LABOUR OF LOVE featuring SASHA , FERRY CORSTEN , BASSBIN TWINS , TONY HUMPHRIES , DJ DAN , HIGH CONTRAST , ANDY C , KING SUNSHINE , JAMES ZABIELA , HYBRID and more at the Guvernment (132 Queens Quay East), Sunday (August 31). $30-$40 advance, more at the door. www.theguvernment.com Rating: NNNNN
You can't pick up a DJ magazine these days without reading an item mourning the death of the scene. Actually, there's still tons of stuff going on, maybe even a wider variety, but the days of 10,000-people parties are long gone. The so-called super-clubs have for the most part shut down or at least radically downsized, and nobody really uses the word rave any more without chuckling.
Funnily enough, here in boring old Toronto the Guvernment nightclub still features large-scale DJ events, and last year's Labour Of Love end-of-summer party was their biggest yet. So big, in fact, that they were forced to admit that it was way over capacity after several thousand more than expected turned up.
From all reports, the overcrowding wrecked the experience for party-goers unless they made it to the upstairs patio, but the sheer numbers were nevertheless an encouraging sign for the local scene.
This year, the management promises that there will be a strict attendance cap, which seems believable in light of the two well-publicized American club tragedies in the past year.
There aren't many other places in the world right now where you'd get as many superstar DJs on one bill at a club event, especially in a city with the population of Toronto. We may not be known as innovators in any particular genre of dance music, but we are seen worldwide as a great place to party, and a DJ-friendly place to spin.
Whether the electronic elite like it or not, these kinds of events are what will feed tomorrow's underground. Someone who ventures out for Sasha might discover a true pioneer like Tony Humphries - or vice versa, for that matter. The fact that so many genres are represented, from drum 'n' bass and trance to soulful house and breaks, means that the chances for cross-pollination are even better - which is really Toronto's greatest strength.
If you do go, you can expect a much bigger production than you'd see at any regular club night. Even if you hate 80 per cent of the DJs, you'll still be able to find one room you can deal with. Plus, you'll probably run into someone you haven't seen since high school, and there's a very good chance you won't leave until after the sun comes up.