Downer's the opposite
The wall of steam that greeted us as we walked up the stairs to Salem's Loft into the Resurface party Saturday night was a good indicator of what we'd find inside. It was incredibly hot and sweaty, but the dance floor of techno fans was going off to the sounds of veteran Toronto party DJ Eric Downer . He tore through a variety of techno and house flavours, from bleepy minimal to vocal house, demonstrating once again how effectively he transgresses boundaries. Downer made his name as a DJ after moving to Toronto in the mid-90s, when he started playing at legendary parties like Trancendance and Alien Visitation. He's always had a good reputation as a DJ but, probably due to his lack of productions, he's remained a bit of a Toronto secret. Those who've been around a while know he rocks out with the best of them, but you couldn't hold it against anyone if he asked, "Downer who?"
Following Downer was Jamie Kidd , an up-and-coming local DJ/producer/musician who was clearly enjoying the opportunity to play to a packed warehouse space. His sound was darker and more techno-based, and also got a great reaction from the crowd even if many of them had never heard him before.
The room itself was done up beautifully, with multiple projections onto hanging screens that divided up the space. It was clear that it's normally a place where people live, and that's part of the charm of this kind of party. It's really just a bunch of friends getting together, and that's what it feels like even if they did have much bigger speakers than at a normal house bash.
It was strange walking into Shack Up at 751 on Thursday to find only a modest turnout for special guest DJs Johnny Jewel (of Glass Candy ) and Adam Miller (of Chromatics ). For one thing, both bands specialize in that weirdo disco-not-disco stuff that usually gets the Shack Up crowd going nuts, and their live show the night before at the Boat had seen a good number of music lovers clearly loving their outsider dance pop. Both acts had put on great shows Wednesday despite rumours that Glass Candy are hardly consistent live. Maybe that was the problem. Everyone who would have been interested checked out the live show and wore themselves out before Thursday. Those who missed it might have been glad, depending on how serious they are about being "underground."
Considering how alien and almost spooky both bands are, Jewel and Miller weren't terribly challenging as DJs. They went from well-known 80s tracks you'd hear at any old-school night to current top-40 hiphop, and mixed all of it like they'd never touched a mixing board before. Sure, it was fun, but as long as you caught the live show you didn't miss much.
Dragonfly spreads its wings
Checked out the newest incarnation of Dragonfly Friday night (not to be confused with the new mega-club in Niagara Falls by the same name). The event, called Play/Display , was an artsy queer party with electro spun by Syntonics , Minus Smile and Sheila , while strange videos involving mannequins and women were projected overhead. It's hard to tell if this is representative of where the bar is going in general, but it seemed a good fit for a first night.