Finally got the chance to see local Toronto electronic music duo Azari + III perform a dj set at Wrongbar before they jet off to tour Europe next month. I’ve been following their releases for the past couple of years and yet I was never able to check ’em out in person. They make great throwback/retro-sounding/warehouse acid house and techno and have a knack for capturing both the spirit and arrangement of early 90s dance tunes.
It’s been ages since I’ve visited Wrongbar and I arrived a little early in hopes of playing a pinball game however, I was shocked to find the old clunker was replaced with Michael Jackson Moonwalker with a 3 player cabinet no less! Me and a couple of friendly strangers battled our way to level 5 listening to the sounds of local dj Ali Black on warmup duty: deep, acid and retro-sounding throwback tech house. He did a good job though I found that the set just kind of plodded along – the trials of the warm-up spot eh?
Azari + III performed a 4 turn table set, Alixander on Serato and 2 techs and Azari using cdjs. They did a pretty good job of going back and forth although the set felt kind of rambling and aimless at times. Deep, warehouse-y, early 90s sounding acid tech house punctuated by moments of quirk and dark chords. It was interesting, but I felt like the energy levels had kind of stalled and the music just drifted along . Perhaps sensing the lagging energy, part-time collaborators Fritz Helder and Syf grabbed the mics and inflected much-needed sass and lyrics to help engage the crowd. Speaking of which, a very mixed crowd of film-fest goers, 4am drinkers, and heads, led to a packed – but danceable – dance floor.
Overall, it was a decent show and I had fun groovin’ out. IMHO, I guess I was expecting more variation in the music over the course of the night as I find a whole night of moody throwback warehouse / acid house a bit hard to sustain my own energy on the floor. That said, I’d still love to see them perform live!
Hmmm…I’ve heard most of their original songs and they have a retro vibe on some of them, but at Wrongbar on Saturday I thought they also played some of the newest coolest stuff out there as far as I remember, going way beyond retro acid and house. There were passages of weirdo psychedelic techno chatter, which you could describe as rambling and aimless if you don’t get it.
Watching them have to deal with a stage full of fawning, drunk 905er girls was pretty funny, my only complaint would be that the sound could have been fatter and the crowd could have been more funky.
It wasn’t a bad set by any means. I just would’ve liked more musical variation. That said, I left at 3:30am maybe I missed out?