Fri, Apr 27
Considering that Friday's gig marked Montreal micro-house kingpin Akufen's first Toronto appearance in three years, it was surprising that Crosstown wasn't packed. Admittedly, his profile has waned some since his genre-defining 2002 album, My Way, but on the strength of that disc's importance alone, more heads should have come out. Another factor behind lower than expected attendance may have been promotion by the Sumkidz crew. They've had a good run of events, but the Om Festival organizers aren't that techno-specific, so it may have slipped under many people's radar.
Despite the relatively small turnout, a good vibe had the dance floor moving for Kitchener-based producer Spooloops's live PA before the main event. Using a table full of samplers, he moved between styles, mainly staying within the techno/house spectrum. It was refreshing to see someone working with actual gear rather than a laptop. Not a mind-blowing set, but it had some nice moments.
Following Spooloops, Akufen took over the decks for a DJ set, and the sound moved toward that spastic but melodic aesthetic for which he's known and loved. Compared to his recorded work, Akufen's DJing was more conventional, vacillating between melodic tech-house and chopped-up micro-house without getting too weird. Not disappointing, but unfortunately, not particularly memorable.
Sat, Apr 28
Everything's all right
Ran across town after my gig to catch the tail end of Montreal-based house hero Fred Everything's set at Footwork. It seemed many of the deep house heads who'd normally be out supporting him were at the larger Mixed Signals/Boogie Inc event over at Gossip. Those who did make it were taking advantage of the extra dance floor space to strut their stuff, and Everything did his best to give them something to shake their asses to.
Musically, it was what we expect from him -- some vocals (but nothing too screamy), some techy tracks (but nothing too pounding) and some smooth funky house. Good mixing and track selection, in keeping with Everything's track record.
Mixed Signals and Boogie Inc split their presentation of NYC's Dennis Ferrer and the Martinez Brothers into two sections; the first at Gossip (a restaurant on the CNE grounds) and an after-party at Crosstown that started at 3 am. When we arrived at Crosstown around 3:30 am, a big crowd was outside; even Mixed Signals main man Andy Roberts was struggling to get past the line into his own party.
Inside, we were greeted by a wall of steam and pounding bass. Some say the deep house scene doesn't support late-night events that don't serve booze after hours, but the capacity crowd dancing their asses off until daybreak at this party suggests otherwise.
Ferrer played some great tunes to the responsive room, but when the Martinez Brothers took over the decks, it was clear why he's been so supportive of the teenaged DJs. They're not flashy in the flamboyant "look at me" style of DJing, but their mixes were much more musical and better thought out than those of many DJs twice their age.