Sat, Feb 17
It's been so long since people took the term "rave" seriously that it's easy to forget some aspects of the original movement never really went away. It just remained below the radar in what's commonly called the free party scene. Although primarily a European phenomenon, this idealist, anarchist subculture has pockets of sympathizers all over the world.
This scene tends to shy away from superstar DJ culture, and very few of its artists enjoy much recognition outside of their communities. One of the few exceptions is UK free techno pioneer Julian Liberator, who headlined the Decontamination party on the second floor of the El Mocambo Saturday night.
Some will point out that this event doesn't really qualify - it wasn't free and was in an actual club. True, but a free party in some park isn't going to pay for a plane ticket, and we're in the middle of a Canadian winter. Granted, the relatively small turnout probably won't pay for the plane ticket either.
Liberator still specializes in banging-hard techno, similar to the kind of stuff that used to pack the raves but updated enough that it doesn't quite sound retro. It's not intelligent dance music and doesn't want to be. It's about pounding, distorted simplicity and not much else. That might sound like a put-down, but it was actually kind of refreshing.
Checked out the Bloody Murder party Saturday night at White Orchid, a new party collaboration between the Dmoney folks and Cream Team's Finest. A decent turnout filled both floors of the bar with an eclectic mix of partiers.
This club, increasingly becoming one of the cool spots for open-format-style dance parties, has a nice rough charm. It's amazing how many people want to swing around on the stripper pole in the basement. By the way, it's much harder than it looks.
Caught most of the DJ set by David Psutka, an unfamiliar name to me, who did a good job getting the dance floor shaking with some upbeat electro house bangers. Dude's got a fair amount of gigs coming up, so he must be doing something right.
Soulutions in the dark
Late Saturday night, ended up at a loft party thrown by the Soulutions crew, featuring the normally more techno-minded Adam Marshall playing house music for a change. Marshall's been known to do the occasional house set here and there, but it's still a relatively rare occurrence, so it's always interesting to hear what he has to offer.
Soulutions haven't been as active lately as in years past, so it was nice to see them put on a back-to-basics, small, dark warehouse party. Their attempts at club events never really worked as well. Having said that, the vibe was a bit mellower than past events - either a sign we're all getting old or that Marshall's take on the deep house vibe might've been a bit too restrained.