Thu, Oct 18
Justice for all
Circa 's third week of business saw its first major concert, a big test of the venue's versatility. It's a dance club first, but it's actually a pretty good room for a live show. The multi-level layout offers great sightlines, and the sound system is clean enough to work for bands as well as for DJs.
The wall of Marshall stacks behind electronic act Justice and the loved-up mosh pit of a dance floor was pure rock 'n' roll, in a disco-metal kind of way.
Watching the room explode when Justice's giant glowing crucifix lit up was a rush -- not at all the vibe of your typical electronic band. It was all rowdy adolescent energy, and the dance floor turned into a churning sea of bouncing bodies, kind of like a punk show without the implied violence.
Musically, it was exactly what you'd expect. The ecstatic shout-along to We Are Your Friends was one of those moments when you realize just how much dance music has changed. The old guard of club culture who dismissed dance rock as a fad must be kicking themselves.
Fri, Oct 19
Let's get Random
If the Justice show was a test of how Circa functions as a concert venue, then week three of AD/D 's Randomland Fridays was a test of what kind of dance club it will become.
I tried to stay critical, but that detachment quickly went out the window. Mega-clubs like this usually cater to the lowest common denominator to stay busy; these guys are doing the opposite. Putting the queers, freaks, artists and gender-benders at the forefront forces the generic club district crowd to adjust. And it looks like many of them may be more open-minded than we give them credit for.
It's already hard to tell which costumed characters are employed by the club and which are dressing up voluntarily. There are a million things to look at, and getting lost in the complex is actually fun instead of frustrating.
Many scenesters are trying to keep up a cynical front about this venture, but it's more revolutionary to bring this culture and attitude to the masses than to keep it exclusive to just a handful of cool kids in some obscure dive bar. Toronto nightlife is going to be fundamentally changed by this club, even if it does end up failing (which doesn't look likely).
Sat, Oct 20
The Shared Loft was the scene of an off-the-radar event featuring Low B (of Hollertronix fame) alongside a tag-team DJ set by Lil Jaz and k-os . It was unclear who was responsible for this late-night loft party, but Dmoney and Goodfoot both seemed to have something to do with it. Regardless, it filled up quickly, which led a few partiers to give some fairly large bribes to the bouncers to get in. (One friend dropped two $20 "tips" on top of the $20 cover.)
The Lil Jaz/k-os set was mainly underground hiphop of the backpacker variety, which worked pretty well. Low B was doing the eclectic thing, moving through classic dancehall reggae to current hiphop to classic soul to current dance music. It was a fun set, but much of it would have been completely appropriate in a mainstream club.