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Deep Dish @ This is London
By: Oswald Jackson
Date: 2006-01-31 15:39:34
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Clearly in Toronto, the move is underground/superstar international DJ’s playing at upscale/"commercial" venues. I predicted this trend years ago, and lo and behold that is exactly what is happening in this city. Look at venues such as Hotel Boutique Lounge, Lot 332, Ultra, Century Room, and now This is London, that have booked huge DJ’s in the past six months or so. Aside from Guvernment, and 270 Spadina (Sonic) there really isn’t that much interest in seeing DJ’s in areas outside of the club district. People have grown up and they value the environment just as much as the DJ’s. No more partying in sketchy, dirty clubs.

Charles Khabouth is a man that certainly knows what he is doing in the Toronto nightlife. As a man that has a stranglehold on the upscale and underground scenes in Toronto, he has finally combined the two with his recent acquisition of This is London. For the premiere event of SoHo Fridays, Deep Dish rolled into town. Ranked #5 on the and ranked #1 on the house chart, this Washington based duo is riding strong on the success of their 2005 album, George is On. With a Grammy award and club hits (production/remixes) that have received mainstream radio play, Deep Dish are truly superstar DJ/producers worthy of all the hype.

This probably was one of their best sets I ever heard, almost surpassing the magical Labour of Love set in 2002 (or 2003) that the Kliq closed out.

So, you wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it. 9:45, Friday night, outside of This is London. The scene was amazing. You would think you were lining up for Labour of Love at the Guvernment with the size of this crowd outside the club. 100+ people in the guest list line. 75+ plus people in the bottle service area. And 300+ people in the regular line. (It stretched all the way to the Hype office; I wonder how it looked outside at midnight). Think about that for a second. When have you ever seen something like that in this city?

The door was actually run pretty smoothly for an event of this nature. The team was new (they were all being introduced to each other as the night went on) but they handled things well. (There was a surprise doorman running the show on Friday but that’s all I’ll say. Quite a shocker if you are into the gossip of the club industry). Most people were dressed well, but others?you would think this was an event at System Soundbar or something. I don’t know how some people got in, but I would guess because of the volume of people entering the club, a few people slipped through the cracks. My suggestion would be for someone running the door to walk up and down the line to screen people for attire. It’s London for god sakes; you have to look the part.

There is a search at the door, and I’m not a fan of it (but I understand where they are coming from). Again, London always had an upscale vibe to it, so the hard search kind of cheapens it, but what can you do? A friend commented to me that coat check was free (like in the old London days) but I commented, ?Not when Charles is running this place?. Same goes for the water. Khabouth made a lot of money selling water at the Guvernment so I don’t fault him for being business like at London. It’s his club, and people will get used to it.

Inside the club, you could tell they were working on the place up until the doors were open. But that is not a major concern. The staff was all new, so there were a few hiccups along the way. (There was a huge spillage in the VIP area that wasn’t mopped for a while. If Charles saw that he would have probably fired somebody.) London already is going to be the hot Friday spot, so people have to get used to things.

Around 11:30 or the place was probably at capacity. The opening DJ, Brad Copeland, the SoHo resident threw down a proper opening set. He played well enough to get the crowd grooving, but he did not upstage the headliners. I’ll be very interested to hear his opening set for Dimitri from Paris, alongside Milk’s Felix and Gani.

As for Deep Dish, I really wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. I still remember seeing them back in 2001 at Inside for the ?Big DJ, Small Club? gig, and I have seen them many times after that. This probably was one of their best sets I ever heard, almost surpassing the magical Labour of Love set in 2002 (or 2003) that the Kliq closed out. I closed out this party too.

The set started off pretty slow, and most of my crew were complaining about the rolling style to the set. As soon as you thought it was going somewhere, they took it down a notch, and they did this a few times. Around 3:30 or so, things get really kicking, to the point when the party shut down, there were cries from the crowd because it was just too good to end so soon (At six am). But I guess it was a good thing, because the next time these boys come to town, the demand to see them will be even greater.

The crowd was great at the beginning but got sketchier and sweatier as the night progressed. You could see the crowd go from the ?bar star? crowd at 1am to the hardcore music lovers at 4am. But there’s one thing I don’t want to see; guys with no shirts on at This is London! This is not Guv or System Soundbar, keep your shirts on!

That being said, it was a great night and SoHo Fridays is on the map. You could tell this was a big time production and it ran smoothly. You can always count on the perfect combination of d?cor, music, and crowd at a party of this nature. I was pleasantly surprised.

I’ll see everyone at Dimitri from Paris on February 10th. The #1 disco entertainer on the decks in an upscale club like London, what else can you ask for? Hope to hear some new tracks off of Dimitri’s new cd!

PS I miss you!

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