Soul strippedA slated gig by New York-based live house trio Tortured Soul drew me to the Therapy party at the Mockingbird Friday. It was amazing to hear how big a three-piece can sound; at first I thought i was still listening to the DJ.
The engineering may not have been perfect (Christian Ulrich's vocals were buried for most of the set), but they rocked the house nevertheless. The minimalism of Tortured Soul's instrumentation helps them, since it gets closer to the stripped-down sound of electronic house music and prevents them from sounding too much like generic funk. Don't miss them next time. This is definitely one of the best live house bands playing these days.
King rulesAlso on Friday night, local live house heroes King Sunshine celebrated their CD release at the Reverb. While it was unfortunate that it was the same night as Tortured Soul, they still managed to pack the club, which says good things about the health of the deep scene in Toronto right now. As always, King Sunshine were very tight and well appreciated. The current lineup has gelled, and they have good onstage chemistry.
Immediately after their encore, Jason Palma stepped up to the turntables and proceeded to remind everyone why he's such a beloved local DJ. Smoothly bouncing between very jazz-inspired tracks to more techno-influenced and house material, Palma has developed a pretty unique style out of his eclectic tastes.
Solid goldIn the days leading up to Friday, scenesters were saying there were too many events that night catering to the same crowd. Given the unpredictable nature of recent deep house parties, this could easily have meant meagre turnouts everywhere, but the three biggest parties all attracted good numbers, including the Solid Garage five-year anniversary at Roxy Blu.Lately, Solid Garage parties have concentrated on the local, which seemed like a bit of a gamble but has been working out for them. They might not be quite as packed as when they have an international headliner, but the dancers are still coming out and the quality of the music is as high, if not higher, than what's delivered by a big-name producer.
Five years in the competitive and fickle world of party promoting deserves congratulations. By sticking to their guns and playing what they believe in, they've slowly built a loyal audience, which is what really makes a party good.
email@example.com By Benjamin Boles