equivalent of a self-indulgent guitar solo, but judging from the reaction of the crowd, many dancers dig his knob-twisting.
The party benefited from a good turnout, great music and a beautiful location. Unhappily, at around 3 am we learned why it's so difficult to throw an outdoor event in Toronto when the police shut down the joint because of noise complaints. It was a bit surprising, since the music wasn't particularly loud outside the venue and a highway separates it from civilization. But bass can travel long distances, and the residents of this neighbourhood aren't as used to the distant thump as those in the club district.