Spent Saturday night on the tall ship Kajama for the Moonlight Cruise with Chicago's Mark Grant . Grant isn't the biggest name out of that city, but his reputation's spreading as one of the best technical mixers in deep house.
Generally, technique isn't a big deal in deep house because its more melodic and song-oriented tracks are less suited to extended mixes than more minimal forms like techno.
This time out, Grant wasn't showing off so much as trying to cope with a turntable that had a slightly wavering pitch, which made mixing difficult and forced him to rely more on track selection. But that didn't prevent him from spinning a sexy, funky and soulful set, demonstrating once again why he's generating such good buzz in DJ circles.
I'm sure the promoters probably anticipated a bigger crowd, which was full enough to feel like a party but still far from capacity. Those on the dance floor weren't complaining, since they had plenty of room to move and no worries about the boat's rocking knocking them over. The round of free shooters just before 2 am was a nice touch to emphasize the intimate vibe.
The El Mocambo 's second floor was the site of some quality minimal techno Friday, when Wabi presented performances by two producers from Montreal, Les Jardiniers and Champion . Champion performed a particularly interesting laptop set, crossing musical boundaries easily. He started off conservatively enough with some pleasant minimal house, but before long filtered harmonica and blues guitar started bubbling up underneath the beeps and clicks. In addition to rock techno experiments, Champion incorporated elements of electro-pop and house music, treading a happy middle ground between austere experimentalism and forward-thinking party music.
Dimitri doesn't disappoint
Friday night was also the makeup gig for Dimitri From Paris , who's performance the week before was postponed due to the blackout. The event was moved to Revival instead of This Is London and still drew a capacity crowd despite the rescheduling and lack of time for promotion. Unfortunately, Revival isn't the most comfortable place when packed; awkward traffic flow ensures that you'll be constantly jostled no matter where you are.
Dimitri rocked the funky house and underground classics, working the effects and EQ and manipulating the crowd expertly. It's interesting that although Parisian house hasn't been in the news much over the past few years, the sound still gets lots of people excited in Toronto.