Thu, Feb 21
Still itching to dance after the Crystal Castles gig at Wrongbar, we walked down the street to the Social, where Brooklyn-based Cobra Krame$ was the special guest. Not terribly busy when we got there, the place quickly filled with faces glimpsed at the Crystal Castles show.
His sound resembles what all the hipster DJs are playing these days: bits of booty, house, electro and hiphop thrown together with cheeky copyright-flaunting samples. He personalizes that formula with custom remixes and edits that keep it from being too cookie-cutter. His technical skills on the decks are decent, but it’s becoming obvious that this generation of dance music kids don’t really care as long as the music is pumping. Still, as the hipster scene grows and evolves, train-wreck mixes will eventually become taboo again and guys like Cobra Krame$ will be glad they learned how to do it properly.
Fri, Feb 22
Many musicians have tried their hand at DJing, generally with unimpressive results. Recently, however, Hamilton electro-pop heroes the Junior Boys cranked out a mix for the acclaimed German label Get Physical that was actually a well put-together collection of weirdo disco and quirky techno.
The 7th Heaven team seized the opportunity to bring Jeremy Greenspan of the Junior Boys to Wrongbar alongside Morgan Geist (best known as half of Metro Area and for running the highly rated Environ label).
Thanks to studio technology, it’s not tough to put together a mix CD that sounds like you know what you’re doing, but it’s hard to fake it live. Thankfully, Greenspan didn’t need to bluff his way through and turned in a good performance, avoiding the indie-dance electro clichés that are turning that scene into an army of clones.
Greenspan’s set was a perfect lead-in to Geist’s, which built on the contrast between techno and disco by going further in each direction. Neither DJ relied on anthems, cheeky pop references or over-the-top distorted nu-rave thumpers – a welcome change. Kids may turn to the vibe these guys embrace when they get sick of the excesses and aggression of current trends.
Sat, Feb 23
Fool’s Gold, the newish label founded by A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs, is quickly becoming one to watch. The team at APE are well aware of that, so it was a no-brainer to bring two of the label’s lesser-known artists to the Drake Underground: Sammy Bananas and Treasure Fingers.
Playing first, the Brooklyn-based Bananas tried everything to wake up the Drake crowd, with moderate success. While this sound is a global thing right now, it seems local DJs often have a better idea of what works in a Toronto club. His set offered nothing in particular to complain about, but the crowd just didn’t seem to connect with him.
Treasure Fingers fared somewhat better, but few people, even after they were invited, came up to the stage, whereas you can go to an all-local More Proof party at the same venue and not even be able to see who’s DJing behind the mob of people boun-cing around onstage.