Thurs, Mar 8
Escaped briefly from my gig down the street at the Drake (supporting King Britt , who was great) to check out a bit of Junior Sanchez at the Social . To be honest, his past few appearances haven't grabbed me much, but in a smaller, more intimate room he turned in a more interesting set, getting more eclectic, with less of a big-room vibe than in the past.
Fri, Mar 9
Friday night saw dance music pioneer François K headline the opening night of Crosstown , the new club run by UK transplants Black Market .
Over the decades, François's built a strong reputation as an innovative producer and DJ, easily transcending genres and trends as he moved from disco to techno, hitting most of the other musical stops along the way. True, some know him more for his soulful house side, but even within that frame he's always been eclectic in his programming.
This time around, though, traditional house appeared to be the last thing he was interested in. Instead, he focused on a much more techno-oriented sound, albeit a lush and melodic take on tech.
From that base, he veered off on various tangents over the night, dropping a few drum 'n' tracks at one point to great effect, as well as a couple of dips into soulful vocal territory and a bunch of sounds that would be hard to pin down to any particular genre.
The vibe early on was relatively mellow, but as his set continued, the mood kept picking up, especially after last call, when the drinking crowd moved on, leaving the dance floor to those intent on shaking their asses. He'll always be one of those DJs who'll frustrate those looking for something specific, but if you're willing to trust him, the journey is worth it.
The first glimpse of this new club is promising. While there's nothing wrong with lounges, Toronto has tons of those, and small proper dance clubs are in short supply. If you're looking for a pile of bass bins and a hardwood dance floor, you're sure to be pleased.
Sat, Mar 10
Party promoters Nine and the Vipers collaborated Saturday to bring Seattle-based bumpy house duo Jacob London to town for a live set of quirky beats at a west-end loft space.
The pair bring a fair amount of Chicago flavour to their sound and don't take themselves too seriously (installing a voice-transforming mic in the ass of a stuffed toy monkey, for example). The visual appeal of two guys playing around with a variety of instruments and audio toys makes for an entertaining set by electronic standards.
On the downside, the sound was fairly quiet due to noise complaints early in the evening -- a minor setback, but one that kept the vibe from penetrating much further than the first few rows of dancers.
While less visually interesting than the live set, their subsequent DJ set did a better job at getting people moving. As DJs, they mined the same areas of bouncy Chi-town house and weirdo tech-funk, sounds that don't get heard here that much any more.