Thursday, August 30, 2007

To the victors go the rights to distort

I saw this article in the Globe and Mail, Fighting words rile historians, about veteran's complaints about a plaque on the fire bombing of Dresden leading to that plaque being changed. I'm ashamed to be Canadian to think that our war museum would re-word a statement of fact in the face of political pressure. Just because it took bravery and sacrifice to do something, doesn't mean that that something was right. Wasn't it freedom they were fighting for? Where is our freedom when facts are suppressed in deference to those with the loudest voice? Sigh.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Review: Entrena at Comfort Zone

Quote: Originally Posted by ni-cd
Entrena's set however...was seriously lacking in the dark tribal department, and his set left me completely unsatiated. I know, he's the DJ, he can play what he wants... but i came down to that day PURELY to hear the tribal FILTH he is renown for dishing out. His set was good, great mixing, great energy...but when you want to have steak, and someone orders pizza's just a disappointment. I couldn't hide my disappointment, I told everyone I knew... sorry Eric, maybe next time.
See, now this is just funny...

In general I'm not a fan of 'headliner' type DJ's at the Zone because they attract a more mainstream crowd, play a more mainstream set, and generally shatter the vibe that I've come to love so much. (Zone slut!) Tastes are all individual of course, but to me, they suck and make Zone suck during the time that they are there. For this reason I was less than thrilled about going to see Entrena, but since it's where Ni-cd, Lea, Johnny, Missy and Dani were going, as well as Loretta, a good friend celebrating her birthday that weekend, it's where I resolved to go as well.

Deko-ze's opener was great, and really had me refreshed from Gallery the night before. Story time: I hadn't been planning to go out at all Saturday night, but then got an invite to Film and thought "Hmm, it's been a while... what the fuck, I'll go." My friend later cancelled his Film plans but by then the seed of going out was planted in my mind, so I decided to head to Gallery and surprise Loretta. Once there it was exactly what I'd hoped for, unfortunately also what I'd expected and feared. The music was great but overall it was just too damned hot. I don't know; there's numerous vents in the ceiling at Gallery, but only that one right in front of the DJ booth that actually seems to do anything. They really need to call someone in to turbo up the fans, adjust the dampers, and balance out the system. (Or at least put the hip-hop in the Gallery, since no-one dances to it enough to really heat up the place; and put the House music in the Orange Room.) Despite the great tunes, I had to keep going on walk-about to cool down, leading to my spending most of the night on the smoking patio listening to faint echos of mainstream EDM surrounded by strangers, instead of grooving to the music I like while surrounded by friends. At least I finally got a look at the new Guv main room... well done guys, well done!

IMGP4902 IMGP4905 IMGP4906

Around 4:30 or so I got a text from Loretta, she was going to her friends to chill for a bit. Sweet release! I invited myself along and left le Sauna de House behind. Emptying my pockets at Loretta's friend's place I made a discovery... an air bubble had kept the little thing I thought I'd put into my drink at Gallery from emptying out, and I had been running on sober. That was a bit shocking actually, the realization that all the heat and sweat I'd suffered at Gallery had not been chemically prompted in any way -- egads! Thank god though or I think nothing would've been left of me but a melted puddle of goo on the floor. Seriously, oh Guvernment powers that be, FIX THAT! Another aspect of my failure to augment was the overwhelming need for sleep... I crashed out pretty quickly and had myself a decent nap whilst Loretta and friend prepared themselves for round two. (Geez Loretta, weren't you already cute enough??? Damn!)

Round two. We got to College and Spadina about 7:30 and parked up and around the half circle from Zone. I've got a handicapped permit in my car due to my wife, and while paying a parking ticket online a few months ago I learned that parking on the streets of Toronto and in the green P lots is free if you have a handicapped sticker. Now I would never park in a handicapped spot if my wife weren't with me, I know well the agony of finding them taken by those who shouldn't be there when you really need one, but if I can get away with parking in a regular spot for free? Hell; I'm sticking it to the man! So there we are, Loretta, friend and I, walking around the circle to Zone when we notice little cards all over the sidewalk. Holy shit! They were line bypass tickets! Now friends, I do not normally condone the sport of trash picking, but when the line bypass fairy explodes you will do well to not argue with fate (though you should've seen the looks that the street folk were giving us!) I'm sure the three of us will feature in a future episode of Just for Laughs Gags or something, but as long as they honour those sweet little cards, it will have been worth it. Ironically, there was no line up at the Zone at 7:30 a.m... WTF? Just for Laughs Gags indeed; we walk right in.

So yeah, Deko-ze's opener was great and I was glad to catch a lot more of his set than I had dared to do in the tropical heat of the Gallery. I wish I could say more about this set but I waited too long to commit electrons to storage medium, and the memories are gone. I do recall having a solid great time however. Thanks Michael! The Vinyl Junkies were up next and as ni-cd pointed out, this was a set not to be missed. (What, you missed it? Fools!) Val and Vince were once again at their best (to think there was a time when I was 'meh' towards them, fool!) I remember this great long track, something about '15 bucks a ticket', that layered under two or three others for what seemed like forever but wasn't near long enough. I really lost myself during that one boys, well done!

