Neo-cons in clubland
It's been a while since Roxy Blu consistently used both floors for one event, the main reason being that the deep house scene isn't big enough these days to fill them. Last Friday, however, the club used both levels by promoting to the underground hiphop scene as well, booking Kenny Dope Gonzalez for the househeads on the main floor while ?uestlove spun for the hiphop scene in the basement.
Originally, tickets for this and for DJ Jazzy Jeff 's appearance the week before were supposed to be paired, with one ticket good at both events. Unfortunately, Jazzy Jeff was unable to make it, so his night will be rescheduled on a later date.
The last time Gonzalez was in town, he surprised those expecting a straightforward house set by spinning a lot of hiphop and R&B. This time he stuck to four-on-the-floor house. He played CDs all night - the turntables had actually been removed from the booth for the event.
Some might expect that would mean a set full of unreleased promos and new Masters at Work productions by him and MAW partner Louie Vega, but instead Gonzales played what could be described as the greatest hits of house music. Similarly, ?uestlove's hiphop set in the basement also relied primarily on the big anthems of that genre.
Looking across the dance floors in both rooms, you could see that their conservative approach was effective - lots of smiles, dancing and singing along.
Talk to the DJs and scenesters watching from the sidelines, though, and you'd discover that many of them were disappointed to be hearing all the obvious hits of the past 20 years. Some wished that more of the DJs' personalities had come through in their selections, but it could very well be that expecting big-name underground DJs to have obscure tastes isn't realistic. And besides, that definitely wouldn't please most in the crowd.
Do people really go to dance clubs to be educated?
Saturday night, a couple of the OM Festival organizers invited Montreal minimal techno duo Crackhaus to play a live laptop set at Club OV , a venue that's normally a sports bar and usually hosts classic rock cover bands. They transformed the bar using black plastic sheets and various other improvised decorations, and also beefed up the sound system for the night. The event drew a pretty good turnout, but that didn't stop organizers from complaining about losing money.
Crackhaus are known for injecting a bit of lighthearted goofiness into the normally deadly serious minimal techno genre, but for this night their angular mechanical funk was first and foremost, while the subtle humour took a backseat to the groove.
Ended up at a small warehouse party in the east end late Saturday night celebrating the newest release on Andy Roberts 's Mixed Signal music label. This time around the label is featuring the talents of Gene King , a veteran of the DJ scene whose career starts back in the days of disco. The 12-inch is a four-song EP of deep atmospheric house, focusing on rich synthesizer sounds rather than the fake jazz palette that deep house has been mining so heavily for the past decade.
Laid-back but not too snooze-inducing, it's full of sensual and hypnotic grooves.