My week in the clubs

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campbell’s coup

Dave Campbell has spun records in almost every Toronto club at some point in his 16-year career, and he’s one of the few DJs respected by both the underground and the mainstream. These days he’s better known for his involvement with hiphop and R&B, but he was once one of the best-loved house DJs in Toronto.

Last Friday, the Solid Garage crew brought him to Roxy Blu for a special set of club classics, and he delivered a crowd-pleasing, uplifting mix of some of the most influential songs in the history of house.

From disco classics like MFSB’s Love Is The Message to groundbreaking house tracks like Mr. Finger’s Can You Feel It, Campbell dropped anthem after anthem for the enthusiastic crowd.

DJs Jason Palma and Paul E. Lopes were seen dancing like maniacs beside the booth all night, cheering for almost every track. Campbell’s mixes were generally uncomplicated but well executed. When he did show off, it was clean and musical, a quality less experienced mixers don’t always achieve.

weird mix

There was something a bit strange about the crowd for Gallery at It Nightclub last Friday, but it wasn’t immediately obvious what was going on.

A couple of hours into the evening the weird vibe was explained when a banner for a paintball company was attached to the balcony. Apparently, the owners of the venue had rented out the bottom floor to a group of war-games buffs but ended up combining the two events.

Unfortunately, while it did make the dance floor look full, the two crowds didn’t mix particularly well. Gallery attracts a lot of cool club girls paintball attracts a lot of guys who don’t seem used to being around women much. Despite guest DJ Nick Holder’s best efforts, the dancers only found their feet sporadically.

Local electro-techno DJ Kenny Glasgow was seen bobbing his head to Holder’s set. Glasgow had been booked to play downstairs but ended up just hanging out after the two parties combined.

Convincing a straight crowd to come to a club on Church is proving harder then the promoters anticipated. Though far from empty last week, it wasn’t close to being full either. It will take a couple of higher-profile events to introduce the venue properly to the larger club scene. Now that the renovations are done, look for some big international guests to come through there soon.

victor and roland

Those who like their house deep and mellow may want to check out Victor and Roland Deschamps’s new Saturday residency at Lincoln. Both focus on deep, soulful house but also include some broken beats and loose, jazzy rhythms in their sets.

The crowd that braved the rain last Saturday definitely looked like they were loving it. Although few in number, they were almost all on their feet by the end of the night. Neither DJ panders to the crowd — expect few big hits and many brand new, undiscovered gems.

benjaminboles@now toronto.com

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