It's pretty common on the indie scene for DJs not to be particularly technical-minded when it comes to mixing. A quick cross-fade with little attempt at beat-matching is pretty common with this crowd.
During our interview last week, California scenester Steve Aoki explained that he values a DJ's selections more than anything else and has enjoyed DJs who don't mix, but that he's come to enjoy the technical aspects of the craft and makes more of an attempt to blend and integrate his own selections.
Friday night at Gypsy Co-op , Aoki lived up to that billing and actually displayed more formidable skills than many expected. Selection-wise, he was all over the map -- from hiphop to mash-ups of 50s R&B to rock to electro. He tended to cut to the next idea fairly quickly, giving you just long enough to absorb what it was you were hearing before he was off in another direction.
It was a fun, light-hearted and energetic set, and a decent crowd came out, but the energy was missing on the dance floor. It was almost as if people didn't have enough time to get into a particular feel before he switched it up. Still, it was a good take on what open-format DJing can be.
Robert De La Gauthier has been playing Montreal clubs for what seems like forever, starting in the new wave days and on through the house music revolution. He's also been an active producer, but is best known for his versatile DJ sets.
A regular in the gay club scene, he decided to stay an extra day after his Friday night gig at 5ive to play at a small semi-private party on Saturday with an entirely different kind of mood. Whereas 5ive is a real club, with flashing lights and pounding sound, this event was in a house, in a small pitch-black room.
Throughout his extended set, he not only went through various forms of house from deep to techy, but also dropped some old new wave and synth pop gems along with a few tracks that sounded closest to techno. Not every DJ can go from club to living room with the same crate and still get a reaction, but Gauthier has already seen so many trends come and go that he's never been locked into one way of approaching dance music.
Small Town hit big
JRT have been throwing sporadic hiphop jams around town for a little while, and on Friday night brought Calgary's Small Town DJs into 751 , which was known as Paddy Murphy's just the week before. The crowd they attracted was pretty rowdy and intent on partying but in a good-natured drunk-hiphop-nerd kind of way.
There was good music on both floors, but most impressive were the tunes Fathom was playing just as we were leaving for the next party. Next time we'll plan not to leave just as they're getting going.