Next up was Entrena, starting just after I'd added the final component of the three course complex I've heard described as the new keg party. This isn't something I either recommend or do often, but I was in such a great mood from the opening sets, surrounded by more friends than I'd been in a long time and everything just seemed to fit... Man, this just gave me soooo much energy on the dance floor that I danced like I had not danced in moons, and I could not have had a better set to do it to. Entrena instantly blew away my dreaded 'headliner at Zone' syndrome. He played like he belonged there, like he'd been part of the lineup with Addy, Deko-ze, Sydney, the VJ's, Paranoid Jack, Nathan Barato, Carlo Lio, Greg Gow, George William, Joee Cons, el Duran, dj:TK and anyone else I've ever enjoyed there who's name I've forgotten to list. For the first two hours I didn't leave the floor for more than a minute or two, just enough to grab another Gatorade or head to the washroom to towel off. (I sweat a lot. It's a curse. Deal with it!)

At that point, whacked as I was (felt like an etch a sketch; shake me and whatever I'd been thinking the moment before -- gone!), I got it into my head that I had to tell the world what an unbelievably great time I was having to Entrena (like penance for all of my prior nay saying) in real time! I made it up to the Silver Dollar, broke out my phone and after what seemed like 30 minutes of fumbling around, managed to successfully start this thread. (Ask Tulley and Samhouse, they caught the full show!) Proud of my handiwork I returned to the floor to dance to more of that sweet Entrena set, though I'm pretty sure I also accosted a few friends along the way to show off my while-blitzed mobile web surfing prowess. (Sorry guys, you know how it is when you're trashed...) Despite the break I slipped right back into the groove, holding my own in front of the DJ booth. Beyond mere pigeon on crack, yes, I was now killing rats with an oboe!

Then of course the most terrible thing had to happen. The set ended. I'd had it in my head that Eric was to be up for a full four hours, but sadly it was slated to end after only three. I know ni-cd enjoyed D-Unity, but for whatever reason I was just the opposite. I wanted to like them, I wanted to stay there on that floor and just keep right on dancing, but their music just didn't do it for me. The change in direction was just a little too much, like coming back from the moon and realizing it's time to slip back into the real world of PTA meetings and shaving cream coupons. Just a total... dénouement. I know there are those of you who will say, "Yeah well, you were coming down... it was only by augments that you were even enjoying Entrena that much in the first place." Me, I know that's not the case. No matter where I am (or what I do), it's always the music that connects me with that dance floor, and when I'm dancing that I'm in my happiest place. I can't tell you the titles or producers that put me there, or what name the genre goes by (I thought it was tribal from the pre-Entrena hype, but ni-cd's review has now totally cast that into doubt), I just know that some things do it for me while most others don't, and after Entrena things stopped clicking.

Well, not totally. I found myself out in the front hall and it was suddenly strangely peaceful. No one was walking by, the bouncers were out of sight, the fluorescent lights of coat check shone through the security grating and dappled the walls in soft hues as they mixed with the sunlight filtering in from around the corner. Shit, it was beautiful! The camera that had been a curse in my back pocket the whole morning was suddenly my very best friend. Damn the rules! Click. (Of course, the camera both blurred and under-exposed it and the moment is lost on all of you. But trust me, it was pretty fucking magical.)

So ideally, that should have been the end of my adventure. I should have just gone home, saw my wife, and stepped back into the real world. Stupidly though, I dragged it out. I took a long break on the patio, then decided it was 'Zone Amato Pizza Time' (tm). Unable to rouse any rabble to accompany me on the trip (yet another sign I should've just hung it up) I went on my own and came back to a completely different Zone. It was dead, and I couldn't find most of my friends. I texted them and it turned out they'd split for The Docks, ugh. I could have joined them but wasn't in the mood for a third round of cover charges, so I just hung about on the Zone patio. That actually turned out not to be too bad in the end, I made a bunch more friends and that carried me through into Paranoid Jack territory (Carlo Lio was in there somewhere too, but I forget the exact order). Score! I was back on the dance floor enjoying the tunage, but had resolved not to touch any more chemicals that day and just couldn't muster the energy to really "give 'er!" the way I wanted to for sounds that were being thrown down... alas.

Another break with Loretta and friend turned into another crash on that remarkably comfortable couch I'd discovered earlier in the day. Refreshed again we wound up back at Zone (armbands... brilliance!), and walked in to the sweet sounds of one Nathan E. Barato (Super Genius). Cool. Once again the music was clicking for me and I hit the dance floor, but just didn't have it in me to keep on going. This time I took the hint, said my goodbyes, and made the long drive back to Kitchener.

I must say, I had the best time I've had out in a good long while, and have all of my friends to thank for it! That includes one new one by way, a certain Eric Entrena. Come back to Zone anytime, preferably soon, and I'll buy you another mid-set Gatorade... you WAAAAAAY earned it my friend!


(How hard had I danced? I don't know but apparently I used my arms A LOT! My chest was so sore that reaching down to release the seat belt was agony for the next couple of days... Heh heh, occupational hazard.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

DJ Addy - The Art of Mixing

Came across this clip today by one of my favourite Toronto House DJs, DJ Addy. Had to be shared...