Category Archives: Toronto raves, old school ravers

3 Years of Frankenräver

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supernova

Today marks the 3 year anniversary of Frankenräver. At that age, I was a screaming mass of raw energy; temperamental, curious and testing the boundaries of my parent’s patience. Although I haven’t posted anything in months, it doesn’t mean that I’ve given up. Au contraire, I’ve been quietly, constantly evolving and so my point of view on a number of subjects has shifted drastically.

After much consideration, I’ve concluded that there’s nothing about Toronto’s party scene that holds much appeal for me anymore. Raving as I knew it in the 90’s is dead, done over – ain’t never coming back. Tough shit. Sorry to dash the hopes of all you ol skoolers still striving to “bring back” that flavour with your sentimental little bashes. The truth is, many are far too self-centred, distracted, emotionally obtuse in this society to invoke the spirit of PLUR on a grand scale, but that’s not to say it’s still not happening. Just not in Toronto.

Call it maturity (or even ennuie), but I feel the energy calling me somewhere else. I can’t say much right now, except to say that I’m pretty excited about it. Instead of clinging to the past and false hopes of long lost glory, I’ve opened myself to new horizons, broadening my scope on a fantastic scene that has spread around the globe. In 2013, Frankenräver garnered hits from 114 countries from some pretty surprising places including Qatar, Benin, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Algeria, Venezuela, Estonia, Peru, Vietnam and Egypt. I’m happy to know that rave culture has touched so many lives on this planet and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Thanks to all of you for your support and readership. Stay tuned for new and interesting developments to come in the near future.

Raving is like a retrovirus. It never truly left me and I don’t think it ever will. Beats herpes anyday!

PLUR,
Frankenräver

😀

Copyright © 2014 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

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Possible 90’s Rave Revival?

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angel alanis flyer

Could this event mark a possible revival of the 90’s rave scene (in spirit at least?).

That’s what I thought when I first laid eyes on this flyer – at a café in Kensington Market of all places. I was pleasantly surprised to see underground soldier Angel Alanis headlining. “Chi’s Revenge,” a hi-energy breakbeat infused number is one of his most recognizable offerings off the noteworthy album, Reverse Polarities. Although he is known primarily for techno, this track remains one of my all-time favourites because it exemplifies Alanis’ versatility and playfulness.

I wonder whether Paul Walker is the same British dude who used to have that dope store on Richmond St. I believe. I don’t recall the name (if someone remembers, holla back!) but it was a fantastic hub of activity staffed by DJ’s spinning live music selling mix tapes, clothing, accessories, albums and tickets to all the upcoming events. Walker used to play killer hard house and progressive back in the day; I still have a Liquid Adrenaline tape featuring a set of his. If it’s you Paul, welcome back!

In this digital age of smartphones and facebook, the promoters had the audacity to include an info line number. Wtf…AND pre- 2000 ticket prices! I called the number and sure enough, there was a pre-recorded blurb complete with background music. It ended with the traditional, “Stay tuned for more info;” no details given about the location (til the night of). I’m beginning to feel slightly rebellious now…look out world!

With the enticing prospect of laser shows, dry ice and projections, this event is obviously targeted towards ol skool ravers. It’ll probably attract a lot of newbies too, judging from the teeny tiny fb logo near the bottom of the flyer. Yes, Fusion Entertainment is banking on 90’s nostalgia but they’re keeping it current too. Smart business move.

Honestly, there isn’t much that really excites me about Toronto’s party scene anymore. Don’t believe me? Check out NOW magazine’s cover feature this week: Fight for Your Right to Party. Reading about the pathetic state of Toronto’s nightlife was rather depressing but I see it as part of a cycle. Everything eventually comes to an end, whether it’s a behemoth club veteran like The Guvernment or gay central stronghold Fly. It’s really up to the people to rise up and carve out a new definition for Toronto’s party identity. So far, it looks like Fusion Entertainment might be leading the way. Sometimes you have to take a step back to make a giant leap forward. If these guys are genuine, and don’t plan on doing bullshit like shutting off cold water, then this might be a good way to get Toronto’s nightscene off its ailing ass and back into the game.

I must confess my expectations for this event are not high; rather, they are carefully measured with a healthy dose of skepticism. But then again, that’s what happens when you’ve touched the outskirts of infinity, only to come down a little too soon.

