Fri, Nov 23
Montreal's Megasoid 's (aka Sixtoo and Wolf Parade's Hadji Bakara ) monthly residency at the Drake Hotel Underground is looking to be one of the hottest regular events at that spot. Creating a sound far from that of their better-known projects, the pair churn out some futuristic glitchy party rap for a rowdy, up-for-it crowd of kids.
What makes them unique is that they're not doing a traditional DJ set. Instead, they remix other people's songs live using a pile of gear, running the whole thing through a modular synth to mangle it some more. The contrast between familiar club bangers and edgy synthetic textures works well on a mixed crowd. The underground heads can get down to it as easily as the more mainstream Drake randoms.
Good messy fun, but next time someone needs to set up a proper after-party in a loft so that Toronto can get the full Megasoid experience.
Sat, Nov 24
Last week's packed and sweaty Roxy Blu reunion at Revival suggested that the soulful house and jazz funk scenes might be able to make a good go of it at this venue. And sure enough, the heads were out in force for NYC icon Joe Claussell .
Claussell, who launched into the underground disco classics much earlier than he has in past appearances, got the crowd fired up quickly with his trademark EQ tweaking and volume surges. The system sounded louder than I've ever heard it, which was both good and bad: good because this music needs that physical quality, but bad because the room is set up more for live bands, which meant the treble and mid-range were shredding our ears before the bass could get to an appropriate chest-kicking level.
Not too long after last call, Claussell moved toward a deeper and more atmospheric sound. But just when you thought he was going to bump it back up, the vibe started dwindling. Turns out a noise complaint forced the club to turn down the system, but no one told Claussell. His attempts to crank it onstage just led to distortion and piercing highs, and it was obvious he was confused and frustrated, which put a damper on the end of his set.
Ended up at an off-the-radar techno jam called Box Of Kittens in a west-end warehouse, featuring Hali , Mike Gibbs , Jamie Kidd and Fabio Palermo . This was their second party, and the concept is interesting: there's no bar (it's BYOB), and the cover charge is mainly to offset the costs, giving it a totally different feel from your usual late-night loft party.
It's already outgrown its current home, which is for the best since the space's skylights and residences nearby meant that the party had to shut down due to noise complaints, a common theme these days in Toronto the quiet. Granted, my perspective on noise might be a bit looser than most after living underneath a dancehall reggae club and directly behind the Reverb.