Mellow Mod Club
Arrived at Mod Club Theatre Friday night to see Detroit techno whiz Matthew Dear on the turntables playing some deep glitchy tech-house to a full room. The mood was surprisingly mellow; most people stood around watching, presumably waiting for Swayzak 's live set to start. It's what you'd expect from a rock show, but this was a techno party. I'd figured people would be more excited to hear one of the hottest producers of the moment spinning records.
Dear played more vocal tracks as his set went on, and the mood in the room started to pick up. While many hardcore techno heads appreciate his deeper instrumental side, it's apparent that the more melodic pop aspect of his sound gets a better overall reception. Nowhere near as impressive as his live set earlier this year.
The two core members of Swayzak were joined by an electronic drummer and a vocalist. The vocalist didn't stay long, though, so much of their set was made up of instrumentals instead of the vocal techno songs they're known for. It was decent, but too mellow for a Friday night and too much like a normal rock concert.
Across town at Project , Matthew Dear's label-mates Ryan Elliot and Todd Osborne from the Ghostly imprint were the special guests at the bi-weekly techno party Terra . Arriving just as Elliot was wrapping up his set of crunchy minimal funkiness, I saw many faces from the Swayzak/Dear gig. Osborne stepped up to the decks next and surprised everyone with an anthem-heavy set full of classic house tracks, early techno and some disco and deep house.
Though not particularly groundbreaking, the set sure was a crowd-pleaser. Techno parties often suffer from the overly serious academic vibe, so it's nice to see people yelling and jumping around.
The infamous basement dive at 56 Kensington is back in business, this time under the name Syp Lounge , with new owners who are supposedly more stable than the former tenants. Looks like they're keeping the eclectic indie-disco vibe, bringing the Expensive Shit boys back to their former home Saturday night for a sweaty night of quirky party tunes.
The algae-clogged fish tanks are gone, as are most of the black lights. Unfortunately, so is the ramshackle collection of speakers that used to crank out some seriously heavy bass (when technical problems didn't interfere). The new system might work, but it was being pushed to its limits and didn't offer up any of that satisfying thump. On the bright side, the bathrooms aren't nearly as scary now.
Nice to see Expensive Shit return to their former glory. None of their substitute venues really worked after 56 closed down, but this week the kids were out in full force.