Tue, Mar 18
I was surprised not to find a huge lineup outside the Great Hall for the secret Justice DJ gig. Once inside, it became clear why: Toronto partiers will actually come out early for free parties with big-name DJs.
As far as corporate-sponsored marketing events go, this one didn’t feel too much like a branding exercise. The Justice boys looked a little worn out after the previous night’s official gig but still turned in a decent set of party music. Granted, with all the free booze flowing, they could have sung Christmas carols and still managed to entertain this crowd.
Thu, Mar 20
Wasn’t intending to hit the after-party at the Social for German electro duo Digitalism’s gig at the Mod Club, but happened to be strolling by just as they pulled up in a cab and got dragged in by the AD/D crew, who were hosting.
The club was packed, sweaty and going off to the sounds of Montreal’s Thomas Von Party. He continued to pound out the electro club bangers until Digitalism’s Ismail Tüfekçi decided he wanted a turn on the decks. For someone who had just performed live a couple of hours earlier, he didn’t seem tired in the least, and the crowd appreciated the surprise DJ set.
Fri, Mar 21
Monkey see, monkey do
Simian Mobile Disco’s past live appearances here have garnered them much love, so it wasn’t surprising to find a line snaking down the street in front of Circa. This time they were DJing, which isn’t quite as interesting as a full live performance but does allow insights into what influences them.
They turned in a fun set, but it was Junior Sanchez who really took things up another level, going off on weird, unexpected tangents whenever you thought you had a handle on where he was going. Sanchez has more than paid his dues over the years and is really coming into his own as a DJ.
Sun, Mar 23
Wrongbar was the site of the launch of a new party called Dopplehertz, which pitted up-and-coming locals VND/LSM and Sta against international hipster stars Riot in Belgium and Headman. Well, that was the plan, but visa woes meant Headman didn’t make it into the country, which worked out in favour of VND/LSM, who got to play most of the evening.
The duo’s career has blown up over the past year, thanks to their chunky, club-friendly bootleg remixes and productions. That buzz has led to a lot of DJ gigs, and all that practice is starting to pay off. Reaching over and under each other’s hands to work the mixer, they’re DJing like a real team now and actually breaking a sweat for their paycheque.
There weren’t any real problems with Riot in Belgium’s closing set, but there was a definite drop in energy after the VND/LSM boys. To be fair, most people didn’t have a holiday on Monday, so maybe partiers were just distracted by their impending morning meetings.