Tag Archives: Toronto parties

CODA: REUNION or “There Comes a Time in Every Raver’s Life…”

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L. to r. Jeff, Ed and Frankenräver

L. to r: Jeff, Ed and Frankenräver

It was great seeing my former rave champion bud Ed after an 8 year absence. And the ol skool crew: Uncle Steve, Jeff and Turtle. The reunion took place at CODA, 1 of Toronto’s few remaining nightclubs. Guy Gerber headlined alongside Jeff Button, Gera and Jonathan Rosa. Only the prospect of seeing Ed could convince me to part with $35 for the “reduced guestlist” – a feat I don’t plan to repeat. Come to think of it, 3 + 5 = 8; looks like I was destined to be overcharged! Fortunately, Fate sent Frankenräver a hefty rebate in the form of money bills scattered on the floor in random places.

I could complain about the ridiculous overuse of dry ice but when the Universe gifts you crisp, beautiful moola, why bother?

Ironcially, CODA was memorable as an interesting exercise in the evolutionary curve of a raver’s life. Back in the 90’s, most of the crew were single and living at home with a fair amount of disposable income to burn. We would party every weekend at the drop of a dime. Peeps would bring their boyfriends and girlfriends. As ravers mature, priorities shift. Decadent party life becomes a thing of the past, something to wax nostalgic over a glass of wine or a YouTube playlist. People establish careers (hopefully), get married, have kids, divorce (often), and grow disenchanted, relegating all remnants of Rave to the back of the broom closet.

The couple that plays together stays together. Ricky and Lisa

The couple that plays together stays together. Ricky and Lisa

Some manage to retain a certain spark with the knowledge that life is different but not in a bad way. Now you party with people’s spouses. Someone’s wife is expecting a baby yet she is there on the dancefloor. Pretty impressive. You notice stuff…folks have gained weight, lost some, acquired a few laugh lines here and there. It’s a mental readjustment but thankfully, one that’s not too painful to make. All that’s required is a good dose of common sense (hi-5ives are OK, impromptu massages on your married friends DEFINITELY NOT!).

Mandy, Ed's wife bought me a drink. “Ed's friend is my friend,” she said. Respect!

Mandy, Ed’s wife bought me a drink. “Ed’s friend is my friend,” she said. Respect!

For others, it can be tough letting go of the past. As you age, your once nubile body can no longer tolerate the abuse you dished out week after week, ingesting all manner of pharmaceuticals, intoxicants and combinations thereof outlandish and simultaneously reckless. The urge to recapture those fleeting carefree days of yore can prove to be an irresistible temptation. It comes at a price not just to one’s physical health. In the push to prolong an experience that cannot be relived, some mature ravers can put themselves in danger of a dysfunctional life, stuck in limbo between a tenuous yesterday and a precarious now. The only way to strike a healthy balance is to accept the 90’s are gone and focus on building a healthy productive life. Be kind to your body but above all, be kind to yourself! Aging is a part of the human experience; it is what you make of it, nothing more. You will need to either reduce recreational drug use, cut it out altogether or find a more body friendly alternative. That is, if you wish to avoid looking haggard and bloated by the time you hit 40. Party when you need to. Celebrate your friends and cherish every moment shared, even on Facebook. Start a blog, write a book (does any of this sound familiar?

Turtle gains perspective in a sea of dry ice

Turtle gains some perspective in a sea of dry ice

Ok, enough of the generalisms. This is where I stand. I’m meeting my friend and his wife with my single self. That means I need to forget about wearing that neon fishnet navelbreaker or risk looking like a tramp to raver wives. Skip G and stick with booze or potentially wind up twitching on a sofa like my fellow mature raver. Last but not least, marriage life ain’t so bad, judging from the happy couples at CODA. Just hook up with a like-minded, positively attuned party lover and everything should be fine.

Ed, it was a pleasure seeing you again! And meeting your adorable wife. Hang in there bud, we’re going to Ibiza! One day. By the way, did you notice that pot-bellied juicemonkey who looked like he was wondering where the fuck the party went? Down south most likely.

Still a long way from the retirement home

Still a long way from the retirement home!

Copyright © 2015 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.

