Zion Gate goes Boom
We wandered by Thymeless last Saturday and noticed that the windows were completely fogged up thanks to the steaming dance floor.
Walking into the bar, we were hit by a wall of bass courtesy of the Zion Gate crew with special guest Chucky Boom . Roots reggae parties at Thymeless sometimes feel like a strange reality-TV-style social experiment; getting from the front door to the bar you pass clean-cut university kids, older Rastas, a handful of hippies, rough-looking guys from the neighbourhood and some hip indie kids. You keep waiting for some submerged tension to erupt, but everyone seems content to sway to the reggae classics in peace. Good tunes, nice vibe and a banging soundsystem -- what more do you really need?
It was a tough choice Friday night between avant-garde house vocalist Mu at 99 Sudbury or Joe Claussell at Boa-Redux spinning deep house and classics. Claussell won out, so we made our way through the gauntlet of metal detectors and searches to get into Boa.
Those of you who suffered through the madness of its grand re-opening will be happy to hear that the door situation is moving much more smoothly now, although you should still expect a bit of a wait on really busy nights.
Claussell has such a unique way of working the EQ and mixer that, whether you can see the booth or not, you recognize him as soon as he drops his first track. He teases you relentlessly with the bass lines, which makes it seem all the more powerful when he finally lets it drop. Constantly twisting the knobs to isolate phrases, his style of DJing is all about reworking his favourite tracks to show you why he loves them.
The return of Garage 416 brought a lot of house heads out who haven't been around much the past few years, but in many ways this underlines the problems with the deep house and garage scene. The partiers are aging and coming out less regularly, plus there's been a real lack of strong new anthems, which winds up making the DJ sets sound dangerously close to retro.
To be fair, a certain amount of respect for tradition is integral to this side of the house scene, but it needs some new energy to get the next generation involved.
Mixed up Signals
The Mixed Signals label has been pretty active this year, releasing multiple 12-inch singles and hosting parties almost every week. Late Saturday night we stopped by an intimate little jam they threw in what appeared to be someone's house, which is strangely appropriate for house music.
As the dance floor filled up, I walked up to the booth to see what Andy Roberts was playing, and he pointed to the sleeve of his newest Mixed Signals release, Rude Awakening, by Mr. Roberts' Neighbourhood, a dubbed-out pulsing house workout with layers of liquid synth melodies. If it worked that well in a pitch-black living room, it should sound even better in a real club.