darge deliversdarge delivers
It initially seemed like a fluke when the Movement party made the leap from obscurity to club-packing phenomenon. Could there really be this much of an audience for rare jazz funk in Toronto? Apparently so, because they're still filling Roxy Blu each month. Last Friday they featured UK rare soul DJ Keb Darge digging deep into his boxes of old 45s to please the crowd. Darge likes to talk into the mike every once in a while to introduce songs, a tactic that is a bit jarring but also makes it feel more intimate, like someone's playing you his favourite records and telling you a bit about them first, as opposed to being a proper MC and DJ. The selections were obscure, but the musicianship was great. The shoddy recording quality of some of the dusty gems was unfortunate, but the fact that a full club wasn't bothered by it and cheered every song was amazing.
palais pumpedpalais pumped
R'N'B productions celebrated five years of parties last Saturday at the Palais Royale with a mostly local lineup of DJs and performers. The historic dance hall was transformed with suspended white fabric, plants and projections to create a warm, romantic vibe. The R'N'B crowd tends to arrive late and hang out later than other deep house parties, and there was also a larger gay presence and a wider age range represented. These factors combined with the large venue and great sound encouraged a full-on party atmosphere. Abacus warmed up the crowd with some deep tribal and Afro house, followed by a well-received live performance of Corduroy Records' first single with Sasha on vocals. She was followed by West Magnetic (Om Records), who upped the energy with some chunky, funky house in his live set. Often, live PA performances at dance events fall a bit flat, but West Magnetic managed to overcome that and get the floor moving. Dino and Terry took the late shift and dropped a pumping mix of gospel-influenced vocals and deep, hard house.
jai shows promisejai shows promise
Montreal club Jai celebrated the official opening of a Toronto location last Thursday. It's a mid-sized club with a focus on luxury -- long fish tanks separate the lounge from the oak dance floor, there are lots of lasers and a powerful sound system. The pre-opening buzz boasted that the sound system would be one of Toronto's best and that the space was acoustically designed with padded walls to optimize the aural experience. Well, the sound was good, but it still needs to be tuned -- a suspicion that was confirmed when DJ-for-the-night Roberto Brito spun his set. Depending on what the musical policy turns out to be like, this could be a club to watch.
good clean fungood clean fun
Stopped by the Mockingbird last Saturday for the Clean Fun party featuring Jason Ulrich. It was fairly ambitious to book a room this size for an event featuring one local DJ, especially one without a radio show or recording career, but it was pretty well attended. Half of the main room was partially walled off with hanging fabric to create a smaller dance floor and a chill-out area. The space was also decorated with lots of balloons and a slide show that looked like Ulrich's childhood photos. He's a capable DJ who handles playing a long set well -- good clean mixing and a good variety of house and disco flavours.