Life After Clubland

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denisbe benson article

Veteran local DJ and author Denise Benson dishes on the state of Toronto’s nightlife in this article for MetroNews dated September 24th 2015. The famed “Clubland” district on Richmond and Adelaide streets is now a bland, sanitized smorgasbord with no hint of its semi-seedy past. It’s a crying shame, one that for all intents and purposes Toronto is proudly living up to. Benson is bang on when she states, “The closing of a number of venues in the early to mid-2000s, to me, signals a serious change that we haven’t entirely recovered from.” Well, that’s putting it nicely!

Actually, the death knell for the city’s clubscene has been sounding for quite some time, most notably in a revealing article by TorStar journalist Shawn Micallef in 2013. Gone is the bleeding ear dynamics of System Soundbar (I was there on opening night). Or giggling when you find out Jerry got kicked out of The Guvernment for doing coke in the bathroom. Or developing a mild crush on a jet-lagged Joey Beltram spinning at Turbo. What gives? Like I said before in a previous article, it’s time for suburbia to open up a can of kickass. Heck, even other provinces can pony up a slice of dance music pie – it’s up for grabs really. If pow wow step as popularized by A Tribe Called Red can come out of Ottawa, who knows what could emerge from Kingston? Foxstep maybe. Or reverbia in Cornwall. How about rattlecore from Rexdale? Only time will tell.

Copyright © 2015 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.

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.

DJ on a Bicycle @ Trinity Bellwoods

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Footage and photos by Frankenräver

Things got down n dirty on Saturday May 19th at Trinity Bellwoods in west end Toronto when Johnny Cairns took his juiced up mobile soundsystem to the park. As some of you may recall, Cairns was my first Raver of the Month for 2012. True to his word, Johnny’s been taking his act on the road, throwing impromptu public parties whenever he feels like it; most notably at Bellevue Square on a Sunday in March. This time around, he’s teamed up with Brazilian DJ Jerusa, spinning psy-trance for our sundrenched pleasure. And if that weren’t enough, they’re accompanied by Andrew, the tipsy violinist, improvising harmonies to psychedelic beats. For those of us lucky enough to have been there that evening, it was a treat. Time to bust out the blankets, hula hoops, lovevibes and clandestine consumption of alcoholic beverages. Well, not clandestine enough for some killjoy cops who issued tickets to some unfortunates caught drinking out of a beercan. Damn Ontario’s retarded drinking by-laws…anyways, it was a fun time to be had by all. Let’s hope they get a bigger turnout next time. Spread tha word!!!  

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.

 

Raver of the Month: Captain Colin

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Shiver me timbers – it’s Captain Colin! An ol’ skool pleasure pirate and veteran of North America’s rave scene,  C.C. has graced many a rave and then some. From Seattle to Sault Ste. Marie, Captain Colin has seen plenty of action. Frankenräver conducted a 1 on 1 video interview with the Captain to discuss the vicissitudes of underground culture, vintage gear and what keeps him going after all these years. 

F: Greetings Cap’n!

C.C: Greetings…greetings n love.

F: Greetings n love on this gorgeous, sunny, spring not summer yet but I don’t know what the fuck I am kind of day…

C.C: We’ll call it spring.

F: Yeah, we’ll call it spring. And I’ve gotta ask you man, can you tell me what inspires you to keep raving after all these years?

C.C: Well, I mean it’s all a question of how you determine a rave. I like to party with adults and we like to party and chill ‘til morning.

F: Cuz that’s what adults do, right?

C.C: Exactly. In essence we are still raving but not with the traditional rave characteristics. 

F: Yeah, it’s kinda like being a kid with perks.

C.C: Yes. What inspires me to keep going is the underground party scene in Toronto just keeps getting better and better. And the caliber of all of the people throwing parties keeps improving, the music coming out is just revolutionary and so it’s more fabulous than ever, the underground party scene in Toronto.

F: In your opinion, what’s the main difference between raving in the 21st century vs. the 90’s?

