Make mine Funky, please
Make It Funky teamed up with Ondafly Saturday night to take over the entire El Mocambo for a celebration of all things funk-related. With three rooms of music, it was easy to end up wandering around a lot, taking in the different vibes.
On the main floor, we arrived as live funk and hiphop band the Quartertones were packing up their gear while Big League Chu threw down a lively, unpretentious set of funky breaks and party tunes. Upstairs Robb G and Jelo had the sweaty crowd throwing their fists in the air and jumping around for their tag-team set of big banging beats, moving between house and breaks.
In the newish second-floor back room, Rollin' Cash churned out some warm friendly downtempo. The small room with a good feel has potential as a venue for intimate DJ events. We returned downstairs to find Rusty Belicek (half of Washington, DC's All Good Funk Alliance) at the decks playing a fun set of mid-tempo breaks, funk and hiphop.
Though he got a decent reaction from the crowd, the screaming and wall of steam that hit you upstairs made it clear that Jelo's and Robb G's showmanship had won over a good chunk of the party.
Hot new after-hours club Sonic appears to have built a strong identity for itself in a very brief time. Saturday's presentation of Spain's Chus & Ceballos already had a full house by 2:30 am - pretty impressive, considering the doors don't open until 1 am and the headliners don't usually go on until 4 am. Resident DJ Sean Miller helmed the mammoth sound system for the first half of the night and in some ways outshone the guests. Some may feel he's too fond of long breakdowns, but such drama and dynamics are important when you're in a big club for hours and hours. Chus & Ceballos successfully set a mood and moved gracefully between rhythms, but there's something appealing about Miller's less linear approach.
Since opening night, the sound's been tweaked into a truly impressive beast. If Boa-Redux raised the bar in Toronto nightclub sound when it occupied this address, then Sonic has pushed it even higher. Likewise, the lighting is dramatic and intense, offering lots of variety during these marathon events.
The place was still packed when the sunrise chased me home, and word is the party went on until noon. I might have to take a disco nap at night and make a morning visit next time.
Diamond Life lives
Checked out the tail end of the Drake Underground 's monthly Diamond Life party after my gig Friday, and found it slower than in the past but still a decent little shindig. Musically it was fairly eclectic - underground disco classics, 90s house and current indie-dance tunes all rubbed shoulders over the last hour of the night.