Hacker a hit
We got lucky Friday night at Mod Club. The Return To New York party reached capacity early, leaving standstill lineups at both the guest list and normal entrances. After a long debate with the bouncer, we managed to get inside, where the Hacker was laying down some edgy electro-informed house with industrial undertones for an appreciative dance floor.
He treads a fine line between dark, aggressive sounds and funk, which in some ways wouldn't be that out of place in a goth club.
We returned from a break on the patio to hear Montreal's Jordan Dare , who took up the Hacker's brooding vibe and went even darker. While much of the crowd was up for the pummelling, there were also many outside who couldn't deal with the scary industrial acid sounds.
Upstairs in the lounge, Will Munro dropped some classic electro and new wave that unfortunately was drowned out by the sound from the main room. The club ought to install a door on the lounge if it's going to put DJs up there.
One of the most striking things about the Return To New York parties is the diversity of the crowd. On the patio, you overhear College Street jocks bitching about the fags and fashionistas, while at the same time the fags complain about the jocks.
Because of promoter Mario J 's history with legendary after-hours club Industry, the night's attended by lots of veteran partiers, many of whom are still struggling with this shift from house to electro.
Despite these conflicting scenes and typical Toronto kvetching, Return To New York is still drawing significant numbers of people, so the promoters must be onto something.
Over the summer, Footwork has slowly guilt its identity, expanding beyond the tech-house it was initially associated with. Last Saturday, Montreal house hero Fred Everything brought more of a soulful vibe to the club, which the crowd ate up like it was their last meal.
The Saturday before this also featured more-soulful-than-usual sounds courtesy of the newly reunited Layers crew. These events have brought in the other side of the house scene, many for the first time, who were generally impressed with the room's vibe.
The sound system, which has been steadily improving over the summer, now delivers a satisfying thump without the ear-bleeding distorted midrange that assaults you at many venues.
It's nice to see the owners fiddling with the racks of gear as the night goes on, walking back to the dance floor to check on the adjustments. This club is a real labour of love for them.
Move On Up! hits three
Last Saturday saw the third anniversary of DJ Anousheh 's monthly Move On Up! at the Cloak & Dagger , a cozy little pub just east of the main College strip focusing on vintage soul and reggae Anousheh invited her brother, DJ Islamabad , to help out at the turntables. Instead of the underground hiphop he's known for, he dropped classic rock along with old R&B and soul.
It's a nice, no-frills, mellow night, perfect for when you've had enough of the clubs and don't want to deal with the pretentious VIP-oriented lounges that currently dominate the city's nightlife.