C.C: Well, Toronto’s got quite a sophisticated party scene. And I think the only place you’re going to find real kind of theoretical full raving is at the underage parties. I guess if we’re just going to look at underground partying because that’s really what I’ve been doing, I guess you could call them raves as well. The biggest difference would be the musical diversity nowadays. Nowadays we’re getting a lot more diverse broken beat music, a lot more diverse rooms. It used to be that it would just be a techno room and maybe another techno room (laughter).

F: Yeah…

C.C: Often we got a drum and bass room and a techno room but now we’re just getting a lot more variation. And as well a lot of the producers are doing what I like to do at my parties which is book different styles of music throughout the evening so that flows nicely together as one piece. 

F: Which parties do you promote currently?

C.C: Currently I promote the parties I throw, Bassgator’s parties. We throw a couple of parties each year, big and spectacular and the next one will be in June. As well, a bit of promoting the CirQlar parties which is a blending of epic party situations; graphics, visuals, big deco artists as well as circus performances. They bring in top notch music, epic circus performances, they’re fabulous but you couldn’t really call them a rave cuz they usually end at like 4 a.m. but they’re pretty raving ‘til then (laughter). Their parties are fabulous. I also always enjoy the Suma Collective’s parties, Promise parties. I also promote for the Make It Funky events which are really quite fabulous and they bring in a lot of great talent.

F: So what encouraged you or led you to explore the psy-trance aspect of raving?

Captain Colin contemplates the horizon…and likes what he sees so far…

C.C: My first introduction to the scene is I went to a New Year’s event and I was just like blown away at how when the event ended, everybody at the venue worked together to get the place stripped and clean and get everybody gone right away. And I realized they have a different scene, they work together on things rather than being consumers of events. My first time partying with the psy-trancers was quite interesting because the party we had went until 6 a.m. and like, 14 of us go back to a beautiful loft place to the afterparty. And within 45 minutes 8 of the 12 people are snuggled up and going to sleep and I had no idea why did I do this…this is an after-nap party I didn’t get it. And so we were out on the back porch loving the sun, and they started waking up and coming back to join us and they weren’t planning on going anywhere; that’s why they’d taken a nap, cuz they weren’t going to go home at noon, they were staying all day. And so they just partied different, more a family vibe.

F: Yes.

C.C: So it’s the community entirely is what drew me into the trance scene. And I listen to some of the world’s best trance DJ’s and get to hear some of the best trance available and that really makes a difference in all these trappy and fabulous demonstrations within their field. It all depends on the DJ. 

F: What were some of the best party experience you had back in the day?

C.C: I’d have to say the raves, the rave at the Science Centre like ’97 I think, just blew our minds. And when we got home, my friend lives right beside the Chinese Community Centre and there was some sort of Chinese celebration day. So we got home and we come out on the rooftop of the balcony/patio looking down and they had like a 40 foot Chinese dragon with about 20 or 25 people inside it dancing around right in front of the house and it was just quite a magical event. 

F: Awwh man, that must have been an amazingly trippy scene! 

C.C: It was quite trippy.

F: Would you say that rave culture has helped to define the person that you are today? I mean, look at you, you’re just…raving on! (laughter)

C.C: I consider myself more of a party enthusiast and that’s because I really enjoy having a good time and where having a good time gets people out, and I enjoy spending time with people where they stay and have a good time…

F: Yes…

C.C: I started throwing parties at the age of like, 14, we opened our first club in northern Ontario. I started throwing my first festivals in ’97. So I’ve been in it since the very beginning. Like as soon as I could I started throwing parties. And now it got to a point in 2001 where the events we were throwing got to such a spectacular level that I went on hiatus, because I decided we’re not going to throw any parties unless they’re big and fantastic and just spectacular. And so now that’s what we’re doing with Bassgators; we’re throwing a couple of parties a year and making it spectacular. By spectacular it’s about taking it to the next level: live drummers. For our one year anniversary we had fireworks, a full-blown fireshow, we’re putting it in the best venues, we’ve been using St. Stephen’s In the Fields church in Kensington Market. We’ve got a rave that runs until half an hour before they start feeding the homeless. And we strip down that church, clean it and have it set so they can feed the homeless and I’m down with the priests. I’m down with the people that run the church because we’re throwing celebrations. I mean it is raving but really they’re celebrations.

