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Jane's Addiction frontman and founder Perry Farrell played a surprise DJ gig at Fez Batik last Thursday, his second this summer. His technical skills aren't awe-inspiring, but for a beginner he was respectable, adeptly covering his mistakes and playing some pretty decent tracks.
Like many beginners, he was fairly eclectic in his choices, moving through some house, drum 'n' bass and spacey experimental tracks. Unlike most newbies, he manages to make the mix of genres flow in a way that seems natural. The progressive house tracks he got into midway might not be the kind of thing you'd usually hear at Fez, but they weren't bad, and fit into his set of more left-field material much better than you'd expect.
Generally, when rock musicians discover dance music, the result sounds good to rock fans but makes DJs shudder. Farrell still has some distance to go before he commands respect from dance music lovers, but he is definitely on his way. Give him a couple of years and he might become a DJ people would go to hear regardless of his celebrity.
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The good women of 52 Inc returned to promoting with the 6.7 party last Friday at Roxy Blu, featuring an all-local lineup of Nick Holder, Denise Benson, Mike Tull and Boogeymen. Unlike many promoters, 52 Inc aren't genre-specific -- the concept was to give these DJs a chance to stretch the boundaries of what's expected of them. The overall mix was fairly house-centric, but it was nice to hear it broken up with hiphop and funk. The decent turnout proved that Toronto is up for eclecticism and unpredictability.
The surprise of the evening was Boogeymen, an unfamiliar name to many. An original member of the Soundquest crew, he spends most weekends spinning R&B and hiphop in more mainstream clubs. For this party, he dug out all the underground house normally off limits to him elsewhere. Skilled technically, he pulled off some pretty impressive mixes and stayed away from overly familiar tracks. He didn't let a record play long before mixing in the next, but his well-thought-out track selection kept it from sounding too hectic. Hey, promoters -- give this guy a forum outside of the jiggy clubs.
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Finally, Toronto has a regular disco night.
Sunday saw the launch of Boogaloo and a new concept in clubbing at the Guvernment/Kool Haus complex: roller skating. The mammoth Kool Haus (formerly the Warehouse) has always been tough to fill as a dance club. Rock shows have been more successful, but the notoriously bad acoustics have given it a bad rep even as a concert venue. What better way to use it, then, than to turn it into a roller rink. In-line skates are allowed; the vibe is decidedly retro -- 70s television clips on the video screens as well as classic psychedelic projections. DJs Nav and Kola are the residents of Boogaloo in the Orange Room, and for the opening night they brought in DJ Serious, but it was obvious that most people were there for the roller disco action in the Kool Haus. DJ Aristotle is the resident and an ideal choice -- the classic disco, funk, old school and classic house complete the time warp. Good selections and programming, but not a lot of fancy mixing -- it's not needed with this kind of stuff.