Fri, July 6
Drum 'n' bass hasn't been in the spotlight much recently, so we sometimes forget that Toronto once had one of the world's biggest d'n'b scenes.
Lately, though, Loaded 's regular Friday night at Inside , which has been bringing in some impressive UK names to play alongside the regular cast of locals, is jogging our memories.
Originally both Calibre and Marcus Intalex were slated to headline, but the former didn't make it into the country. True veteran and scene innovator Intalex made up for Calibre's absence. His vibe is soulful and forward-thinking, and his sound won't be confused with that sleepy New Age jazz fusion shit that was briefly the late-90s café soundtrack.
It's d'n'b you can sing along to - and the Inside crowd did. Soulful dance music can get schmaltzy if you're trying to be too polite, but Intalex knows how to keep enough nastiness and rawness to avoid that trap.
Despite its location in the middle of the mainstream Entertainment District, the club isn't a bad fit for the party. The pulsing, coloured ceiling panels and pink strobes are an interesting variation on the usual look.
Speaking of which: has anyone else noticed that LED lighting is suddenly everywhere at clubs and parties? It's probably a side effect of the new ravetastic CN Tower, but they're a welcome change from those spinning smart-light things you've seen everywhere for the past decade.
Ended up at an off-the-radar late-night party in a Kensington Market basement where Jeremy Finkelstein (aka drummer of No Dynamics) was doing the laptop DJ thing.
Well, DJing might be overstating the case - he wasn't particularly interested in anything approaching technique. In this kind of setting, though, it wasn't a major problem. Finkelstein would cut the music and yell at the crowd, slamming in the next song whenever he got bored with whatever was playing. It was rowdy and fun, and kinda punk rock.
Yeah, it might've been more punk rock if he hadn't played 90s French disco house and contemporary mainstream hiphop, but even that's up for debate. The crowd was a weird mix of indie rock kids and random late-night partiers, and while non-hipsters expressed amusement at his style, many were also into the house party vibe.
Sat, July 7
Jumped in a cab after my gig (note to Jeff Stober: please let the Drake Lounge have a proper sound system again) to get to Footwork in time for the last half of UK production duo Swayzak 's debut Toronto DJ set. They've made some of this century's more interesting and unique electronic albums, and their live performances have been impressive. This was a chance to see another side of them and figure out their inspirations.
As you might expect, people who make interesting music listen to lots of different kinds of music. While they didn't deliver an indie-rock-style open-format set, Swayzak bounced through a number of very different sounds and eras of dance music. Though their mixing wasn't amazing, it was decent enough. No one on the dance floor had any complaints about the occasional wobbly transition.