party reviews : wmc 2001 : wmc 2002


Stereo, Montreal

There was once a venue that embodied clubbing at its best: the sound, the DJ and the vibe that all came together at the right time. For a while it was Twilo that set the bar but since then nothing has quite lived up to that. Until now. Actually I've been hearing about the club Stereo in Montreal for months and months - 5 years in the making with stellar DJs David Morales, Roger Sanchez, Hector Romero, Sander Kleinenberg, Danny Tenaglia - all seemed to have amazing nights there and the legend grew with each enthused recount of Stereo nights from clubbers and DJs alike.

The sound, the amazing sound. It is quite possibly the world's #1 rated analog sound system. To give you the full picture, the original system in Stereo was designed by Angel Moraes and the current analog system in Stereo which replaced the original sound system† in Stereo, has been upgraded, redesigned & re engineered by Shorty of SBS - systemsbyshorty and David Morales. For those who may recall Shorty worked on the sound at Twilo as well. It's the all encompassing sound with bass that breathes heavy on your chest. We did a couple breathing exercises and found it quite difficult to respirate without opening our mouths to relieve the pressure. The top end of the sound is crystal clear. New York based Shorty was actually on hand in Montreal to tweak the system a few days earlier. A welcome touch since so many venues go through the trouble of installing a designer system, only to let it go over the course of time without the proper maintenance and care.

The DJ, the amazing DJ. Hector Romero rules the roost at Stereo. We walked into the club together, only to see Hector greeted by staff and clubbers alike. That nice, warm feeling where everybody knows the DJ and is looking forward to the night. It was like Hector walking into Filter 14 x 100 - bigger and friendlier. At the end of the night while Hector was packing up, one girl came up to the booth to gush about the wonderful night, how she and her friends have never danced so long and whenever she looked up she saw Hector having as good as time as they were. I'm sure thatís' what every DJ lives for.

The vibe, the amazing vibe. It's rare you find a really diverse crowd nowadays on the dancefloor that is solely focused on the music and dancing. In New York, the sub-scenes have gotten so splintered that you have mini-scenes for house heads, hipsters, celebs, ravers, the shirtless boys, students, B&T, trainspotters, etc. In Montreal, it was one egalitarian dancefloor without the DJ worship. Instead it was a symbiosis of music, DJ and dancing that come together in celebration.

As Julian from hotspot eatery and lounge Cafeteria (3581 St Laurent Blvd) told me, people from Montreal don't really consider themselves Canadian they are have their own unique identity that's quasi-European. This adds a beautiful foreign aspect to a visit here, but without the French snootiness. Most similar to New Yorkers who really don't identify with the rest of Americana but are part of a global culture with a unique identity. Although we seem to be a bit marred by being harried & jaded.

Most Stereo regulars refer to the Stereo dancefloor as their living room and even for us first-timers we experienced that same feeling with a roomful of like-minded clubbers. An amazing experience not soon forgotten but taken away as an inspiration to what it's all about.

Piknic Electronik

This weekly summer Sunday event held in the Parc Jean-Drapeu on an island right in Montreal brings the best elements of summer and electronic music together. To define it in NYC terms imagine P.S. 1 in Central Park. Summer in Montreal is a most beautiful thing, more precious for the natives after the long winter months. Underneath a colossal metal sculpture with blue astro-turf pads laid out for dancing. The party is inhabited by dancers young & old with families with toddlers in tow, clubbers, students and everybody else. It was a beautiful thing with music my boyfriend referred to as new-wave tinged house - the current buzz phrase being microhouse.

Take a trip - Montreal is worth it. Only an hour plane ride or a 6 hour car ride.

posted on 9:23 PM

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