Fri, Aug 24
Battle of Arcadia
Legend has it that Teki Latex of Parisian hiphop crew TTC invented the concept of the iPod battle sometime in 2006, and since then highly successful spinoff nights have sprouted up all over the world.
Teams compete for audience cheers (monitored by a decibel meter) using only MP3 players in a limited time. Toronto's version is hosted by Pink Mafia , who took over Arcadia Fitness (known for its pole dancing classes) for the night.
With eight teams competing for cash, booze, DJ gear and assorted swag, the scene got a bit confusing. Successful competitors made sure to round up all their loudest friends in time for their battles.
Ultimately, the belt went to Cease & Desist , who've competed in four of the past five Toronto events but had yet to take home the gold. I'm convinced it was the Tom Jones track that gave them the edge.
Sat, Aug 25
Sassa'le and Aram Scaram 's monthly Dub & Beyond party was homeless this month due to renovations at Andy Poolhall, but on the bright side, that compelled them to put more into the similarly bass-and-echo-obsessed Dub Collective event down the street at Thymeless .
The pair were joined by Nate Wize , Dubmatix and Prince Blanco , presiding over a mountain of gear that they used to throw down an eclectic set inspired by dub reggae but extending through drum 'n' bass and hiphop rhythms.
Doing this kind of party at an actual reggae bar has its advantages, chief among them the chest-rattling bass of its oversized sound system. Dubmatix's live set sounded especially massive, with a live bass player fleshing out laptop-generated beats.
It was interesting to see how Thymeless's built-in crowd of hardcore reggae fanatics reacted to the double-time drum 'n' bass snares clattering in over familiar bass lines and melodies. While it stopped some in their tracks, others just adjusted their footwork a bit and settled into the beat.
Sun, Aug 26
Do club kids grow up?
It seems like an eerie coincidence that Peter Gatien 's drama-plagued entertainment district mega-club, Circa , finally managed to get the go-ahead from the AGCO the same week that James St. James was in town promoting his new book and making his local DJ debut at the Gladstone Hotel .
For those not up on their clubbing lore, Gatien once ran NYC's most notorious clubs, and St. James was one of the more visible club kids who kept his venues in the news.
That era ended when party promoter Michael Alig killed a drug dealer and Gatien's clubs were closed by the IRS. St. James later wrote a book about those wacky days that was turned into the Macaulay Culkin movie Party Monster.
Unfortunately, St. James isn't actually a DJ, and, cult celebrity appeal aside, it's only momentarily entertaining to watch him jump around with his friends and yell into a mic while his favourite songs from his iPod play. A surprising number of people in the crowd dressed up in their best Disco Bloodbath-inspired outfits, though, which made for decent people-watching.