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!