Two of Toronto’s hottest musical showcases took to the waves of Lake Ontario last Thursday for a great cause. The weekly dance-music staple; Nightshift, teamed up with monthly live-performance hub; Frequencies for a night of nautical fun onboard the River Gambler.
Both platforms are committed to harbouring the music scene in Toronto through their regular free parties. On this occasion, their time and effort was not just donated to the music scene but to Toronto as a whole. The event was fundraising on behalf of two local charities who do some incredible work (click the links to find out more or to donate to Street Health and St. Stephen’s Community House).
The party was rescheduled to accommodate better weather conditions and this decision paid off bountifully. We embarked upon a glorious sunny evening on the top deck as ISO Resident ASEY
got the party started with a selection of summery house. Below deck, ∆ N Z O L ∆ got the live performance vibes going with a set of jazzy electronica with a hip-hop infusion.
It is a testament to the quality of the event production from Night Shift and Frequencies that we were so spoiled for choice between the two floors. The sounds of Spookyfish resonated ambient electronica throughout the lower decks, as Sean Roman b2b Peter Damian was ongoing upstairs. Warming up for the release of their new track - One Call Away (Cr2 Records) - the duo’s dynamic set weaved between afro-beat vocals, classic piano chords and quintessentially deep-house tones. As the mix progressed, it became heavier - concluding with rolling tech-house and dubby basslines.
As I mainly listen to minimal, I knew of Ali Black through his recent release alongside Luka Cazal, Blake and Brigante, with remixes from Silverlining and Marlon. After Silverling’s sublime remix of Keele gained the attention of the minimal scene following Petre Inspirescu’s set at Sunwaves festival, the record has been a resounding success. With this in mind, Ali’s versatility as a selector shone throughout his set, and left me very much surprised. As the sun went down, the natural surroundings and the sounds of the passing plane, boat and jet-ski engines, combined with warm disco vocals, Roland drum machines and dreamy analogue synths transported me to a summery world reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto - Vice City (Fever 105, baby).
Meanwhile downstairs, sunset marked a musical transition from the preceding ambient sounds, to more beat-oriented productions. The experimental sampling of Mayasuki Tomita saw a blend of pulsating electro, bleep techno and breakbeats hypnotically immersing the audience. Following this, the Toronto-based ÈBONY played b2b with ACOTE. This performance was a personal highlight of the evening - with the floor of the top deck literally shaking to the party underneath. The unique and energetic selection drew as much stylistic influence from bashment, dancehall, and afro-beat vocal and drum loops as it did bass-forward elements of house and electro.
Upon our return voyage to Toronto, we were greeted by the glowing lights and breathtaking views of the city’s skyline. The incredible views from the top deck perfectly accompanied the music being expertly curated by veteran performers Miz Megs and MC Flipside. Their musical upbringings in the 1990’s and early 2000’s became evident through the combination of vocal cuts inspired by soul and hip-hop, classic tech-house drum rolls and driving basslines - evocative of the prevalent sounds of the early North American house and techno scenes.
This was another highly enjoyable party from some of the genuine good-guys in Toronto’s music culture. Their tireless investment of time and energy towards fostering musical creativity across the city can only be admired and praised alongside the high production value and professionalism that they bring to their parties.
STREET HEALTH ~ http://www.streethealth.ca
Street Health is a non-profit community based agency that strives to improve the health and well-being of homeless and under-housed people in downtown Toronto. We offer physical and mental health programs, as well as supports that improve clients’ ability to access other services. Our work is focused in the neighbourhood around Dundas and Sherbourne Streets, an area with the largest concentration of homeless shelters and drop-in centres in Canada. On an average day, 115 clients come through our doors; we have 60,500 client visits each year.
ST. STEPHEN'S COMMUNITY HOUSE ~https://www.sschto.ca
St. Stephen’s Community House is a unique, community-based social service agency that has been serving the needs of Kensington Market and other neighbourhoods in Toronto since 1962. We are dedicated to making our communities stronger, happier and healthier. St. Stephen’s envisions an inclusive community in which harmony, empowerment and opportunity create social and economic justice and a better quality of life for all. St. Stephen’s works with individuals and communities in the city of Toronto to identify, prevent and alleviate social and economic inequality by creating and providing a range of effective and innovative programs and services.