My Week in the Clubs

Rating: NNNNN

goldie mine

Hard to believe it’s already been eight years since Goldie’s groundbreaking debut LP, Timeless, dropped, effectively propelling drum ‘n’ bass into the mainstream consciousness.

His label, Metalheadz, has always been on the cutting edge of d ‘n’ b, but Goldie’s own output since Timeless hasn’t measured up to the promise of his early work. He’s still d ‘n’ b’s most widely recognized global ambassador, which makes it all the more unusual that his last two appearances in Toronto were at smaller mid-sized clubs instead of huge mega-parties.

His appearance last Sunday at Red Square was one of these intimate events, but strangely, there wasn’t a huge lineup outside. The dance floor was packed like a can of sardines, but the outer edges of the club were actually a bit sparse and the lounge area was pretty much empty. Chances are, many T-dot junglists assumed it would reach capacity early and made other plans, but you can bet they’re all kicking themselves now.

Goldie played a great set, dropping numerous unreleased dub plates on the eager crowd and giving them a few anthems as well. The newer tracks he was pushing suggest he’s heading for a break from the formulaic minimalist tech-step that has dominated the scene the past few years. Thankfully, the rhythms are getting complicated again and the bass lines are returning to the genre’s reggae roots.

The heads at the front were going crazy over every track, but the rest were a bit restrained and seemed to be withholding judgment on the newer beats.

boo’s booty

RNB’s first party of the year at Sunnyside Pavilion last Sunday was a big success.

The flyers listed only local talent, but Chicago house hero Boo Williams, still in town from his gig on Thursday, made a surprise appearance. With the party starting around 6 pm, Williams had an opportunity to explore the deeper side of his record collection as the sun set and the first partiers trickled in.

New York-based producer/DJ Ron Trent was spotted later on chumming around with Williams, exchanging hugs and laughs as the locals worked the dance floor. Apparently, we should get used to smaller-scale parties at Sunnyside — the much loved open-air venue is too much of a target for noise complaints to throw huge house events any more.

On the bright side, the nearby Palais Royale is shaping up to be an equally charming waterfront party venue for RNB.

flash of light

Last Friday at Roxy Blu, all the DJs were grumbling but all the partiers were going out of their minds.

Grandmaster Flash isn’t really known as a crate digger, so no one should have been surprised that his set was mainly made up of anthems. He must have played every single off Thriller at some point in the night.

What was surprising was his seamless simultaneous MCing and DJing and his incredible knack for crowd control. He’s one of the only performers I’ve ever seen get a Toronto crowd to sing along with barely any prompting. All he had to do was say, ‘”Sing this song for me,” then cut out the music, and the whole crowd immediately sang the appropriate verse without missing a beat.

The most surreal moment of the night was his speech for all the dead rappers, followed by House of Pain’s Jump Around. Miraculously, the Roxy Blu crowd let down their guard enough to jump up for the cheesy 90s relic.


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