Noted for having one of the most immersive soundsystems in North America, Montreal's Stereo Afterhours has been using its appeal to audiophiles, gays, and late night thrillseekers to anchor itself as the city's longest running afterhour institution for over 12 years. Though Stereo also books some of the greatest names in techno on Fridays, it is a tried and tested house music haven, so you can only imagine the excitement when it was announced that Chicago icon Chez Damier and UK house figure Jimpster were going to play in Montreal at Stereo on the same evening.
On this particular night, the crowd was a mix of house heads, mid 20-30 somethings and the usual Ed Hardy-clad neighborhood party boys just looking for a place to dance. A mixed crowd always has a potential for a great atmosphere. However for this to happen, communication is key. Although Damier and Jimpster's selection was impeccable and fluid, ranging from festive, horn-driven Chicago Jack and raw '90s reworks served by Damier to deeper more percussive modern tech house by Jimpster, the lack of sufficient communion between DJ and crowd, and crowd amongst themselves, transpired into a somewhat tame atmosphere.
Despite this, there were several wonderful moments. Whether it was Damier remixing Whitney Houston with an old Perscription track, Jimpster dropping Steffi's "Yours," or that sly dancer lofting like there was no tomorrow, there were glimmers of what could've been. Maybe it was competition from the following Saturday night featuring Daniel Bell (by the same promoter) or maybe it was just the February cold. It only affirms that times have indeed changed for Montreal: House legends no longer easily fill the rooms of an afterhour club rooted in over a decade of house music. That's disappointing: Such efforts of quality electronic music promoters should never be taken for granted.