The vibe at the debut of Jason Palma's, DJ Stuart's and John Sikich's new jazz dance night, Footprints, at the Rivoli last Friday felt like classic Movement, back when that monthly was still hosted by the Rivoli. The good-sized crowd was up for some serious boogie action, and every square inch of the dance floor was full, right up to the bar -- none of the standing around posing that's infected so many other dance parties. The music was top-notch Brazilian jazz, old soul, Afrobeat and anything else heavy on the horns and drums.
After his set, Palma admitted that there was a desire within the Movement collective to return to their rare-groove roots and cut back on the nu-jazz and deep house aspects. Judging from the crowd reaction at this event, their audience should be quite pleased with that direction.
It was obvious that something was wrong at RNB's party last Saturday at Aria's backdoor warehouse space. First of all, neither Rick nor Natalie could be found at the beginning, as the authorities were questioning them about their liquor licence. The upstairs space is unlicensed, apparently, so RNB had obtained a special event permit, and the police, having chosen this month for a major crackdown, were intent on enforcing the clause forbidding the event to make a profit.
The second major mishap involved the new sound system Aria had installed that day. In the rush to set up everything for the party, some wires had been crossed, causing the new high-end system to sound like a malfunctioning clock radio. It wasn't till about 2 am that the owner managed to track down a sound guy to reconfigure it, but some partiers had given up by then and moved on to other events.
Most were willing to wait it out, which says a lot about RNB's relationship with its crowd and Ron Trent's reputation as a DJ. When Trent finally stepped up to the decks, a huge sigh of relief went through the room. He played a passionate, seductive set of deep house, disco and an epic Fela Kuti medley toward the end that tore the roof off.
RNB sends out apologies for all the madness. Now you know why so many events happen in a small number of clubs instead of in unconventional spaces.
Pixilate threw a nice deep techno party at Sugar last Friday to send Kenny Glasgow, Algorithm and Jeremy P. Caulfield on their European tours. The space suited the party perfectly: the decor is minimal and tasteful, and the capacity is just right for this kind of event. Sugar might want to consider doing this kind of night on a regular basis. A good techno night might help it to stand out, as there are already tons of mainstream clubs in the area.
There was another going-away party earlier last week, this one for the PTR crew, who are about to embark on their own European tour. Glide Wednesday at the Gypsy Co-op hosted the send-off, and Moonstarr rose to the occasion with a fun, casual preview of his current live set. Nice to see Torontonians finally dancing to the broken beat sound, although the good-natured hometown crowd would probably have danced to anything that night.