MC 4th Pyramid (front) and DJ Tasc got the Wrongbar amped Thursday night.
Thu, Aug 7
Celebrating its second instalment at Wrongbar, 151 Proof delivered a slammin' party. Though the audience wasn't as thick as last month, the addition of Montreal's DJ Simahlak was a bonus, as was the three-to-one female/male ratio. When the ladies are as uninhibited as the modern Toronto hipster party girl, a bit of space on the dance floor is actually preferable.
The modern Serato era gives any disc jockey a passport to a dozen different musical universes, and those who can make the smoothest transitions between genres own time and space itself. Simahlak excellently navigated from Jay Dee to Esther Williams to D'Angelo to Sheila E., blending musical styles until differences disintegrated. Still healing from his broken hip, 4th Pyramid took the stage and sat in the huge leather seat, and people enthusiastically followed along. "It's the P-Y-R-A-M-I-D!" was one of the catchy refrains the underrated artist spit from the throne, before being joined by Screwface mayor Theology 3, who ripped a vicious verse. DJ Tasc knows how to kill a show with hardcore hip-hop classics while still keeping the groove moving. When a wicked Slick Rick hit was seamlessly stitched into Tears for Fears' Shout, the most perplexingly blissful mix of distant dimensions was manifested.
Sun, Aug 10
It was the lucky 13th anniversary of Honey Jam at the Mod Club, yet another sweet affair. The passionate metropolitan massive that carries the torch for the next generation of female singers, DJs and dancers from across Canada occupied three-quarters of the venue.
Efficiency is key: with the one-song show format, plus two intermissions to fine-tune things, the less stellar singers stepped aside before you could complain, while the greatest performers exploded instantly, then left you in a state of desire. Like Jessica Kaya, who had everyone's attention delivering the heartfelt For You, and South Africa's KG, wearing gold-sequined jeans, whose searing slow-jam intro automatically made all stand to attention before she rocked a Déjà Vu-like hotstepper in a voice that could make Beyoncé want to practise more. Nicola Moore and the Pussycat Dolls-ish Cookie Couture also impressed. The spontaneous grand finale cipher saw them all gather onstage and featured soaring solo vocal runs, scatting, Erykah Badu covers, freestyle raps, duets and a riveting Natasha Waterman a cappella that proved that somebody's doing something right.
A few of these performers may ascend to stardom, or at least long-term success, but music industry sexism and the breakdown of the standard singer/songwriter format make that dream difficult to realize. It'd be a shame if another Nelly Furtado-like phenomenon never emerged in Canada. Honey Jam proved once again that the talent is here, ready to deliver.