Thu, Apr 5
Slightly lazy Craze
DJ Craze cut his teeth playing Miami bass before making a name for himself by winning numerous DMC titles as a turntablist playing hiphop and later delving into the world of drum 'n' bass.
Most recently, though, he's gone back to those Miami bass roots. He's released a mix CD documenting his love for the genre and toured the world to spread the good word of booty and bass.
His Toronto stop saw him tearing it up at Footwork , where those booming 808 kick drums resonated so much that it tickled the hairs inside your nose (this is a good thing, by the way). Despite his reputation as a scratch DJ, there wasn't much technical craziness on display. He'd often get on the mic to introduce the next track rather than execute some fancy mix.
Lazy DJing aside, the crowd seemed quite open to his history lesson of booty bass anthems, though few of them had mastered the double-time ass shake these tunes call for. There were definitely moments of cheese, but that's kind of the point -- a genre focused on songs about ass shouldn't be taken too seriously.
Cutler cuts it up
Stopped in at Crosstown just after last call to find the club packed for an appearance by NYC deep house DJ Jon Cutler . Various aspects of this new venue have been tweaked over the past weeks, and it's starting to come together quite nicely. They're intentionally keeping the vibe pretty raw; there's enough glitz in club land already, and this kind of house music makes more sense in a down-to-earth room.
Cutler's sound was a bit tougher and more aggressive than in past appearances, but he stayed very much on the soulful house spectrum, delivering a good balance between older tracks and brand new techy and jazzy ones. Mixing was decent, though not particularly flamboyant or showy. Often that's exactly what you want -- too much wanking on the mixing board can ruin a decent tune.
One of the nicer things about partying at Crosstown is that you don't get rushed out the door right after last call. The drinkers' departure leaves room for the diehards and music heads to take over the dance floor and work it out until the set reaches its natural conclusion. That's better than being abruptly interrupted by the glaring house lights, as happens in so many other clubs.
Fri, Apr 6
Mixed Bag birthday
The monthly Mixed Bag party at the College Street Bar is generally packed, but for some reason the one-year anniversary was slower than normal, though still busy. It wasn't really a big deal, since the night focuses partly on the mellower end of the breakbeat spectrum, decent music for sitting and drinking, though good for actual dancing, too.
For the birthday edition, Big League Chu managed the decks for much of the night, dropping various flavours of breaks. Every time it looked like the small dance floor was clearing out, he'd find some way to get people back.
Closing the night was Zirca (who's also the organizer), playing some smooth drum 'n' bass sounds, or liquid funk, as the kids call it.