Clubs close constantly, but it's hard to imagine a shutdown shaking up a section of the Toronto music scene more than the closing of Industry.
For four years, the King West club has been the centre of the Toronto electronic music scene. Anyone who's anyone in the global beat business has spun or played there, from Roni Size and the Basement Jaxx to King Britt, Derrick May, the Wu Tang Clan and hundreds more.
With the music's popularity still rising, it came as a shock when Industry announced last week that it would be closing for good August 6.
"This wasn't a decision that came easily," Industry spokesperson Charlene Ma explains. "We had actually just spent a lot of money on the club, but things just built up.
"When the club started, the scene was all about the music. Industry's role in that was to bring international DJs to town. Now there are so many promoters involved, and the scene has really gone mainstream. There's also all the hype about drugs and out-of-control kids, and it just became something we didn't want to be a part of."
The club will go out with a blast, though. A hectic summer schedule is in the works, with regulars including Britt, Frankie Knuckles, former Underworld DJ Darren Emerson, and others set to appear.
Lee's Palace, Fri, May 19
An early nomination for singing find of the year has got to be Murray Lightburn of Montreal strum-pop combo the Dears.
Warming up for Southpacific and Mean Red Spiders before a half-empty Lee's Palace Friday, Lightburn made like he was singing at a packed Royal Albert Hall. While the rest of the quintet hammered through a set of organ-heavy Stereolab and soul-damaged pop tunes from their new End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story album, the dapper Lightburn played the uninhibited star. Tossing off his jacket and crooning about fractured love like the black Morrissey, the singer eventually ended up on his knees, howling like a wounded animal.
Even the folks gathered around the TV watching the Knicks/Heat game were left stunned by a swaggering take on the band's should-be-classic tune There Is No Such Thing As Love. The Dears return to town in mid June. Expect riots.
Turbo, Sat, May 20
Any plans French house combo > had of turning their local debut at Turbo into a media circus were scuttled when the club brought the curtain down on accredited photographers and video camera crews. The management of Turbo (formerly Jet Nightclub) are concerned about the recent rave crackdown and would prefer there be no photographic evidence of what goes on in their establishment.
"NOW Magazine?" smiled the fashionably outfitted door person as she flipped through the guest list on her clipboard. "Go ahead, but I've already turned away your photographer. There's been too much negative media coverage lately."
As it turned out, for all the hype about the novel house music project that plays live, rinôçérôse>> never really took creative advantage of having a conga-slapping percussionist and flutist onstage.
Instead, the seven neatly groomed members were content to nod their noggins and add minor embellishments to the steady thump of the programmed beats while images of dirt-track motorcycle races were projected behind them. Trés moronique.
Record store clerk turns actor
If that roadie dude in the Flashing Lights' new Elevature video currently being shown on MuchMusic looks strangely familiar, it could be because he's sold you a CD. The former Record Peddler staffer now working at Rotate This is perhaps best known to hundreds of Teen Crud Combo fans as drummer Mark J., yet neither of those high-profile gigs got him the starring role in the Flashing Lights clip.
"They had a casting call to find someone to play the part of the roadie in the video," chuckles Mark J. getting set to join his bandmates onstage at the El Mocambo Friday night (May 26). "From what I heard, all the actors who showed up looked like they came off the set of Dawson's Creek. I know those guys because I work with (singer/guitarist) Matt Murphy at Outside Music a couple days a week. They asked me if I wanted to be in their video, so I said sure.
"Other than having to get up for the shoot at 8:30 in the morning, there was nothing to it. There was some food, beer and I got a hundred bucks. It was great!"