Copyright © 2014 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Toronto’s Nightlife Crisis

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Afterhours legend The Comfort Zone is under threat of eradication by developers

Afterhours legend The Comfort Zone is under threat of eradication by developers

In recent times, Toronto has gained more notoriety for its scandal plagued mayor than its colourful nightlife (are we really supposed to believe that alleged crack video somehow disappeared down some random dude’s a-hole?).To those of us who still love to go out and shake a leg to some quality music (and by quality, I don’t mean Top 40 commercial cheese), this is a disturbing development. Just like those hideous condos that keep popping up like a plague all over the goddamn city. Toronto is in the midst of an identity crisis that it must come to terms with, if it is to remain on par with other world class cities. A healthy nightlife scene is the definitive barometer by which a thriving metropolis, such as T-Dot aspires to be, is measured. Lately though, the pulse rate appears to be seriously flagging. Just ask Shawn Micallef, Toronto Star journalist who wrote an eye opener titled, “With Clubs Disappearing, where will Toronto Dance?” last April (I had saved the original, but it’s MIA and presumably got tossed out with the spring cleaning).

 

http://www.thestar.com/life/2013/04/11/with_its_clubs_disappearing_where_will_toronto_dance.html

 

In said article, Shawn sounds the alarm for Toronto’s rapidly shrinking dance music scene, bemoaning the loss of nightlife heavyweights such as Industry, which has been replaced by –  Gasp! Horror! – Shopper’s Drugmart. Like we really need another one of these…

 

“Stand on the corner of Richmond and Peter Streets, the former epicenter of Clubland. Once there were clubs on all four corners, now there are none. Other big club spaces around town are giving way to residences. The huge Guvernment (formerly RPM) site at Queens Quay and Jarvis was recently sold to a developer and Fly, the last remaining big gay club in the Gaybourhood, may be going condo soon too. Do we need to start worrying about where people can dance to loud music?”

 

And now, legendary afterhours dive Comfort Zone is under threat of extinction by real estate developers, who’ve decided to erect a tower block for college students (aptly, if unimaginatively named “The College”) at the corner of College and Spadina. I guess they decided it would be a perfect complement to the spanking new brand of banal, Rexall Drugstore, across the way. (now where the hell are all those souped up students supposed to get their afterhours fix, huh?). The majority of the party populace won’t miss The Waverley Hotel, which is a different shade of sketch altogether. There’s even talk of preserving the Silver Dollar sign, another landmark spot on the same spot. However, the loss of Comfort Zone would spell the end of a major era in Toronto’s nightlife. Apart from bloated electronic music festivals sponsored by companies that wouldn’t have been caught dead near a candykid in the 90’s and other shallow pretenders to the throne, what remains to fill the void? More condos? I bet the movers and shakers behind these deals and the sheeple that buy into them have never seen Cloverfield. I know where I want to be if  alien baddies invade the city with intergalactic fleas and it won’t be in one of those overpriced deathtraps. 

 

As Micallef eloquently puts it, “A city where you can’t dance is a city not worth living in.” One might argue there are still bars / clubs where you can get your groove on in the T-Dot and they would be right. However, when it comes to getting down to some filthy underground music that demands total dancefloor honesty, there are less venues to facilitate this gritty in-yo-face experience. Which begs the question: where do we go from here? Honestly, I don’t think anyone from the 90’s expects those dizzy days to make a comeback anytime soon. What’s disturbing though, is the lack of vision inherent in city planning, mainly by developers and politicians who seem far too motivated by profit margins than preserving any portion of Toronto’s flavourful character. A healthy dose of underground with a dash of semi-grimy underbelly is necessary to keep any First World city’s economy going; a gross oversight on the part of money hungry investors. These aspects spell trouble for any hopes of Toronto becoming a major hotspot for underground talent to flourish. As local Toronto DJ, Denise Benson states, “Clubs are another artist space when done right. Toronto is crawling with DJs and performers who travel around the world but have no place to play here.”

 

So does that mean the T-Dot is doomed to become an infinitesimal blip on the nightlife radar map? That likelihood is highly probable. Yes, there are still quality internationals that breeze by on occasion, but that pales in comparison to the mecca Toronto was for DJ megastars touching down every weekend during the rave era. At that time, the “Clubland Stretch” was in full effect, with places like Turbo and System Soundbar pumping hardcore tunes. There were more warehouses instead of condos and you could get sketched out at Industry while listening to the likes of Armand Van Helden or Lil Louis Vega. Now, “Clubland” is virtually non-existent, replaced by a sterile wasteland of glass and steel aka “Condoland”…and more Shoppers Drugmarts. WTF >>>

 

What’s left for Toronto’s nightlife future? Well, life is cyclical and what we’re seeing is simply the end of a cycle. In other words, Toronto’s glory days as an underground dance magnet is finished. Once Comfort Zone closes, it will be the official nail in the coffin. Sad but not surprising. I tend to agree with Micallef in the sense that a “Revenge of The ‘Burbs” scenario might play out, where something new and exciting might spring forth from an unlikely candidate for supercool, like Scarborough. Maybe even Kitchener, though I doubt peeps might want to drive that far. In my opinion, only one hope currently remains for salvaging what’s left of Toronto’s underground reputation. But I’m saving that for another article 😉

 

 Copyright © 2013 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 

 

Frankenräver Takes Off

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After being in the blogosphere for just over a year, Frankenräver will be going on hiatus, which is a fancy way of saying I’m done blogging for a while. I haven’t been doing much raving to be honest, so I’m not exactly living up to that vainglorious title. Admittedly, it’s difficult to do that in Toronto, whose party scene has pretty much gone to the dogs. Relocation is in order! Besides, anyone who’s been a part of that world knows that it’s next to impossible to get anything constructive done long-term. Currently I’m working on a number of creative projects which require my full attention to bring them to fruition. 

