Fri, May 16
The heading on the e-?mail invite read, “A spontaneous party is often full of surprises,” which perfectly describes this casually thrown-?together shindig at the Pixel Gallery. Local DJ scene veteran David Cooper just got married the week before, and Toronto expat Adam Marshall was back in town for a visit from Berlin, and these seemed like good excuses to throw a party.
For the event, the gallery cleared out much of the art but left many of the interactive electronic exhibits running – kind of like partying in a hipper and much smaller version of the Science Centre. Great way to promote the space to a crowd that might not normally check out the gallery.
Cooper’s DJ set built slowly out of the classics. Funk and hip-?hop led into electro, from which Tom Kuo moved into techno, setting up Adam Marshall to close the night with some Berlin flavours.
Since the organizers were relying on a special-?event permit to run the bar, they had to wrap things up relatively early, so we popped in next door at the Augusta House for the last hour of Lost Cats. As one of our techno entourage commented, the music at Lost Cats was pretty close to an “Italian wedding DJ,” but that’s kind of the point of the party. It’s all about pop trash played by and for people who should know better. They must be doing something right, since they’re still drawing capacity crowds every month.
Sun, May 18
Danny Tenaglia is a legend in house music, known first and foremost for his marathon DJ sets that often last well into the next day. He’s one of the biggest names in dance music, so there aren’t many venues in town that can handle the crowds and insane hours. His debut appearance at Circa was a real test of the club.
When I got to the main room at around 12:30 am, Tenaglia was already on and the club was packed. As he mixed in his next track, he got on the mic to tell the room he’d just finished the song a couple of weeks ago, an idiosyncratic habit of his that you don’t often see in the world of big-?room club music. Throughout the night he periodically talked to the room, which gives the experience an oddly intimate quality – something like listening to a late-?night radio DJ, but alongside a few thousand people.
He’s not the tightest mixer in the world, and while he works the effects and EQ here and there, for the most part he’s fairly subtle and not a big show-off. His strength is his pacing and his ability to maintain a flow over a long period. Within a night you might hear minimal techno, soulful vocal house and dark tribal, but the transitions are natural and not jarring in the least.
It was a good seven hours later that my feet finally gave out, but at that point hundreds of people were still dancing, and Tenaglia was just shifting gears for the daylight hours.