Thu, Oct 4
We were only a few feet from the doors for Circa 's VIP opening when suddenly the paid-duty cops circled the entrance and closed the doors, screaming at the crowd, "The club is closed! No one else is getting in! Clear the sidewalk and go home!"
Harsh, but serves us right for not showing up until 11 pm. It was, however, impressive that the guest-list-only opening night attracted hundreds more VIPs than the club could handle. Can anyone think of a Toronto club that's had this much hype behind it?
After a detour around the corner for some drinks, we decided to give up (we'll go back to Circa when it's not so crazy and we can get a better read) and check out Arthur Baker at the Social . The electro-dance pioneer was here as part of the Red Bull Academy , though I'm still not sure what that is.
Like most corporate marketing exercises, it's easier to figure out who's putting up the money than it is to decipher what it's actually going to. Organizers sent out a swanky swag package, but it didn't tell us much about the artists or events. Some of the Red Bull club events have been promoted well by their local collaborators, but other interesting events slipped under the radar unless you were intimately involved.
Got to give them credit for bringing in lots of obscure but talented artists, but maybe next time they'll make sure people actually know about it. As it was, Baker played a pretty good set (especially for someone known more as a producer than as a DJ), but the crowd was much smaller than it should have been for a legend like him.
Fri, Oct 5
Yelle is yet another cheeky electro-rap star who's blown up on MySpace. We're not sure how the hell that career path became a cliché so quickly, or why every dance act from Paris is suddenly hip again, but that's how the beat's dropping these days.
Promoter Tony Anile brought Yelle to the Drake Underground for her first Toronto show, branching out from the Social, where he's been booking most of his events. Since she'd brought a live drummer and her producer, Grand Marnier , with her, it was a good thing they had all that extra space onstage. As a bonus, her sound tech had tuned the system quite well earlier that afternoon and got it sounding much beefier than usual.
Yelle's an entertaining live performer, and many in the crowd did their best to sing along phonetically to her French-fried hiphop. It's playful and more than a bit kitsch -- fun if you're not too serious, but maybe a bit too disposable for its own good.
Sat, Oct 6
Stopped by Footwork to check out the Freestylers , who headlined Activate 's sixth anniversary . Activate mainly focuses on that middle ground between breaks and funky house, and that's pretty much what the Freestylers delivered.
The DJ duo looked like they were having a good time in the booth, and that energy reached the crowd. It was an eclectic set, but all of it somehow related in mood and sound to that aggressive electronic funk they're known for.