Drugs is fun
Usually parties are organized around musical styles, but Saturday night at the Boat , the Drugs party had a different concept -- any music was allowed as long as the song was about drugs. Providing the hedonistic soundtrack were DJ Fase , Dougie Boom and Shit La Merde , who dropped hiphop, house, rock and electro, among other sounds, to a packed house. The theme could have been arbitrary -- unless you were really paying attention, you probably missed many of the lyrical references. Forcing the selections around a theme does lead the DJs to dive a bit deeper into the crates in order to meet the criteria.
It'd be interesting to see if changing the topic would change the vibe: would songs about money sound different from songs about drugs?
Fine and Dandy
The Junction SM are the Berlin-based techno duo of Dandy Jack (aka Martin Schopf ) and Sonja Moonear , who played at Footwork Saturday night for party promoters AFE Society . At their first Toronto appearance, few knew what to expect, except for the handful of techno fans who'd caught them in Montreal the week before at the Mutek Festival . Our curiosity was rewarded with an original and unique take on the tech-house form -- fun and funky, but also weird and experimental. Schopf plugs his electronic gear into a free channel on Moonear's DJ mixer and combines his improvisations with her DJing, creating something in between a live performance and a traditional DJ set. It wasn't completely flawless, but the occasional minor stumbles allowed us to hear how many layers were being mixed.
Following them was a surprise special guest, Murat , who totally changed the mood and upped the tempo several notches. He had a lot of energy, and his style is fun, but after the Junction SM he sounded cartoon-like in comparison. Still, many in the crowd were definitely feeling it, making their presence known with loud yelling and fists pumping.
Stopped by 99 Sudbury (aka Studio 99) after leaving Footwork late Saturday night to check out DFA records' Shit Robot playing to a half-full warehouse. Apparently much of the crowd showed up early (by late-night standards) for local heroes MSTRKRFT and left shortly after they finished. This seemed a bit odd, but then again, the indie dance scene isn't nearly as oriented toward all-night parties as the house scene. As well, MSTRKRFT seem to have a pretty decent draw these days, while Shit Robot only has one single out and is mainly known through his associations with the DFA crew (not to be confused with the DFA1979 crew).
Musically, Shit Robot's set didn't shy away at all from his rave roots -- he stayed right on that line between irreverent and tacky. Those who are less nostalgic for early-90s rave tunes might argue that he crossed it. Some partiers definitely ate it up, but their reaction was far from unanimous.