That being said, I’ve had a blast blogging about underground culture, and hope to resume at some point in the not too distant future.  From time to time, I will post anything I find of interest, and update you on how my other projects are coming along. I hope that you’ve found the articles interesting, informative and entertaining.  It is my sincerest hope that more folks across the globe will continue to enjoy them. Frankenräver generated traffic from 109 countries last year, and I’m happy to know how global this scene has become.  Thanks to all my fellow bloggers, readers and followers for your support. Special shout-outs to Brian, drugsandotherthings.wordpress.com,  Rosie and thecommunic8r.com for your positive vibes and awesome contributions to keeping dance culture alive.

There comes a time in every raver’s life when you have to prioritize your goals and let go of that lifestyle, so something fuller and richer can blossom in its place.  In my heart, I’ve never stopped raving, and as long as I have life in my body, I will always be engaged with The Movement one way or another. A seed was planted many years ago, and now I’m happy to say that rambunctious tree is bearing fruit!

The 90’s was a very special time for those of us who were there. I’m not discounting the validity of the post 90’s rave experience; however, the energy at that time was completely different. It was truly out of this world. If it’s one thing I wish they’d bring back, it would be those massive sound systems! To this day, many of us carry that Light, that youthful Vibration  forward into every aspect of our lives.  I see it everytime I run into fellow tribe members still resisting the status quo in their own way.  Indeed, there is more to Raving than meets the eye. The Movement has had its ups and downs, but thankfully it’s still here, still evolving. I can’t wait to see what will come exploding out of the Underground next. I hope it will be every bit as dynamic as raving was at its peak – even more so. The world needs more Light, now more than ever.

PLUR,

Frankenräver

😉

Copyright © 2013 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Whatever happened to Tuned In, Mashed Out?

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FRANKIE Ebook Cover front jpg

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that there are people wanting to buy a copy of my e-book, “Tuned In, Mashed Out: Confessions of a Rave Junkie.” I regret to inform you that it is no longer available on Amazon, though if you search diligently, I’m sure you’ll find a pirated copy floating around somewhere out there. Currently I’m in the process of getting it published on paperback, like it deserves to be. I’m pretty excited about that – you should be too! Next time around, “Tuned In, Mashed Out” will be a slicker, juicier beast, a formidable freak machine of ginormous proportions. Finally I’ll be able to afford two heated indoor swimming pools on a tropical island, a menagerie of exotic animals and a full-time handler to feed them. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” Lord knows I can hardly wait to touch, smell and cradle the bastard baby born from the womb of my fertile imagination and semi-checkered past. Just thought I’d give y’all a heads up where that’s concerned – aight!

Block Party Raises Fun in Concrete Jungle

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Solid Apparel, Solid Soldiers aiigghht!!

Last Saturday, I had the good fortune to stumble upon Block Party 2012, going down at that parking lot on College 2 blocks west of Spadina. A line-up of DJ’S playing drum and bass, breaks, hip-hop and live bands made it look intriguing, yet attendance was sparse. That was really too bad because the music was quite good, what with jungle going steady like old times. Stewards jingling buckets asked for a minimum donation of $1, with proceeds going towards fighting epilepsy. Can’t argue with that! I missed DJ Marcus‘ set but returned just in time to catch MC’s Killah, Dax, See and Lucky General blowing shit up in da parking lot.  Nice to see the junglist massive bringing it live and direct! Gotta love the little raver girl dancing up a storm with her L.A lights at 1:57. Big ups to Solid Apparel for helping to sponsor this event and for hooking me up with some dope stickers.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Full Moon Rising @ Cherry Beach

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What better way to celebrate Canada Day than a rave at Cherry Beach! Still reeling from the aftermath of Pride, I cooled off at a pool party before heading down. I’d heard how much it had changed from the good ol’ daze when people would just show up and start raving in the woods on the east side of the beach. It was strictly through word of mouth, never advertised and all you had to do was come prepared to party well into the wee hours. No dress code, ID, or cover charge required. It was absolutely glorious and too good to last. Due to a thoughtless act of naïve journalism about “Toronto’s best kept party secret” by a NOW magazine writer, cops swooped down and killed the last CB party of the summer in 2006. I was told that since that time, the event had been moved to a different location in the same vicinity, wristbands were required and they were now charging $5. Not to mention sketchies galore. So of course, I had lowered my expectations long before I even set foot on the shore. Boy was I in for a surprise! Hundreds of party peeps were chilling out on the beach, grooving to the bombastic sounds of Rollin’ Cash, LeeLee Mishi, Zum One, Machinelf and more. Everyone was laughing, dancing, have a good time. Sizzling samba satisfied the senses courtesy of CB stalwarts, Samba Elegua, with firespinners scorching the shit out of the scene at nightfall.

