Thur, Jun 21
Looking at the large crowd outside the Social trying desperately to talk their way in, you wouldn't guess they came to check out two local acts who've released hardly any music.
Both Thunderheist and Crystal Castles have enjoyed a fair amount of Internet hype this year, but the fact that they can bring out so many actual bodies shows how much the music industry is changing.
By the time we managed to get inside, Crystal Castles were on the stage pounding out their spastic electro-pop-punk anthems. The sheer number of people crammed around the stage made it impossible to dance; just remaining standing was enough of a challenge.
Though trapped in the crush of bodies, we still felt their distorted video-game melodies and manic stage presence justified the hype.
Fri, Jun 22
Pride partying at the Drake
It must drive the Drake Hotel 's competition bonkers that the highly successful venue manages to secure extended drinking hours for every major festival. For the average bar, a few extra hours of serving can be a major windfall. The Drake is usually so busy that many would argue it doesn't need the bonus.
From a partier's perspective, it's handy to be able to dance the night away without having to track down an after-hours for later.
On this night of the Drake's Pride Week festivities, a wide selection of local indie dance and electro types were joined by the Juan Maclean .
MSTRKRFT's Al P warmed up the crowd in the basement with a DJ set of classic underground disco, mining the queer anthems of 30 years ago. It took the dance floor a while to warm up to it, but by the end they were shaking it and ready for Maclean.
Al P told me the airline had lost Maclean's records earlier that day and he'd spent the afternoon purchasing digital downloads so he'd have something to play. Chalk up another win for laptop DJing - it may not have been his first choice, but it didn't appear to have any negative effect on his set.
Sat, Jun 23
Good thing the clouds cleared Saturday afternoon, since there were way too many people at the Sunnyside Pavilion to fit into the covered area had it rained.
Milk , B9 Productions and Richard Brooks teamed up to present the first shindig of the year at everyone's favourite walled-in open-air garden, and, as usual, the venue itself had as much pull as the DJs.
Granted, not everything about the spot is perfect, but most people are willing to deal with porta-potties and small inconveniences for the sake of a good night. Few partiers could see the booth, staffed by local DJs, so the attention was more on the music than who was playing, which is a good thing.
Good vibes, good house music and a beautiful night under the stars.
Sun, Jun 24
Is it just my imagination or was Pride insanely busy this year? I felt I spent my whole day in a lineup for something.
Most of the official beer gardens were so busy, you had to wait hours in line in the hot sun, but as we made our way north we stumbled on the lone "unofficial" stage on St. Joseph, sponsored by Mancandy . Far from the official celebrations, it was reasonably easy to get into.
Spent a couple of hours dancing, then wandered down to the Blockorama stage, one of the hotter parties, as usual. Because it wasn't licensed and had no fences and searches, it was also easy to get into.
Made it back to the Mancandy stage to catch Kenny Glasgow take over the decks for a tough, edgy set of electro-influenced tech-house. It was fun, but I felt I might be missing out in a venue so separate from the larger festival.