Thu, Mar 29
The last time Tiefschwarz were in town, it was Basti Schwarz who represented the German production team, so it makes sense that his brother Ali would have his turn manning the decks this time for their appearance as part of AD/D 's I Love Music series at the Social .
Originally known as deep house producers, the pair long ago moved away from their soulful roots toward darker electronic sounds, and have made quite a name for themselves with their edgy electro-influenced tracks.
If Ali's DJ set was any indication, they're going even darker, incorporating textures and moods closer to industrial dance. His selections got pretty close to trance at times, even though most of the crowd would probably rather not admit it.
Once you set aside your prejudices, the set worked much better than it sounds on paper. Ali wasn't the strongest mixer, but he wasn't sloppy either. Seems like he wanted the tunes to speak for themselves, and judging from the dance floor, they had lots to say.
Fri, Mar 30
No Holds Barred live up to name
Walked into Sneaky Dee 's just as UK-based hardcore mashup producer Shitmat took the stage wearing what could looked like a cross between a Mexican wrestler's getup and a child's Halloween dinosaur costume. Any idea that the No Holds Barred breakcore party was going to be a night of "normal" dance music pretty much went out the window at that point.
After bellowing a bunch of nonsense, he proceeded to assault the crowd with distorted high-speed gabber beats, cheeky sped-up pop samples and spraying beer. People responded as if it were a weird futuristic punk show, falling all over each other in a strange mix of slam dancing and bouncy rave dances.
As at a traditional punk show, things started breaking, and his set went on to be interrupted several times by laptop crashes that led to onstage wrestling between Shitmat and the promoters, more spraying beer and cheers when the battered computer sprang back to life with a burst of mangled kick drums and noise.
Definitely not for everyone, but hilarious, giddy fun if you were up for it.
Swagger's sounds of the city
Stopped in at the White Orchid for the tail end of Swagger Blaster , a new night dedicated to a cross-section of bass-focused beats, mixing up booty, grime, dubstep, Baltimore club and Miami bass among others. It's a good idea to bring together a bunch of these somewhat marginal urban sounds. This is Toronto, so it makes sense to let the flavours blend instead of trying to recreate another city's vibe.
Sat, Mar 31
Queenshead Is Not Dead
Stopped in at the Queenshead after my gig to check out the new renovation, which has opened up the space and shed some of the pub atmosphere in favour of more dance floor space. Apparently, there's more to be done over the next few weeks; it does look a little sterile right now. However, the changes should make busy nights much more comfortable. Fans of the infamous bump in the middle of the floor may be sad that it's gone, but the rest of us are glad not to be tripping over it any more.