Techno turning it up
Swung by the Labyrinth Lounge Saturday to check out Wabi 's presentation of a trio of artists from left-field techno collective Detroit Under-ground .
Derek Michael had just fired up his laptop as we arrived ( Quantazelle had performed earlier), kicking out a glitch take on 2-step breakbeats to a mostly stationary crowd of techno heads. He bounced around behind his gear as if he were playing a big-room party but rarely stuck with a beat long enough to get much dancing going. Though the fast-paced changes were nice, he spent more time fiddling with the ambient breakdown sections than with the actual groove.
Then Kero stepped up to his pile of gear and cranked up the volume a notch. His sound was more rooted in the classic techno stomp, and he had the patience to let the loops play a bit longer. Many still seemed unsure about whether to dance since the grooves were still pretty abstract and angular, but halfway through his set he dropped the tempo down to hiphop speed, which got at least a few asses shaking.
Techno seems to be at a bit of a crossroads. There's renewed interest in making it fun again, and while some retro acid and new wave flavours have been showing up, that's been tempered by a drive to shake up the familiar four-on-the-floor stomp with new variations, and a desire to rock out a bit. The local options for techno events might be a bit slim these days, but the music is on the verge of something exciting.
Friday night, Roxy Blu celebrated its sixth anniversary, packing the place with an all-local lineup of DJs. Over its six years, Roxy Blu has established itself as the Toronto club for deep house and underground classics. When it opened, it felt more like a warehouse than a proper club, but over the years it's been renovated into a warm, casual space.
Friday's party saw the joint busier than it's been for some time, a bittersweet reminder of the numbers the deep and jazzy scene used to pull in. In response to the changing scene, the past few years have seen Roxy Blu host other types of events, such as techno and drum 'n' bass parties, but its core identity is still rooted in the soulful house and rare groove scenes.
Winston Thompson (their Saturday-night resident) kept the main room on a classic house vibe for most of the night, while GaDJet mixed up Latin house, disco and deep house in the lounge over top of some live percussionists.
Out on the patio, Alvaro G and Dirty Dale Arsenault were dropping house, broken beat, disco and other sounds, while downstairs in Surface , Peter & Tyrone and Peter Bosco rocked more of a garage vibe.
Supermarket shops hiphop
There was a high ratio of DJs, promoters and scenesters out at the unofficial launch party for Supermarket Saturday night (see Club Spotlight for details). It's a bit hard to get a feel for the place since it's still under construction, but the layout and concept seem strong. The management were worried that there might be noise problems in this area, but the reggae band playing in the fish shack down the street was much louder. In fact, Supermarket would be easy to miss if you didn't look in the windows.
Music programmer John Kong brought in Japanese hiphop DJ Mitsu the Beats for the opening, which is also the launch of his Saturday-night hiphop and rare groove party. Mitsu played some nice tunes, but the crowd was more interested in lounging and checking out the new space.