Checked out a new Thursday-night weekly at Alto Basso called Voltage . Headed up by DJ Christian Newhook , Voltage gives him a space to delve into the electronic funk side of his collection, dropping Italo-disco, twisted techno, electro and anything else that fits into the mix.
The night's sound is similar to what a lot of indie rock DJs are pushing lately, but mixed by someone who came up through house and techno and whose style is rooted in mixing technique and techno minimalism.
It's a little surprising to hear it at this venue, where the focus is usually on deep soulful house and Afro-Latin flavours. Then again, maybe that will change with the loss of Friday-night residents Dino & Terry .
Expect surprise guests every week and the occasional out-of-town talent to bang the hell out of Alto Basso's basement sound system.
Speaking of which, Newhook might have been a little too excited at the power at his command. When we walked down the stairs it was so loud that we had to go up to the patio. An hour later, the music came to a sudden halt when something gave out.
No worries, though. Newhook just moved upstairs and continued on the first floor's more modest system.
This summer, Kensington Market has been the site of a weekly Sunday-afternoon street party where musicians, DJs and artists entertain the large crowds out to enjoy the car-free sights and sounds. Last week was the last of these. It was the anniversary of the blackout, and the focus was on live music. On other auto-less Sundays, though, DJ systems blasted house, reggae, disco and rock all over the Market.
Local businesses have all been hopping because of the impressive crowds, so there's a good case for making this a regular thing. It's amazing to see the impact a car-free zone can have, and music always sounds better outside in the sun.
Cruising at Santa Cruz
Indie kids aren't generally known for their comfort with sexuality, but something about the grade-school silliness of the mailboxes - designed to facilitate anonymous flirting - at Friday's Santa Cruz party at Lee's and the trashy R&B soundtrack seemed to put everyone in the mood. The Covert/Convert dance performance turned into a huge mess. Participants ignored the steps they'd learned and ended up wrapping one another up with tape and rolling around on the stage, all the while wearing masks and strange accessories.
DJs Adam and Dave kept the hiphop and R&B joints bouncing but made little attempt at mixing or any DJ technique.
Not that it really mattered at a party aiming for a sense of overall craziness. Who needs LSD when you've got Santa Cruz to make you feel like you might be losing your mind?