Back in the day, while captivated by magical Brad Copeland sets on the Stereo and System Soundbar dance floors, I used to conjure up images of what the underground would be like if it reached the mainstream. I had grand illusions of slick-dressed clubbers – youthful and yuppie – pilgrimaging to contemporary -styled dance floors in homage of the most talented musicians in the industry. I never imagined we’d have what we have today.
Slick-dressed is hipster, bottle service minimizes dance floors and the underground hasn’t only become mainstream, it is mainstream. At least this is what I see all over downtown Toronto.
So often I stand on the dance floors of the city’s hottest spots, complaining about the simplicity of the music and how it seems to be a norm in our scene nowadays. Most of these conversations are initiated by my personal jadedness; however, over the past couple years many of my friends have approached me with the same conclusion:
Most of Toronto’s nightclubs are no longer about substance; they’re only about style. Scenesters determine the popular music of the moment, and just like fashion, it’s completely random. It doesn’t matter what comes out of the speakers, as long as the DJ looks hot and is having a good time. The people on the floor can be convinced cheap-looking elf shoes are in style, and they can also be persuaded to believe Pauly D is actually a world-class DJ.
It’s a simple formula. Dress the talent funky; ensure he / she play tunes everybody knows and flash their drinks as often as possible. Keep it simple and make sure nobody’s completely locked into the groove. You mustn’t divert patrons from the ultimate goal, and that’s to buy more booze!
It reminds me of the time I went back to my hometown and its one nightclub. The dance floor was packed as long as the DJ was dropping hip hop, but every once in a while he’s slip in a Brian Adams or Corey Hart track. Why would the DJ interrupt his own rolling vibe? The bartender’s explanation: “If we play great music all night, people would forget to come to the bar.” Holy shit! Toronto’s becoming Brantford!!
Like a Rob Ford spending cut, this suburban trend is adversely affecting the downtown core. It’s the reason why we don’t hear real DJs like Brad in the booths of Toronto’s largest nightclubs anymore. His seamless mixing is way too gripping to impose this drinks-first mentality. Any B-Cope fan can share their many moments of dance floor entrapment caused by his groove-locking programming style. Quality artists like Brad have no place in today’s club “business.”
Just listen to the first part of this exclusive for The LocALe. You’d never hear the smooth melody of You Are Here to open a big club in Toronto. By the time he reaches the deep funk of No Crash, I guarantee you 9.5 out of 10 would have no idea Brad’s seven tracks in. Everyone would be dancing so hard there’s no reason to even think, let alone take a sip of a drink.
It’s so sad promoters are depriving their customers of tunes like Sweet Hanley because that’s exactly the sound Toronto had always yearned for. And they might as well close shop after Brad goes Back on Track because that shit’s going to have everyone confined to the floor.
Part 2 begins on a groovy tip and incessantly rolls with BC pace. As Brad moves through Da Funk it emphasizes how he’s always been best as a headliner. Only during peak-time hours are mega bombs like Love and Imitation done justice. The entire mix transports me back to the cyclones of circular soundscapes at System and Stereo (had to write it). Vadim’s Cottage Industry slams an exclamation point on that… all our nights with Brad end in such epic style.