Since it's opening last October, the Velvet Speakeasy has been responsible for a string of outstanding bookings and has generated buzz as the only new club to stand the test of Montreal's unforgiving and quickly changing nightlife. Situated in the cavernous cellar of a semi-upscale hotel, Velvet's long candle-lit tunnel sets the tone. The club has cozy stone walls, and the most unique DJ booth in the city—a former grand piano tucked away in the corner beside the bar and what looks like a Renaissance painting of Marie Antoinette hanging in the back.
This pseudo-bohemian environment doesn't always reflect the people and politics of those regularly attending, but Seuil's Montreal debut showed how Velvet is leaning more and more towards the hair toss and bottle service crowd and less towards the music savvy clubber who wants to go out and dance all night. Musically speaking, the locals Hear (Made in Montreal) and Ostrich (13%) both did an outstanding job at starting and ending the night with great energy, mixing and selection. 13% is the group responsible for bringing Detroit minimal techno icon Daniel Bell to the famed Stereo club recently, and they've been offering similar bookings over the course of the year that they've been working in the city.
As a result, Seuil was an obvious booking: Along with the likes of dOP and Danton Eeprom, he's become one of France's most prominent producers. Touring around the release of his debut full-length, Chamaeleonidae, he played a great set of the latest in heavy, minimal house grooves and the room was packed at peak time, but he wasn't so successful at getting people's attention or taking us anywhere with the music. This isn't uncommon for European DJs and producers not accustomed to the limitations of a two hour set. Seuil's performances are better experienced as long hypnotic overtures that give him time to surprise and take the listener to a few different places or emotions. His set went by very quickly, leaving it up to Hear and Ostrich to wake everyone up after he finished.