F: Tell me Captain, what were some of your favourite fashions from back in those days?

C.C: Back in those days, I’d have to say my favourites were Geek Boutique, Snug and Luscious for the ladies. 

F: Luscious! Mmmm….

C.C:  I’ve seen a number of girls with ol skool Luscious overalls on lately. And been wowing over them until somebody told me hers were a knock-off new remake of them which was a little disappointing. I liked having those ol skool wares still kicking. I’ve got some ol skool Snugs here from (lifts leg to show label) I don’t know when…

 F: Oh yeah

 C.C: ’97 ish.

F: Those are hot baby!

C.C: Have you ever messed around with music production in the past?

C.C: Yeah, I’ve been with music, aggressively from about ’91, actually 1990. I produced in the Sault for 4 years and then my studio moved to Toronto and I would take road trips to Toronto and produce in Toronto til about ’97, at which point I realized that my time had gotten everything connected so that something should have been released, but I realized my time had not come yet so I went on hiatus from production but now I’m making music again. And you can see me perform at the next Bassgators party. 

F: When’s that coming up?

C.C: June 2nd

F: Where?

C.C: The location is soon to be revealed at a later date but it is gonna blow your mind!

F: Ol skool – awesome! Well thanks Colin. It was a pleasure speaking with you and having you share your wonderful experiences with us.

C.C: Well I ‘d like to tell you about what’s happening on our west coast because I went to west coast this summer, I went to Basshouse, I went to Shangri-La, I got to party in Vancouver, see what they’re doing. The west coast has an entirely different sound right now. West coast Canada has some phenomenal producers making an epic, new way of bass music which is not dubstep, but something way more fantastic and fabulous; something tribal, something that people need to start tuning into. So everybody start listening to your Vancouver, your west coast producers B.C. out there, they’re making some really delicious crunk. And it’s really important that your ears hear it cuz you gotta hear the good music and that’s what keeps this going for the parties. 

F: That’s right! Support your local talent folks. Awesome dude (Grips).

C.C: Alright! Thank you. 

Apart from promotion and music production, Captain Colin is a trained masseuse, providing excellent massage therapy in a calm environment with ambient music, essential oils and a mineral altar for maximum vibes. His warm, caring personality and professionalism put me at ease; I felt re-aligned and thoroughly relaxed after his expert treatment. Highly recommended.To book an appointment, e-mail dapadun3@yahoo.ca

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

 

Frankenräver’s Farewell Party with Donald Glaude and Jelo

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Roni Size “Brown Paper Bag” Video Shot in Toronto

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 To all the drum n bass headz out there, did you know Roni Size’s “Brown Paper Bag” video was shot in Toronto? You can see the streetcar at 1:22 and St. Osgoode subway station. Ain’t it trippy?!

  Roni Size is a British Dj / producer who achieved tremendous success with his album,  New Forms which debuted in 1997. It is considered to be one of the greatest drum and bass jazz fusion albums. I highly recommend a listen to the double LP. And Size is mentioned in my up and coming book on Toronto’s rave scene (see previous posting). 

Something to be proud of Toronto!


Time 4 Another Sneak Preview! Frankenräver’s E-book on 90’s Rave Scene

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Well folks, it’s time 4 another sneak preview of my up & coming e-book, set to be launched into cyberspace sometime next week. Yay! I’m excited! T.I.M.O. chronicles the hilarious shenanigans of self-professed rave junkie, Gemma “G-Fly” Anderson. Set in 1998 during the height of Toronto’s burgeoning rave scene, G-Fly is encouraged by her gorgeous supermodel friend, Katrina, to keep a journal for forty nine days as an exercise in artistic liberation. Get ready for a page turning, thrill addicting experience, guaranteed to leave you in stitches and jonesing for more!

Warning: This posting contains mature subject matter which some may find offensive. Of course, that only applies to uptight conservatives, religious fanatics and anyone who has never uttered the word “fuck” in their entire lives – you have been forewarned…

Thu Oct.1st – DAY 17

It’s 6:57 a.m & I can hear the wind gusting like crazy. It doesn’t sound very inviting out there. The only reason I’m up is I have to be at work for 9:15 a.m. I hate waking up early in the morning but at least I’ll have the rest of the day to myself & it does get busier at night than during the day. Mom’s quarrelling with Amir to wear a jacket cuz it’s cold out there. He insists his school blazer is enough to keep him warm cuz a big jacket’s gonna kill the style he’s trying to flex. I guess he’ll find out the hard way.