 It was reassuring to see some familiar faces from the rave and psy-trance community, though we were outnumbered by clubbers and 905-ers somewhat lacking in party etiquette. And there was a bodacious full moon to boot. A full moon party on Canada Day at Cherry Beach? Long weekends don’t get much better than that! Wading in warm water while prog techno bounced and the moon beamed was therapeutic to say the least. At times, the loud pop of fireworks going off made me wonder whether some stoned dandy might not end up losing a finger or 2. The Rave Gods were definitely on duty that night, ensuring that all Ecstaticans remained safe and sound. “This is the best I’ve seen in a while,” exclaimed one attendee. “There’s a lot less sketch than usual.” Sheesh… Maybe frumpy security personnel dressed in black, marching through beach blanket posses whilst wielding flashlights like they’re in a friggin club might have something to do with it. An acquaintance of mine ended up having her knapsack stolen, which really sucked. So if you’re planning to check out Cherry Beach in the near future, watch your belongings! Beach blanket bonanza in effect every Sunday ‘til the end of summer, weather permitting. For the latest updates on CB, follow the Promise lads  on Twitter @cherrybeach. Peace out >>>

 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

Honey Dijon, Stacey Pullen and Carlo Lio @ Pride

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Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

HAPPY PRIDE TORONTO!

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Another year, another blast of boiling hot weather at Pride Toronto. Judging from the gloriously summerific reprieve in March, I say the Sun God needs to get pissed off at his royal court more often. But the drag queens, naked queers and fruit loops weren’t the only ones heating things up. The super soakers were out in full force, squirting up a storm on Yonge St., cooling things down on the homefront. After my digicam took a direct hit from a recklessly aimed watergun, I decided it was time to head for higher ground. It was then I found myself at a rooftop party overlooking Yonge St., courtesy of ravemate Greg. We watched colourful floats go by while dancing to the sounds of G Money and J Prez. Afterwards, we migrated to Boystown for a piece of the action. Tom Stephan proved to be a crowdpleaser, which came as a relief after Dee-Lite’s Lady Kier’s lackluster performance earlier on while Honey Dijon took things to another level with a smoking set of funked up house.

The afterparty continued at Phoenixwith the likes of Stacey Pullen, Joey Conns, Carlo Lio and Deko-ze. Pullen’s set was more subdued than what I remembered from Fabric,London, but otherwise quite good while Carlo really got the crowd going. Despite having quality DJ’s on the bill,Phoenix never got packed and the party ended disappointingly early around 4. All things considered, I had a swell time and so did most peeps, judging from the overall lack of spew on the sidewalk. Kudos to Pride for bringing people of all different persuasions together to celebrate life, love and music for over 35 years. ‘Til next year – shine on beautiful people! 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

DIRTY DISCO DELIVERS

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Dirty Disco kicked off on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon with a mouthwatering line-up of local and international talent featuring the likes of Don Berns (aka Dr. Trance), Robb G, Deko-ze, Adam K, Jelo and more. It was a real treat watching Dr. Trance strut onstage in a Superman suit, while “Superheroes Can’t Be Gays” played in the background. The grand-daddy of T dot’s rave scene then proceeded to drop some dirty ol skool classics from waayyy back in tha day. Larry Tee from London, England, delivered with a floorthumping set while Adam K rocked the crowd at nightfall.

Although Dirty Disco was sponsored by T-D, it was freakin annoying to see their logo flashing repeatedly across the screen behind the DJ’s for up to half an hour during some of the performances. It really irks me to see the corporate world pimping underground culture to promote their interests. Like ravers really need to be subjected to their shitty subliminal messages. And don’t get me started about Rogers trying to cultivate some swag off of Digital Dreams. Next time, it would be wonderful if Dirty Disco’s organizers could grow a backbone and curb T-D’s advertising so it doesn’t detract from the performances, seen? Usually, Dirty Disco is on the main day of Pride (Sunday), but it got shifted to Saturday, apparently as a result of Digital Dreams, which meant it was considerably less packed than the rollicking blockos of DD’s past. Aside from the piggybacking parasitic antics of corporate sponsors, it was good times, especially with guest star appearances by ol skool vets like Uncle Steve, Jeff, Paul, and Greg. Happy Pride Beautiful People!

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.