Matthew Benjamin (aka Bushwacka!, left) and Layo Paskin lay down some techy goodness at Footwork Saturday night.
Thu, Sep 11
While Toronto has started to get used to the extended bar hours now allowed during major festivals, late-night booze has less pull with some crowds. When the Drake obtains an extended service permit, the place is usually rammed once other bars close. But during this year's TIFF, the lineups and crowds that you saw during Pride or even NXNE didn't materialize.
Early in the night, a respectable-sized crowd turned out for the live bands (including Put the Rifle Down, which features NOW music writer Jordan Bimm on bass), but once the bands finished and the clock edged closer to 2 am, the basement unexpectedly emptied out and the main-floor lounge was also strangely sparse.
DJ/production duo Nadastrom did their best to wake up the basement room, but there's only so much you can do when it's this dead. In the lounge, NYC hip-hop legend Stretch Armstrong fared a bit better, as bodies eventually started to fill up the room. Instead of banging out underground hip-hop classics, Armstrong went for more of a generic party vibe, dipping into house and new wave, and kept things on the uptempo side - perhaps not what some of the heads were expecting, but effective when you're trying to keep a sleepy crowd at the bar after 2 am on a weeknight.
Down the street at the Social, they had a bit more success bringing in the bodies for Vancouver's Felix Cartal. It felt more like a party, but not the debauchery we expected. On the bright side, if the government ever decides to extend last call for more than just special occasions, we know it won't lead to the collapse of civilization and all-night parties every night of the week. In fact, most bars would likely still end up closing early most nights even if they were allowed to serve late.
Sat, Sep 13
Bumpin' and Bushwackin'
Hadn't checked out the monthly Bump N' Hustle party for a while, so we trudged through the pouring rain to the Rivoli Pool Lounge to find that the well-loved soul shindig is still packing the joint after an incredible 12 years.
Resident DJs Paul E Lopes and Mike Tull have built up such a strong relationship with the crowd, they can cut the volume on almost any track and catch the audience singing along, even when they're playing their own custom re-edits and remixes.
After sweating it out for a while on the dance floor, strolled over to Footwork, where Layo & Bushwacka! were just stepping up to the decks to deliver a tech-house assault on the crowd. They launched a tight set of dance-floor weapons and didn't rely too heavily on the big anthems to accomplish their goals.
It was a bit of a bittersweet occasion, though, as word started spreading that they're soon closing the doors on London nightclub the End, which they've both been closely involved with for its 13 years (they actually met through the club). It's been a truly legendary club, but all good things must come to an end.