Last night I dreamt I was at a mini-rave. I was in this little room with a few floories who, as usual, were passed out on the floor. For some odd reason, I had my Roni Size c.d. & decided to put it on. When “Brown Paper Bag” dropped, the room was suddenly filled with ravers. They were swaying in trance-like fashion to the seductive jazzy intro, stepping & bopping their heads. I made my way to the front of the crowd, trying 2 feel the vibe. Everyone was on E except me. Then they all disappeared & the room was empty except for 1 girl sweeping the floor. House was pumping from the adjacent room. Guess that’s where everyone went. Two black transsexuals were in the house & 1 of them needed help with his-her bra. I helped him-her hook the bra around her ample bustline. She needed extra help with the front. I watched as he-she did some grotesque folding manipulation of her breasts, which were actually massive folds of loose flesh. When she was done, it looked like cleavage. “Now you know how it’s done honey,” she said, dropping a conspiratorial wink.

So much for anxiety dreams & all that crap. I gotta go now.

Sat Oct. 3 – DAY 18

Well, I’ve managed to skip yet another day but it’s not such a crime. At least it’s not as bad as robbing a liquor store for example. But enuf of that. Today is D-DAY. I’ve bought my ticket & WE ARE GOING!!! I got hyped up in bed this morning just thinking about it. I finally spoke with Shastri on Thursday night. His brother was supposed to be coming with us, but I found out later he was going 2 another rave – “Liquid Groove” – which featured hard techno. “Fusion” (which is the 1 we’re going to) is supposedly more well-rounded with drum & bass & jungle in da mix, as well as house & techno. Should be a rocking party!

Speaking of hyped up, DJ Hype tore shit up last month at the Warehouse for Syrous 5 year anniversary. The line-up to get in was insane but it was worth it. I was chilling with Da Undaground Crew, grooving to Mystical Influence & about to dose my E when some dork knocked it out of my hand. Before I could pick it up, he stepped on it. I was pissed! Luckily the pill was in a baggie but it got crushed to a powder. Blaine advised me to dissolve it in water. I then proceeded to lick the bag & tried not to gag on the supremely horrible taste. By the time Hype came on, I was out of my fucking mind & sweating like crazy. Almost bit the sides of my tongue off from all the grindage. It was amazing to see this geeky looking white dude having the time of his life grinning like mad, scratching & mixing, driving every1 nuts. Oh my God…I swear MC Fats & Rage were like the Dynamic Duo on da friggin mic, especially Fats. His hypnotic voice put me in a trance with the reverb heavy sound FX, tripping every1 right the fuck out. People were literally falling over as they tried to move around during a mindblowing, synth drenched interval of spectacular mindfuckery employed by the masterful Hype. Not only that but Fats had this amazing voice which blew me away cuz not a lot of MC’s can sing. That night was 1 of the best nights for jungle / dnb ever! Pascal was all up there in da mix too, spinning LTJ Bukem. Bukem was like a rainbow waterfall flowing through my mind. Pure bliss! Hype took shit to another level after wrecking pure devastation on the dance floor with Ice Cube’s “West Up” set to jungle, which sent all the junglists & hip-hop heads into a stepping frenzy. My jersey got all torn but I didn’t give a fuck – it was Animal Crackers up in that joint, especially with the high concentration of males jungle always seems to attract. “Front, back, side to side / we be givin’ it up til the day we die/ niggaz hit me up I’ma have to erupt – So MOTHERFUCKER WEST UP!!!  Ya heard!!!

