Wed, Jun 18
Hump Day Bumped
A few weeks back, the popular Queen West queer dance Hump Day Bump moved from its original home in the karaoke lounge of the Gladstone Hotel to the more spacious (and bass-?heavy) Wrongbar down the street. It had long outgrown the capacity of its original home, but there’s still nostalgia for the old hotel karaoke bar’s kitsch appeal.
At the end of the day, though, having room to dance and a proper DJ booth and club system are more important, and so far it seems the move is working out well. The night’s more about the mixture of genders and sexualities than it is about a venue anyway.
This week, Cozmic Cat and Dalia were running the tunes, playing a little less hip-?hop and funk than usual and banging out more uptempo clubby tunes. There’s still no cover, and even though the venue’s larger, it’s probably a good idea to get there early so you don’t have to w0rry about capacity and lineups.
Thu, Jun 19
Precious Golden Girls
It’s common for music critics to describe every electro act’s sound with references to cheap Casio keyboards, but in reality serious attempts at playing a show on that kind of toy are relatively rare. Even if they have some thrift store synths onstage, most bands depend on a laptop for the actual tones.
Not everyone requires pro gear, though, as local one-?man-band Golden Girls proved at the Drake. Performing exclusively on two cheesy toy keyboards, he ignored the magic of MIDI and laptops in favour of the keyboards’ built-?in drum machines and whatever he could actually play with his hands. As you might expect, his sound is very raw and punky, but also quite catchy.
He’s got good stage presence and an ear for primitive pop hooks but at times treads dangerously close to novelty. The fake British accent and sex-?obsessed lyrics are funny in the short term but will hold him back in the long run.
Fri, Jun 20
The concept for Hip-?Hop Karaoke was born in New York (no surprise there) and has given birth to spin?off parties all over the world, including the well-?loved official Toronto edition run by the folks at Never Forgive Action. Over a year old now, Hip-?Hop Karaoke quickly outgrew its original home at the Boat and now draws capacity crowds to the Gladstone Ballroom.
From the packed room, you’d think superstars were performing onstage. Granted, they do occasionally get some big underground names swinging by, but the hype and vibe are based wholeheartedly on seeing amateurs aping their hip-?hop heroes, often with surprisingly professional results.
As entertaining as it is, it’s odd that this kind of event has a bigger draw and better buzz than many shows by real hip-?hop groups performing originals. Nevertheless, the monthly shindig is still one of the best bets for a fun night out on the town.