Jesse Rose lived up to the hype, even if it took him a while to get there.
Thu, Jul 17
Word on the street was that UK/Berlin-?based DJ-?producer Jesse Rose laid down some serious heat in his previous Toronto appearances, so we were hoping for great things from his gig at the Social. He got things rolling with some driving "fidget house" (a joke genre term that somehow stuck to the sound he and Dubsided label mate Switch are known for), but as the night wore on it felt like he wasn't going anywhere with it.
After a couple hours of hoping he was going to crank it up a notch and live up to the hype, we were ready to give up and head home. But before we could make it to the door, Rose started pulling out the prime cuts we'd been waiting for. Dancehall reggae flavours clashed with techno to great effect, house classics were revived and reworked, and quirky electronic funk kept those present glued to the dance floor.
Clearly Rose is the type of DJ who thrives on playing longer sets and building up to a climax, but leaving his best tracks to the end of the night on a Thursday was pushing his luck. Having said that, those who lasted until the end went home with their quirky dance music needs satisfied.
Fri, Jul 18
Ended up at the Beaver mainly because there was room on the back patio in the early evening to enjoy the sweltering heat. Making our way through the bar, we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a full-?on sweaty dance floor, courtesy of the monthly party The Clap. Mind you, the heat was so intense that after a few songs we needed to get some fresh air again, but the tunes kept us coming back for more.
The usual resident DJs, Alex Wolfson and Colin Bergh, were joined this month by special guest Kevin Hegge, filling in for Vanessa Fischer for this edition. Variations on house music was the name of the game, with a particular emphasis on the dirtier side of the classics. The crowd at these parties is mostly queer and artsy, but not exclusively. Word of warning: the Beaver is small, and these events are popular, so get there early if you don't want to be turned away.
Sun, Jul 20
The Picnic at Fort York this year advertised a dance music tent along with the usual mainstage indie rock action, but it wasn't immediately obvious where it was once you got in. After some snooping around, we noticed the DJ booth set up in a corner inside of what looked like a cellphone showroom. Overall the corporate branding was surprisingly minimal, so it was disappointing to see the DJ talent treated like marketing props.
Instead of isolating the dance tent from the larger festival, the producers elected to pump the signal from the DJs over the main system in between bands, which meant that everyone got to hear hipster dance heroes VND/LSM, Let's Go to War, Junior Boys and Team Canada, but made the whole idea of the tent redundant. Still, it was better than putting the DJs on the stage - anyone remember Kid Koala's records melting as he played at V-?Fest last year?
A better forum for indie dancing was the after-?party at the Social, where Chromeo and Aaron LaCrate threw down some party-?rocking sets. Less rocking was the DJ set by the Cool Kids, who'd be better off sticking to the live show.