Last summer, the monthly jazz-funk throwdown Footprints moved from the back room of the Rivoli to the upstairs pool hall, ostensibly to take advantage of the larger capacity that the growing party needed. Even with the extra room, it still filled up fairly early Saturday night for what was billed as a James Brown tribute night.
In accordance with the theme, Jason Palma, General Eclectic and DJ Stuart played James Brown songs and others that were in some way related to his career, although a few tangents didn't seem to connect. That didn't bother the dance-floor regulars, but if you listened closely you could hear a few disapproving Brown fans who expected an entire evening of JB.
The space isn't normally used for a full-on party, but with a decent rental system and an up-for-it crowd it felt more like an actual club than a pool hall. The vibe in the room made it hard to believe we no longer have a local club devoted to soulful jazz-influenced dance music.
Sure, we have a couple of lounges, but try finding a spot that's actually built around dancing where DJs regularly play records with real horns and drummers.
Over the Hump
Throwing a weekly Wednesday-night queer party in the Gladstone Hotel 's karaoke bar might've seemed a bit of a long shot, but by now Hump Day Bump's become enough of an institution that it's in no danger of going anywhere soon. The crowd is a mix of dykes, art fags, trans-folk, art scenesters and Queen West hipsters, and most weeks it's a sweaty dance party.
A fairly large number of DJs rotate performing, so you might hear anything from hiphop to electro to retro to rock to funk depending on who's rocking the decks. Most people seem to come for the party first and are willing to go along with whatever's being offered as long as it's fun.
It's a rocking night, and doing its part to keep that precarious strip of Queen from Gladstone to Dovercourt on the right side of edgy as the condo boom and the mallification it brings encroach.
In yet another example of an event succeeding in an unlikely venue, the Mixed Signals and Boogie Inc's presentation of deep house icon Kevin Hedge (otherwise known as one-half of Blaze) at the Mod Club Theatre on Friday went off quite well, despite the weirdness of putting a name synonymous with NYC house in a venue devoted to all things Britpop.
Though this kind of DJ looks lost in the middle of a big rock stage and this scene isn't really accustomed to multiple video projectors and dozens of fancy lights flashing all over the place, not every soulful house jam has to be a dark warehouse with a single red bulb and a makeshift DJ booth in the corner.
And while the Mod Club's sound system might not be tuned to provide the exaggerated low end that some are used to, it was nice to hear those vocals and melodies with a bit more clarity and finesse.
Performance-wise, Hedge was on point, turning in a much more technically minded set than you'd expect from a producer/DJ, especially in deep house. Though he played lots of tunes that are big in this scene, his skill at blending them kept it interesting even to those who'd heard them dozens of times before.