The last time I caught West Coast laptop terror Kid 606 , his infatuation with mid-90s hardcore rave left me baffled and unimpressed. But when it was announced that he'd be playing a dance-floor-oriented acid set last Friday, I thought I'd give him another chance.
Unfortunately, it soon became clear when we walked into Mod Club Theatre that we were in for a night of distorted jackhammer beats bathed in electronic noise and cheeky samples of pop songs. This time the DJ looked bored and depressed rather than hyperactive, and much of the crowd seemed equally uninvolved.
The next day, an e-mail from the promoter explained what happened. Flight delays and missed connections meant that Kid 606 arrived without his dual laptops and gear and had to perform on his personal laptop, which contained a bunch of last year's material. Faced with the choice of not playing at all or playing old material, he decided the show must go on.
For a different audience it might not have been a problem (and to be fair, dozens of fans were jumping up and down), but the majority of party people wanted to hear something slower and funkier. After stepping out to the packed patio for a breath of air, I returned to find that Kid 606 had left the stage and almost everybody had left the room.
The moral of the story: carry your important stuff in your carry-on luggage.
That Friday night, we caught a cab to Roxy Blu in time to hear hiphop legend Grandmaster Flash rock the sweaty dance floor to pieces. A true showman, he got the crowd hyped up on the mic, teasing them with the next song and moving seamlessly from funk classics to hiphop anthems. At the end of his set, he stood on the bass bins and took the opportunity to give a speech about the origins of hiphop. Considering how reserved Toronto audiences can be, it was impressive to hear them play along with his call-and-response history lesson.
"When someone asks you when hiphop started, you say... ?" he started by asking.
"1971!" the heads roared back.
"When someone says hiphop started in 87, you say... ?"
"That's bullshit!" they answered.
Pop goes the party
Every other Saturday at cute little west-end bar Lot 16 , DJ Lawrence runs Pop Noir . The night focuses on indie pop, new wave, shoegazer and the edgier side of pop music in general. The space doesn't encourage much dancing, but then again, neither does the music, so it's not really an issue.
It was quite busy last week, which speaks in part to how fashionable the neighourhood has become, but it's also a testament to the slow and steady way Lawrence has built up the night over the past months.