Partiers were commenting all weekend that the clubs seemed more packed then usual. Obviously, as the reality of the world situation sinks in, people are wanting to get their minds off of it by partying hard.
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Roxy Blu celebrated its three-year anniversary Thursday with a special party featuring Montreal's Jojo Flores playing an extended house set. This club has had a big effect on the party scene, providing a home to promoters pushing a more historically aware vision of dance music.
This kind of club is an anomaly -- the down-to-earth decor and the emphasis on rootsy dance music are rare in most parts of the scene. In much the same way that Industry set a standard for the slick, after-hours hard house set, Roxy Blu has become an archetype for a different kind of club experience.
Jojo Flores kept the crowd dancing with a good mix of deep house, anthems and even an R&B set in the middle. Considering that he was playing all night, he mixed out of songs quickly -- he plays hits but doesn't leave them on for long, a good compromise between pleasing the dancers and satisfying the DJs and scenesters. He's in Toronto at least once a month, so check him out if you haven't already.
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The posh new club Inside opened its doors Thursday with the Cameo weekly, featuring Jason Palma in the lounge and Matt C in the basement.
This club reeks of money, so dress up if you plan to go. A decent-sized crowd came out for the opening, although most were from the Matt C side of the club scene. It remains to be seen if the two crowds will be willing to mix. They may both be playing house, but their tastes are miles apart -- Matt C being on the harder, clubbier side and Palma doing the disco and garage thing. Wonder how the club will be marketing itself in a couple months -- rumour has it that Montreal's Jai club will be opening a location here in the next month, raising the competition level.
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Caliban Arts Theatre has been presenting a series of events this summer paying tribute to various jazz greats. The Black Underground series, formerly at Revival, has now moved to the Pilot. Last Saturday's tribute to Billie Holiday featured vocalist Divine Earth Essence backed by a crack jazz band interpreting her hits.
Given that so many singers imitate Holiday full-time, it was refreshing to hear Divine Earth Essence keep her own voice and improvise around the well-known melodies. Keep an eye on her. As talented a soul singer as a jazz vocalist, she gigs around Toronto frequently.
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Glow, Dino and Terry's Friday night residency at Aria, has been gathering a loyal following of house heads over the summer. The two brothers don't show off too much with their mixing, preferring to keep things clean and solid. Not many surprises, except when they dropped La La Land, Green Velvet's chemical techno anthem, in the middle of a deep house set. Good to see locals being supported; it's taken a little while for Aria to find its footing in the club scene, but the momentum seems to be there now.