Wed, Apr 2
Walking into the Groove Armada gig at the Social, it was immediately obvious how nu-rave has gone from being an offhand joke in a Klaxons interview to actually being useful as a genre term. So many tracks from Nasty Nav’s opening slot could have rocked the warehouses 15 years ago – it was all distorted synths, sirens and huge build-ups and drops. Fun stuff, yet you can’t help but notice that so many of the new tracks in this genre are using the same tricks and techniques. The packed crowd ate it up, though, so expect to be hearing tons of this shit for the next year or so.
Groove Armada toned down the noise a bit when they came on, but they’re still way more club-friendly than their early work. They played a lot of their own tracks as well as some house classics and contemporary club bangers. Great crowd response and amazing vibes all around – felt more like a 2,000-person party than a small club on a Wednesday night.
Fri, Apr 4
Checked out the SuckerPunch event at Teranga, which brought quirky indie bands together with a couple of electro DJs.
Particularly impressed by Styrofoam Ones, an up-and-coming trio who’ve got great stage presence and some pretty massive hooks. The crowd was kind of unresponsive, but such is the nature of indie rock in Toronto.
Felt bad for Green Splat, who attempted to play without a drummer but didn’t quite pull it off. Some good moments, but much of it was lost in the shakiness of their trying to compensate for their missing member.
Sat, Apr 5
Walking up to the door at Blak, it was hard to ignore the cops standing outside watching patrons enter, and there were authorities inside as well keeping an eye on things. Word is, a larger number were there on Friday, but at least they’re not being as heavy-handed as they have been with the Comfort Zone, which was raided Sunday morning for the third time in four weeks.
Now, we’re not going to play dumb and say that legal after-hours clubs don’t attract drugs, but let’s keep in mind that if you handcuffed and searched everyone in an upscale banker and lawyer bar, you could also come up with a fair amount of pharmaceuticals. Even if the cops manage to intimidate the legal late-night clubs out of existence, this will just lead to a renewed illegal after-hours scene, which can be a lot of fun but is hardly safer or less disruptive to neighbourhoods.
Thankfully, the police presence didn’t actually scare many people away from the Squares Stay Home party, but the venue continued to have issues throughout the night. They ran out of beer early, the promoter had to buy tonic water at the corner store, water started spraying out of the ceiling and there were disturbing stories about the state of the women’s washroom.
On the musical side, all was good. Dirty 30 played a sizzling live acid-house-influenced set, Jokers of the Scene pumped out the electro bangers, DJ Sega rocked the Philly club (Philadelphia’s take on B-more) and Baltimore’s MC Rye Rye threw down an energetic but too short set of Baltimore club rap. The last two acts are on Diplo’s Mad Decent label, and you should expect to be hearing much more about them soon.