Yesterday I went to buy my ticket at Puff the Magic Dragon before I started my shift & guess who I saw as I was leaving the store!! Do I really need to say his name???! Needless to say, I was just as surprised & elated as he was. After all (& he said it too), what r the odds of us bumping into each other like this? Highly improbable I would say, since we move in different circles outside of raving. I had time to kill so we chilled for a bit. He did most of the talking & I did most of the gawking. I was just drinking him in, absorbing every aspect of his physicality; every blemish, each little strand of hair, inputting all the details into my demented database so I could pull up that file later & savor it lovingly, like a favorite dessert. His 6′ 3″ frame was draped in baggy sweats which couldn’t disguise the fact that he’s got broad shoulders & a killer body to boot. His sparkling, hazelish eyes r so expressive, being framed by delightfully thick, perfectly arched eyebrows. They remind me of dad’s eyes, except his are much lighter, like the color of champagne. He’s also got these juicy, mauve colored lips bracketed by the most adorable dimples & disgustingly straight, pearly white teeth. Shastri’s so friggin fine he oughta be locked up! Why oh why are mixed boys so damn hot?!! I picture him as a gold complected Adonis, batting sooty lashes & grinning shyly on an Olympic pedestal surrounded by screaming harpies. That gilded lily leaf would barely cover his formidable charms to be sure. I’m stunned almost speechless by his eloquent glory. His hands are shapely & well-manicured. I want to feel them on me. I can just imagine his pink tongue lapping up against my labia…OH THIS IS 2 MUCH!! Quite frankly, I would be genuinely surprised & MUCHO RELIEVED if he made a move (but not while under the influence of E). Anyways, we’ll see how this drama plays out.

Well Timo, I’m hooked up for tonight. I’ve got my E & later I’m gonna pick up some weed. It’s costing me a small fortune but I think it will be money well spent. This time I got a hugs & kisses. It’s a cute little thing. According to Eric, it’s supposed to make u feel “rushy rushy.” As long as it doesn’t make me sick, I don’t care. I’ve got to get my butt in gear as I have a busy night ahead of me. Still have to pick up some party favors – glo-stix & lollipops. So I’ll see ya tomorrow. Hope I’ll be coherent / co-ordinated enough to write (YEAH, WHATEVER!!!).

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.

Rave Reviews: Prince’s Welcome 2 Canada Tour, Toronto

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PRINCE WELCOME 2 CANADA TOUR

Air Canada Centre, November 25th 2011, Toronto.

             Arguably, Prince is 1 of the greatest musicians alive. Some of you might wonder what does Prince have to do with raving? The fact that he wrote “Rave unto the Joy Fantastic” qualifies him as rave material in my opinion. Purple Rain was the quintessential soundtrack of my angst filled adolescence, stealthily sowing the seeds of youthful rebellion. So when world renowned Prince fanatic Ed informed me that His Royal Badness was coming to town, I got my Prince disciple pal Monty to snag tickets.

            Welcome 2 Canada was Prince’s first Canadian tour since 2002. Despite the many thousands of mostly middle-aged fans in attendance, hundreds of empty seats remained compared to the full house of the Musicology concert in 2004. Monty and I were almost banished to Bleacherville, which was a disappointing deal for  $117.75.  A giant, luminous rendition of Prince’s unpronounceable symbol served as the stage with a piano poised daintily on the coiled arm. The band was strategically positioned in a recessed pit located on the glyph’s head. Prince’s background singers kicked things off at 9 p.m., shortly before the Purple One emerged on a hidden platform which arose from the centre of the stage amidst enthusiastic screams and rapturous applause, while the perimeter pulsed with multi-coloured light. The Maestro from Minneapolis looked somewhat conservative in black pants and loose fitting tunic surmounted by a metallic necklace, but his slick, James Brown inspired footwork soon put all those rumours of gimpy hips to rest. NPG’s line-up had changed yet again, with mature female singers and musicians such as Ida Nielsen comprising the majority. John Blackwell (drums) was the only face I recognized. It seemed Prince had modified his band to reflect his aging demographic, which I found refreshingly down to earth though the man himself did not look a day over 35. Indeed, the band was tight as Prince proudly proclaimed, yet some essential spark seemed to be missing as the overall tone of the show seemed rather subdued compared 2 the flashy, raunchy antics and energetic dance numbers of Prince’s semi-scandalous past.

