Fri, Feb 1
Pimpin’ ain’t easy
Random Land Fridays shook up the format a bit this week at Circa by playing host to Sneaker Pimps, a travelling collection of rare and vintage running shoes. Alongside the shoes, legendary hiphop producer DJ Premier rocked the main room instead of the electro sounds usually favoured on Fridays.
Premier has been known to confuse hiphop crowds by embellishing his DJ sets with an open-format, anything-goes approach. That style would’ve fit in easily with the regular Random Land sound, but this time around he stuck pretty close to underground and classic hiphop. It may have pleased the heads but didn’t exactly tear the roof of the place. His endless chatting on the mic was amusing for the first few minutes but soon wore thin.
Upstairs in the Mirror Ballroom, the vibe was much more electric as Montreal’s Thomas Von Party ripped it up with some aggressive, noisy electro-house. The booty contest in the downstairs Bathroom Bar was silly, tongue-in-cheek fun but would have worked better if the room had an actual stage.
Sat, Feb 2
Back in Blak
Checked out the Swagger Blaster party at Blak, a club last known as the short-lived and much-missed Crosstown. The new owners are bringing a bit of a rave vibe to the joint, which brings up memories of when the spot was the infamous after-hours Bassmint. In what may be a sign of things to come, this club is embracing both the old rave and the nu rave scenes. While this event catered specifically to the indie-dance electro crowd, we spotted quite a few glow sticks and phat pants as well.
Headlining the party was Ottawa’s Drastik, who applies to electro and blog-house the turntablist skills he honed competing in (and winning four times) the Canadian DMC DJ Championship. It’s becoming more and more common for DJs to move from hiphop into this kind of style, but unlike most of those guys, Drastik actually lets some tracks play for more than a minute.
Honourable mention goes to T-Wrecks for his warm-up set. His mixing was clean and well executed, and the creative use of soulful house classics alongside contemporary indie-dance trends was a welcome change from the predictable playlists many DJs are sticking to lately.
Riding the Night Train
Ended the night at a loft party called Night Train, thrown by the Automatt crew. This time around they had some regulars from the West Queen West scene (Le Freak C’est Keek and Team DMT) along with some faces you might recognize from the Toronto deep house scene playing under new aliases (Nall Black and Dynamo). Worth joining their Facebook group to find out about their next under-the-radar party.
Sun, Feb 3
It’s hard to believe that the Beaver is already two years old – it seems like just yesterday that Will Munro and Lyn MacNeil transformed the space from its past life as a café into the edgy queer punk bar it is today. With all the complaints about the Drake-fuelled gentrification of the neighbourhood, it’s comforting to see the Beaver stick to its guns and refuse to cater to the condo crowd.
For their anniversary party, they packed weekly dyke night Bush Party with regulars and friends of the bar. It might seem odd to do this on a Sunday, but if you saw the lineup outside on Saturday night you’d understand why.