Fri, Mar 14
Doing It well
Wes Allen and Daniel Vila’s Doing It To Death party at the Boat has traditionally been about greasy 60s R&B, classic soul and funk and garage rock, so it was surprising to hear them do a set of 80s reggae and dancehall midway through the night. Sounds like an odd fit given the theme of the night, but it worked. If you’re going to do a night focused on old music, it can be tough to keep it fresh, and DJing at its best is about making connections between different styles and eras of music.
Fall down go Boom
Directly across the street at Teranga, dancehall reggae boomed out of the second-floor windows. This one was a new party called, appropriately, Boom, hosted and MCed by Alanna Stuart of indie-electro-dancehall duo Bonjay and DJed by Pho (also from Bonjay) and Tom Wrecks.
Despite very little promotion, the bar was still packed and sweaty, with a diverse and colourful crowd. More of a focus on DJ technique than across the street, as well as more modern music.
We got a sneak preview of some new Bonjay songs, in which Stuart mixes more West Indian influences into her vocals. Watch out for these guys – they’ve come up with a very unique synthesis of flavours that feels particularly Toronto. Okay, maybe it feels a bit more Scarborough than downtown, but that’s still Toronto in our books.
Sat, Mar 15
Sick of electro? The D-Money guys are, too, so they started a new party called Gnarly at Sneaky Dee’s to fill the gap. To some, the name suggests late-80s skater culture, which is definitely part of what’s being referenced here. Think metal, punk, angry hiphop and rock (but thankfully not whiny modern alternative rock).
It was fascinating watching resident Dougie Boom apply his quick mixing to these styles. It seemed like their NYC guest, Rok One, was also getting a kick out of looking over his shoulder while he organized his own set. Rok One did a decent job of adapting his party-rocking style to the theme, but Boom was better at reading the crowd and working the mixer.
Parts of the night worked great, but it’s going to take some time for the party to grow into its identity. Some in the crowd might go nuts for an unexpected punk classic, but others desert the dance floor if that song wasn’t part of their youth. Give it a few more months and it’ll be as rowdy as it should be.
Fuk Alien Promises
Promise, Fukhouse and Alieninflux teamed up to throw a good old-fashioned warehouse party in a Parkdale dance studio in honour of St. Patrick’s Day. The two-room space looked great, and it was packed with friendly, cheerful partiers.
Great music in both rooms made it hard to decide where to stay. Kudos for sets of the night go to Brooklyn-based Derek Plaslaiko, who threw down bouncy techno in the main room, and the Junior Boys’s disco-flavoured adventures in the smaller room.
As fun as normal club events can be, there’s something much more special about unconventional spaces like this, a fact that the younger indie-dance scene should take note of.