            “Gimme a light – let me bask inToronto’s love!” the diminutive diva stated as he swaggered, playfully slicking his coiffed hair. Those cocky, I’m-2-good-for-this-show facial expressions proved priceless. Legendary saxophonist Maceo Parker thrilled the audience with effortless skill during a lively version of  Musicology. Prince blazed a mean guitar streak on A Million Days and surprised me with a cover of Let’s Go! by The Cars. By now, I was being suffused with happy vibes courtesy of the vitamin e I’d popped earlier, unlike some of the semi-retired fans sitting idly in their seats.

            Halfway through his set, Prince changed into a gold satin shirt and performed a medley of greatest hits such as Nothing Compares 2 u, Let’s go Crazy (which had the crowd going wild), 1999 and Yesterday by The Beatles. After a scorching guitar solo on Purple Rain accentuated by bursts of purple confetti, Prince disappeared beneath the stage, his upraised hand grasping a glittery plectrum which closed into a fist as the classic, violin heavy ending went on like a funerary dirge amidst tumultuous applause. Assuming the show was over, some people shuffled out but us diehards remained, expecting  the musical monarch to bestow more jewels upon us. Skipper lived up to our expectations as he returned in yet another wardrobe change, his heels lighting up as he strutted around the darkened stage. “What’s my name!” the artist proclaimed as the lights came up to reveal him swaying seductively behind a sampler featuring a LED display. When Doves Cry heralded the start of yet another medley of the Prince Hit Parade, which segued into Nasty Girl, Sign O’ the Times, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, Hot Thing, I would Die 4 u and Housequake while the intro to Darling Nikki was briefly glossed over. I was really hoping to hear him sing that classic line about “masturbating with a magazine” – no such luck. Drat!

 Despite keeping the lyrical content chaste, Prince’s deeply sensuous persona was especially prominent during this part of the show. A white sleeveless vest displayed well-defined arms, rounded off with two-toned black and white trousers and glittery gold platform wedges. Those who got fooled into walking out truly missed out. After 2 hours and 30 minutes, it seemed as if Prince was just getting warmed up. “If I was your Girlfriend” certainly proved my suspicions right. The Prince of Funk outlasted even his audience as he returned, encore after encore like an unstoppable Terminator. The smaller the crowd got, the more animated Prince became. It was obvious that he loved to jam and thrived on working  with an intimate audience. Some lucky people were invited up onstage for Fly and Jungle Love, and the band rocked the house with a rambunctious interpretation of Play that Funky Music.   

“Ain’t nobody tryin 2 go home!” Symbolina asserted as he stunned us with yet another encore. A brilliant slice of Disco Beat by Sylvester was served up in style, but it was the tribute to Michael Jackson that took everyone by storm. Don’t Stop til you Get Enough brought the crowd to its feet as Prince exhorted the audience to get up and clap for Michael. This gesture of reverence towards an artist long considered to be his rival was truly touching, and demonstrated how much The High Priest of Pop has matured over the years.

“Toronto, I got 2 many hits 4 me 2 go away. I don’t think u understand how many hits we got!” Prince proclaimed with encore number 5. The band launched into 80’s ol skool joints, which managed to coax some of the older heads out of their chairs. This was turning out to be some kind of endurance contest between Prince and his fans. It was an inspiration to see this musical genius, still in fine form at 53, pouring his heart and soul into his music. Indeed, Prince made a point of proclaiming throughout the night that this was “real music” and “You didn’t come here to hear a record being played,” in what could be interpreted as a rebuttal to Jay-Z and Kanye West who’d performed at the A.C.C. the night before. The man also known as Alexander Nevermind closed things off with “Baby I’m a Star” before disappearing triumphantly into the stage cavity, nodding confidently with a smirk of satisfaction on his face as his acolytes screamed their approval. The house lights came on, indicating the musical marathon was officially over. The funk locomotive had finally puffed out after 3 hours and 15 minutes. Prince certainly proved that he’s got staying power and he ain’t going away anytime soon. If His Royal Badness is coming to your town, I highly recommend that you get on board and see this gifted luminary while you still can. Despite the understated nature of his latest offering, Prince is most definitely worth seeing. A hardcore raver indeed.

Copyright © 2011 Frankie Diamond. This article may not be copied in part or whole and posted to another site or reproduced without the express permission of the author.