Tue, Jan 1
New Year’s Day Digitalism
AD/D breathed a huge sigh of relief when German electro house duo Digitalism finally walked through the doors of the Social. Inclement weather had delayed their flight.
The club was unexpectedly busy the day after New Year’s Eve. However, conversations revealed that many of the more seasoned partiers hadn’t bothered with the hassles involved in the biggest party night of the year and instead stayed home or hung out with friends.
When Digitalism last came to town they performed live, but this appearance was part of a DJ tour. As DJs, they stuck to what you’d expect – noisy synth riffs, chugging disco drums, rock remixes and lots of 80s-influenced dance-floor aggression.
Considering how late they went on and that it was New Year’s Day, it was impressive that they managed to work the crowd effectively and keep the dance floor packed until the wee hours of the morning.
Thu, Jan 3
For the past few years, the holiday season has brought many of Toronto’s techno expats back to town to visit family – and of course to play a few gigs. Sure enough, Jake Fairley and Jeff Milligan were both in attendance for Sid LeRock’s (aka Pan/Tone) homecoming gig at the Underground Garage.
If you’re unfamiliar with this venue, it’s a trashy hard rock bar that recently moved up a couple of floors from its former basement home after a flood. They kept all the posters, Polaroids, bras and assorted rock debris, so despite the slightly different layout it looks and feels similar.
Kind of a weird spot for a techno party, but then again, Pan/Tone’s Sid LeRock alter ego is supposed to be a “rockno” project. The event didn’t draw a huge turnout, since most people were still nursing their NYE hangovers. The randoms who wandered in looking for their AC/DC fix seemed confused by the banging electronic beats, but most of them stayed anyway.
Sat, Jan 5
Transmat is 21
Derrick May’s seminal Detroit techno label turned 21 recently, so he celebrated with an extended set at Footwork.
Ran into a few long-time fans who hadn’t seen him play for years, all of whom were surprised at his set (some positively, some negatively). However, if you’ve managed to catch a number of May’s sets over the years, you’d be more surprised if he didn’t shake things up a bit.
It wasn’t surprising to hear a few Transmat classics, nor were his disco tangents that unusual (for him at least).
However, he did play more deep house and tribal than usual and went on a few deep dubby ambient excursions when the crowd looked like they needed a break from sweating.
He was less of a show-off on the mixer than he is sometimes, but was smoother and more precise as a result. A good-sized crowd came out, and the changes Footwork has made in the past few months look and sound great.