Wed, Oct 31
The Social's weekly Hissy Fitness party was packed full of performers for the Trash Halloween Extravaganza, which made it tough to figure out what was actually going on. There was no mistaking when the Flash Boyz were onstage, since their electro-rap sleaze is very in your face. But if you went out for a smoke you could have missed most of headliner Whitey's live set, or mistaken him for just another DJ if you weren't watching the stage.
UK DJ Rory Phillips closed out the night with a wide range of rock to electro, but word started spreading about a loft party at the soon-to-be-demolished warehouse at 48 Abell. The silver lining of condo developments evicting artists is that it's a great excuse for one last party, though we'll likely see a few more before the legendary spot is torn down.
Sat, Nov 3
B-Live branding exercise
On paper it sounds like a good idea: A free warehouse party featuring two of the biggest names on the indie dance scene, Diplo and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. Unfortunately, to pull off something like that, you're going to need some corporate help, which invariably changes the whole nature of the party.
Bacardi's money may have paid the DJ fees, and the booze company put a ton of cash into the party's visuals, but all of that came with a huge emphasis on their brand, as well as the kind of over-organization that seems to turn every corporate event into one long lineup.
The Toronto School of Circus Arts is a huge room, but the organizers must have anticipated that a free party with artists of this calibre would attract way more people than it could accommodate comfortably. If you actually managed to get in, you were greeted by more lineups - a half-hour queue to get drink tickets and another to exchange them for a limited selection of rum-based cocktails, and then a repeat of that for the limited number of washrooms.
Murphy played a set of weirdo disco and outsider techno, which works well in smaller clubs and bars but didn't translate here, where he had to compete with acrobats for the crowd's attention.
Diplo's eclectic urban sound works better for this kind of audience and event, but by the time he took the stage the lack of vibe had sucked the energy out of most present.
Maybe next time charge a cover and cut back on the unnecessary glitz, and put those savings into proper sound and a larger space. And if you're going to force us to drink your product, you could at least give away more of it.
Eager to get some dancing in, we stopped by the Niagara Street Café, where Non Doctor (of the now-defunct Electric Workers crew) was celebrating his birthday. The restaurant cleared out its top floor, transforming it into a cozy loft-style room.
Along with a cast of local DJs, the special guest of the night was Sal Principato, best known for his work with seminal NYC punk-funk band Liquid Liquid, whose track Cavern became the basis for Grandmaster Flash's White Lines. Alongside him, Andrew Allsgood and the Operator were also laying down some obscure underground disco, taking the vibe that James Murphy was trying for earlier, but putting it in the right setting. Great tunes and a warm, welcoming intimate vibe.