Saturday night at Hush/Underbar , UK breakbeat duo the Stanton Warriors threw down a funky, crowd-pleasing set of rock- and techno-influenced breaks.
Instead of the tag team DJ routine, the Stanton Warriors do something closer to a live set. Along with the usual turntables and CD players, they triggered sounds and tracks from a laptop and had a keyboard hooked up, too. This made things a little more sonically unique, but the added concentration it required from the performers meant they couldn't interact much with crowd, even though fans were only a few inches from their faces.
They dealt well with a couple of technical glitches, and most people barely noticed.
This usually house-focused club generally hosts an older crowd. Nevertheless, this is the busiest I've ever seen the place, so it wouldn't be surprising if the venue brings in more breaks events.
Most nights, half the club is set up as a lounge area with lots of couches and places to chill, but they wisely cleared it out Saturday, making the whole venue into one big dance floor.
Unfortunately, they weren't prepared for the numbers in other aspects. Many complained about the chaos of the coat check and the long lineups for the washrooms as well as the bar.
Supermarket has really started to find its groove. The past couple of months have seen a large number of busy nights, and it's been hosting some quality talent, both local and international. On Friday, a new party, Plasticine , debuted. It was also the record release for the new Iwanai music single, and featured DJs John Kumahara , Stuart Li (aka Basic Soul Unit ) and Jason Ulrich . While all of them played stimulating and eclectic sets ranging from techno to disco, Ulrich's selections stood out.
Most of his gigs take place in lounges where dancing isn't the norm, so it was interesting to see him break out of the mellow and jazzy mode to play for an actual dance floor. He dropped some very deep techno, classic Chicago house, soulful house and a bunch of other material that's not so easily classified.
I was lucky enough to get a test pressing of the new single, and I'm happy to say that the quality of this home-grown label just keeps on getting higher. The A-side is a simple and effective jazzy, piano-driven house number by New Jersey's Stacey Mallory . The B-side has two tracks from Basic Soul Unit, both reminiscent of the moody side of Detroit techno, with a bit of jazz influence. It's an effective combo of sounds - there's something here for a wide range of DJs.
Sign of the times
Word on the street is that infamous party spot Studio 99 will soon go back to its normal function as a film studio. This was a pretty good excuse to stop by Saturday night to hear Morgan Geist , and sure enough, the space was rammed. Arrived just as he took over the decks, and watched with some amusement as much of the crowd tried to adjust to the forgotten weirdo disco he plays these days.
You could tell from many people's reactions that they were expecting straightforward late-night tech house, or at least lots of modern stuff in the style of Geist's work as part of Metro Area, but that's not really what he's about as a DJ any more.
The people who weren't into it weren't looking for "old stuff" (he was playing mainly old obscurities) but for harder, more modern tech-house sounds. I'd guess most were just there because they'd heard there was an after-hours party. The space attracts a lot of random partiers these days (one of the reasons the venue's taking another break from parties soon).
After a while, those who'd shown up for the late-night party left, and the rest started getting into his quirky sound. The last time he was in town he played a similar mix of music, but in a much smaller venue during normal bar hours. Based on what I saw Saturday, that's a better scenario for him.