Get your kicks
House music prodigy Mr. Kicks broke onto the scene last year when he won the garagehousemusic.com DJ mix-off competition. But he couldn't collect his prize of a gig in a big club because it fell on a school night. Since then he's made several appearances around town and is already making a name for himself as one to watch.
Last Saturday, as the guest for Shifting Gears at Una Mas, he took the crowd on an eclectic trip through many deep house moods. Not being old enough to go to clubs has its advantages -- Mr. Kicks doesn't know which songs are hits, so he just plays what he wants. Stranger moments included Strangelove by Depeche Mode mixed in, as well as a set-ending Yakkity Yak. He still seems a bit cautious about working the system, but his mixing is impressive for a DJ of any age -- he can stretch out his melodically well-thought-out overlays for an impossibly long time.
Check out the boy wonder, as Jason Palma calls him, at Alto Basso this Saturday.
Toronto's long-running Sunday-night house ritual Hard And Soul, at the Living Room, has gone through some changes lately -- a new promoter and a change of residents, as the Poundhouse boys replace Andy Roberts and Dino.
Last week was Poundhouse's two-year anniversary, and they celebrated it with a guest appearance by Ottawa's Trevor Walker. Walker's dubby deep house sound suited the night well, even if he doesn't play as many vocals as this crowd is used to. Mixed up with the spaced-out drum tracks were a few classic house vocals and some Afro-Latin songs, augmented by live drumming by Soulwhat's Chico.
The changes seem to have helped inject new life into the night, once again making Sundays at the Living Room the place to wrap up the weekend. Their upcoming calendar of guests may overshadow some of the Fridays and Saturdays as well -- the next couple of months feature DJs like house music original Marshall Jefferson as well as a reunion of local legends JMK.
Gemma Records hosted its monthly party at NASA last Saturday for a night of broken beat, downtempo, house and jazzy drum 'n' bass. NASA is the most consistent cheap night out in Toronto, good music every night of the week and no cover. If you're heading out on a weekend, though, get there early since it tends to reach capacity; At 10 pm -- before DJ Triplet dropped the needle on his first record -- there were already a good 20 heads in the bar. His casual, jazzy, downtempo set was a perfect warm-up to the evening, although he didn't do much fancy mixing.
shine's sound off
DJ Shine's CD release party last Thursday at Aria was somewhat hampered by the technical gremlins that often plague live sets. Not only did his trumpet player's mike short out, but his singer was missing in action, too, leaving Shine to fill in the gaps with samples.
Supported by Techno Step on keys, Shine remixed his recent album live, bringing the dance-floor elements to the foreground and concentrating less on his experimental tendencies. Unfortunately, the crowd was in stand-and-watch mode, as is often the case with live sets.