The Toronto dance music scene is notoriously fickle; countless parties have gone from hot to not in the blink of an eye. So it's reassuring to check in on a mainstay like Bump N' Hustle Saturday night at the Rivoli and find it still going strong 10 years in and counting. Even though August is one of the quietest party months of the year, a packed house of partiers were eager to dance, cheer and sing along.
One reason for its ongoing success is undoubtedly the relationship and chemistry that resident DJs Mike Tull and Paul E. Lopes have built up with their crowd. Partiers scream whether the music is house, hiphop, Latin jazz or roots reggae.
While much of the music Tull and Lopes play each month is drawn from their large libraries of dance-floor classics, it was interesting to see that a lot of it was coming from a laptop, something that would have seemed incredibly out of place at this kind of night only a few years ago. However, if you weren't watching the stage, the only clue would have been the occasional live re-edits, which could just as easily have been tape edits 20 years ago.
French hiphop can be a bit of a mixed bag: when it works, the language and slang add a unique musicality and flavour, but sometimes it comes across as a misguided exercise in cultural appropriation, trying too hard for authenticity and feeling insincere as a result. Thankfully, Paris-based MC Cuizinier (of TTC) and DJ Orgasmic came at the hiphop equation with their own special set of formulas Friday night in the Drake Underground .
Flashing his gold fronts, Cuizinier prowled the stage with confident, laid-back charm, talking to the crowd but mainly just rocking the mic. DJ Orgasmic didn't give him a whole lot of time between songs for stage chatter, but you got the sense that they were more concerned with impressing the audience with their actual skills than with trying to get the mainly anglophone crowd to sing along.
Musically, the beats had a bit of a mash-up feel, with bits of familiar songs chopped up over club-thumping drum programming, but with more of a cheeky and rough feel than the mainstream hiphop equivalent approach.
Local deep house DJ "Dirty" Dale Arsenault celebrated his birthday late Saturday night with a warehouse party at 99 Sudbury featuring himself, Cody and Mike K on the decks.
Arsenault started building a name for himself just as the soulful house market went into a downturn, but through constant gigging and his irrepressible enthusiasm for the music, he's quickly become a local favourite. A good number of heads came out, got sweaty and clapped along. Good times.