Wed, July 18
Lately, Wednesdays have seemed like the new Saturdays, with a number of hopping events to choose from and some big names hitting Toronto on hump day. This week, Le Tigre's JD Samson was the guest DJ at West's indie electro night, spinning an oddball mix of pop and underground dance-floor fillers from her trusty laptop.
After the set, Samson confessed that she's relatively new to laptop DJing, but she says the switch from spinning plastic discs to jockeying audio files has already opened up new possibilities and techniques. The software definitely allowed her to demonstrate smoother mixing than we've come to expect from rockstars-turned-DJs.
Surprisingly, the crowd didn't look much like Le Tigre fans. There was West's usual smattering of hipsters and indie kids, but most of the club-goers looked more like bartenders and industry types on their night off. That said, many of the glammed-up straight girls seemed quite taken by Samson, and her selections were fun enough that you didn't need to be an indie dance nerd to enjoy the set.
Fri, July 20
Flash in the pan
Wasn't completely sure what to expect from Flashboyz' debut performance at Sneaky Dee's as part of the monthly Fuck Faces party. For the past couple of years, the crew has cornered me at parties to bombard me with freestyle raps over whatever's playing in the background, but that didn't inspire much confidence that their act would ever turn into an actual band.
Thankfully, the Boyz (and one girl) pulled together a pretty entertaining set, complete with costume changes and props, including a wheelchair with a vodka IV. Musically, they play trashy electro rap with queer undertones and lots of attitude. If done wrong, that kind of performance can clear a room, so it was a good sign that the dance floor was packed and fists were pumping.
It was also the launch of the Trevor Coleman Agency. The Flashboyz are his clients; some might remember Coleman as the former booker at the Boat. He's appropriating some other oddball venues now, the most interesting being west-end strip club Baby Dolls (227A Ossington, 416-516-6500), which hosts a number of indie dance parties over the next month. Yes, the dancers will still be working. But just because they're naked doesn't mean you should lose your pants, too.
Sat, July 21
Turning Point on point
A Man Called Warwick's monthly tropical funk jam, Turning Point at the Gladstone Hotel, is one of Toronto's hottest rare funk parties. You'll often see long lineups to get in, and it always attracts a serious crowd of dedicated dancers. This month his guest DJ was General Eclectic, who's also had great success recently with his Footprints party (which celebrates five years Friday at the Gladstone).
Amidst all the harder-edged electro and indie dance nights, it's easy to forget T.O. once had a huge scene for obscure dusty 45s, but going out to a night like this brings it all back. It'd be even more interesting, though, if those scenes crossed over a bit more. Hearing some sax and Hammond organ next to buzzsaw synth leads and chopped-up samples would be a nice change.