Changing the System
After eight years of big-room house every Saturday night, System Soundbar has just changed the format to drum 'n' bass and hiphop with a new night called Loaded .
German company Dynacord , also responsible for the big sound at the Docks and Boa-Redux , is upgrading t t he sound system.
The system hasn't been tuned to the room yet, but already it's much improved. It doesn't feel louder than before (hell, it was too loud anyway), but it does sound much thicker and more even. Especially for drum 'n' bass, the low end is much deeper and more powerful - vital for handling all the sub-bass frequencies.
The night is a combined effort of several local d 'n' b promoters and, judging from the good-sized crowd out for the all-local lineup last Saturday, it's off to a good start. There was a lot of energy in the room, and the MCs had no problem getting everyone's hands in the air.
"It's perfect timing for this kind of weekly night in Toronto," explains Marcus Visionary over the phone. "People turn to d 'n' b as a last resort, thinking it's just for the kids, but the scene has grown up, and they're good drinkers.
"Because there are still all-ages d 'n' b nights, new people are coming into the scene. House, progressive and trance have been hurting because their crowds are getting older and there isn't any way for young kids to get into it."
Friday night at the Hooch , the Layers crew threw a going-away party for two of their team, Alvaro G and Russell Harris , who are both moving to Australia. It was Alvaro G's birthday, so spirits were high and the vibe festive. A good chunk of the crowd ended up at the official after-party as well, thrown with help from the boys from Leisure . The rest of the Layers crew plan to continue the eclectic night as a smaller team, so if you've enjoyed their intimate nights of house, funk, disco and rock you'll still be able to get your fix.
Downstairs from the Layers event in Gypsy Co-op , a groovy live band called Contact churned out jammy impressions of house, drum 'n' bass and downtempo to a full room. The local five-piece have pretty substantial chops and use a hell of a lot of effects pedals to transform themselves from a jam band into something closer to electronic music. Imagine a trippy psychedelic instrumental disco-rock band and you'll be getting close to their sound.
The only drawback is that the lack of vocals encourages a little too much noodling. Even a guest vocalist here and there would help give their sound more focus.
99 reasons to care
Ended up late Saturday night at a tsunami relief event at 99 Sudbury that featured a huge number of local DJs playing short sets, covering a wide range of electronic music. Some of the juxtapositions of sounds were a little awkward, but overall the variety was welcome.
Highlights included Jason Hodges 's and Gryphon 's set, with honourable mention to Jelo for his high-energy presence behind the decks.
Hanging out all night in a pitch-black warehouse doesn't usually feel this wholesome. It's nice to have a good excuse for the hedonism.