Thurs, Feb 8
Baltimore-bred, NYC-based DJ Aaron LaCrate is a pretty hot name now, mainly because of his efforts to bring the formerly obscure Baltimore club genre to hipsters' attention worldwide.
B-more club is a gritty regional urban sound blending elements of hip-hop and booty with the uptempo energy of house. Thursday night, AD/D brought LaCrate in for a gig at the Social that drew a large crowd eager to hear him spin a headlining slot after numerous recent supporting gigs around town.
As a DJ, he doesn't stick to the B-more sound exclusively, instead using it to connect a variety of tangents, bouncing from cheeky mashups to hiphop to electro to booty to guilty-pleasure pop.
He's definitely skilled at getting a crowd hyped up, using the turntables and mixer to create some odd but effective combinations. On the downside, he's got a seriously short attention span and rarely lets a song play more than a minute before jumping to the next. This approach is good for getting people excited, but it's frustrating when that song you love has already been mixed out by the time you've made your way from the bar to the dance floor.
Still, it's great to hear an eclectic DJ who actually has the skills to pull off adventurous mixes.
Fri, Feb 9
Chi-chi lounge West underwent a makeover recently, moving away from the bottle-service lounge vibe to more of a club feel, at the same time taking on some new nights designed to get fresh people into the bar.
Floorplay Fridays started up a couple of weeks ago, dedicated to deep house, which was what used to bring people to this section of King West before all the upscale lounges opened over the past few years.
Last Friday, Garage 416 teamed up with the night to bring back NYC veteran DJ Danny Krivit for a smaller, more intimate gig than his past local appearances. Despite the relatively small capacity, the situation at the door wasn't too crazy, and it never got as uncomfortably packed as some feared it would. This likely has to do with the apprehension many in this scene feel about an upscale venue chasing their dollar. Let it be known to the skeptics: the sound system is actually pretty decent, as is the new layout.
Krivit played a technically strong set, moving through house, disco and Afro-Latin grooves smoothly and confidently. Despite his best efforts, though, the vibe in the room was more reserved and restrained than you'd expect. Sure, people were dancing, but there wasn't that much energy or excitement in the air.
Sat, Feb 10
For the past eight years, Kenny Glasgow and Teeloo's Kitchen have thrown a joint birthday party every February, and each year their formerly Chicago-based friend DJ Sneak throws down a special set of birthday beats.
This year's edition happened Saturday at Parkdale's Chino , a much tinier bar than you'd normally see Sneak playing.
It was a fun little party crammed full of Industry-era house heads and scenesters. Musically, Sneak stuck mainly to Chicago house - enjoyable on a nostalgia level but not the most exciting thing a decade later.