Mod works for Humphries
While the Mod Club is a fairly decent place to see a live band, and dance music promoters have made good use of the fancy lighting and projection system for electro-oriented events, it wasn't with a lot of confidence that I approached the Friday-night appearance of soulful house legend Tony Humphries . I worried that the glitz and shininess would feel weird next to his warm, organic sounds.
Thankfully, the lighting guy did a pretty good job of interpreting the vibe, keeping it low-key and tasteful and almost as dark as a warehouse party.
The role that Chicago, NYC and Detroit played in the evolution of underground dance music is well known, but New Jersey's importance is often overlooked. In many ways, the soulful gospel-influenced style that Humphries rocked during his long residency at Club Zanzibar is closer to what's now known as garage than what Larry Levan played at the Paradise Garage (the source of the term), and many American house producers cite him as a formative influence.
This could have been one of those parties where just a handful of DJs and their buddies turn out, but the crowd was actually pretty good.
Sometimes it feels like the audience for deep and soulful house dried up locally a few years back, but the sporadic events that do happen indicate that the music still brings people out. New faces are coming into it, too.
Promoters and DJs across the entire dance music spectrum have often complained over the past year that there aren't many suitable venues for these types of events. There's a great Toronto party scene, but not nearly enough places to have a great party (unless you want to bob your head to top-40 hits in a cordoned-off VIP section).
While coincidental, the launch of ambient, minimal and IDM weekly Sunday-night Quiet City at the Drake was well timed to fill the gap left when the Ambient Ping ended its seven-year run as a weekly experimental electronic institution. The Ping still exists as a monthly event and a weekly Internet radio broadcast, but for those who still want their weekly fix of drones and bleeps in a social environment, this is the obvious successor.
On Thanksgiving Sunday, resident DJ Wes Ochitwa was joined by DJ Peko , playing a fairly eclectic mix of mellow and weird sounds. Over the past several weeks they featured a variety of live guests as well, but this week it was just turntables and CDs.
Much of usual crowd at the Drake sticks to the upstairs patio for the funk and house, which makes the lounge mix a little more techno-specific than it normally is elsewhere.
Checked out the launch of another low-key techno weekly Thursday night at the Chelsea Room . ÁBeso Jodido! doesn't stick exclusively to techno, though. Alex (G Party) played pop and indie tunes before resident Adam Marshall took over with the four-on-the-floor. There are plans to have guests (including some fairly high-profile names) each week, announced only via their MySpace page and word of mouth. It'll be interesting to see if the quirky format can sustain crowds as decent as opening night's.