It's more than a little odd that while most of Toronto's big deep house promoters have more or less retired in the past few years, jojoflores's Montreal-based Therapy team continues to throw successful parties here, proving that there's still a T.O. audience for the music.
Saturday night at the Drake , Therapy brought in Jerome Sydenham , the man behind Ibadan Records, to celebrate the label's 10th anniversary.
I've DJed at the Drake enough to know that it's not the easiest venue to use for an actual dance party, but jojoflores has a knack for converting almost any room to his purposes. In this case, they brought an excessive amount of extra sound into the basement and shut off all the lights, replacing them with candles.
The mood suited Sydenham's dubbed-out Afro-Latin house tracks, but the vibe was a little too sleepy for much of his set. Things picked up toward the end when he dropped his most recent hit, Sandcastles, one of the last tracks to cross over from the deep house scene to the big room arena.
His last half-hour was much more upbeat, with a disco focus and fewer tripped-out percussion jams. Jojoflores, as usual, closed the night, keeping the energy level up with a crowd-pleasing set. Scheduling himself at the end of his nights has worked well for him, as the crowd is primed and ready. Plus, it encourages the notoriously late house heads to show up before last call if they want to hear the guest.
Warwick works it
When A Man Called Warwick parted ways with the Movement crew, it seemed like a potentially foolhardy decision. Would he be able to pull enough of that scene out to his Turning Point parties? Well, judging from the packed house in the back room of the Gladstone Hotel Saturday, it's worked out well. He's defined an esoteric identity for the monthly party, and brings in guests who complement it (this week it was local vinyl junky Prince Budgster , aka Kevin Laverty ). While the rare groove and funk roots are still there, it's more about a tropical funk feeling: Afrobeat, Latin, Brazilian, calypso, ska - basically vintage funk from very hot places. Without much visible promotion and without famous guest DJs or a big street team, the night has acquired a regular following of dancers who come specifically to hear this take on world music.
Underground at Harbourfront
This year's Beats, Breaks & Culture festival at Harbourfront seemed to involve almost everyone in the local scene (including myself). It was bittersweet to see so many different underground communities come together at such a family-oriented space while, at the same time, the underground scene is in the midst of a "what now?" crisis. The most surreal moment came when I was handed a promotional razor on Sunday afternoon while listening to Detroit's Scan 7 pound out some twisted and soulful techno. Usually the goal is to take away the blades at a dance party, not hand them out.
How long before Mariposa gets overtaken by aging trance DJs?