Wed, May 30
The last time we visited Rotten 's weekly Wednesday night do at West , it was a dreary rainy night, and while it was busy enough, everyone kept saying it was much quieter than usual.
This time the weather was nice and the place was full. The crowd is a weird mix of hipsters who wouldn't normally hang out this close to the club district and bartenders and industry types on their night off.
DJ Python Brigade has been making the rounds at various electro-oriented events over the past year or so. There were some decent tunes on offer, but it doesn't seem like the music is the real focus here. Most people come for the party, and they're happy as long as party tunes are playing.
Fri, June 1
Jumped in a cab after my gig to get to Footwork just in time for the last few songs of Claude VonStroke 's set. The up-and-coming producer has had a number of hits in the tech-house and electro-house scenes, striking a pleasing balance between quirky and bumpin'.
According to a few heads in the crowd, his set started out on the weird and edgy side, but by the end he was banging it out just the way the crowd wanted. Judging from the steady rain of condensation from the ceiling, he definitely won them over.
Friday nights at Footwork bring out a different crowd than you tend to see on Saturdays. It's more of a clubby party scene and less about music nerds trainspotting (not that Saturdays are that academic either, but you get the point).
Following VonStroke was Detroit's Anthony Attalla , whose sound is more what this crowd is used to (i.e., big, dirty tech-house). Having said that, the energy seemed to dissipate when VonStroke left the booth, but that's more a credit to VonStroke than a slag against Attalla.
Sat, June 2
New Jersey gospel house icon Kenny Bobien has one of the more recognizable voices in underground dance music and has built a strong relationship with Toronto crowds over the years. In the past, he's sung live over backing tracks, but recently he's combined that with full-on live versions of his hits with local live house band King Sunshine backing him up. That adds a whole other energy that's often lost when singing over CDs.
Arrived at the Reverb just as King Sunshine were starting their own live set that saw the well-oiled big band run through a tight set of disco and funky house. The horn section in particular was cooking and got strong reactions from the crowd when it was their turn for solos.
After a brief intermission, Bobien took the stage and let loose that powerful falsetto. He's great at working the crowd between songs, but sometimes his stage patter feels weirdly like something you might hear at a children's concert.
The solo stuff was good, but the performance improved when King Sunshine returned to the stage to back him up. You'd think mixing one singer over a CD would be simple to pull off, but the band sounded much bigger and better.