Kid Cudi shares his beverage with the thirsty crowd at the Drake, -Saturday (August 2).
Fri, Aug 1
In the Market for reggae
Some events only make sense in the cross-cultural chaos of Kensington Market. Only there would it seem totally normal to stumble into a reggae party thrown by a Japanese sound crew in an African restaurant.
Japan is known to have a pretty intense reggae scene these days, so it's not completely surprising to see that represented in Toronto. But there's still something odd about watching older dreads bobbing their heads to rocksteady classics selected by young Japanese kids like the Astrofari Soundcrew at a bar like Teranga.
Unlike some of the other roots reggae nights in the downtown core, these guys also play more contemporary dancehall riddims, including some beats closer to hip-hop.
There wasn't a huge turnout for the party, but a healthy percentage of people were dancing, which is a good sign for future events.
After deciding that we needed more bass and more bodies, we strolled up the street to Thymeless, which was packed to the rafters for DJ Chocolate and Patrick Roots's monthly throwdown. Technically, Thymeless is a Greek/Jamaican restaurant, but its wall of speakers puts many clubs to shame and does proper justice to the booming bass lines that can reduce lesser systems to a pile of smoking electronics.
The packed dance floor meant the temperature was high. Thankfully, the licensed patio in the back provided relief and a chance to catch your breath before going back in for more.
Sat, Aug 2
It wasn't long ago that Brooklyn-based hipster rapper Kid Cudi blew away the crowd with his short showcase at the Drake Hotel during NXNE, so there was a strong buzz for his full set (again at the Drake) this time around.
Cudi's hipster side took a back seat to the hip-hop side, with the exception of a handful of uptempo clubby tracks toward the end of his set. This was both good and bad. Occasionally, his personal lyrical themes and tripped-out flow got a bit too emo for his own good, but better that than trying to pad out the set with disposable club bangers to capitalize on the success of the slammin' Crookers' remix of his melancholy stoner anthem Day 'N' Nite.
He's got lots of onstage charisma, and for the most part the crowd ate it up. However, he's still got some work to do on his audience participation. "When I say ‘Kid,' you say ‘Cudi!'" is fine once in a set, but you can't repeat that all night. And "When I say ‘Ray,' you say ‘Ban!'" didn't get much more than a chuckle from the crowd the first time, let alone when he tried again later.