Groundbreaking female DJ pays Footwork final tribute
Footwork is shutting down its current club district location for-ever, and while the gap they'll leave in the night life for Toronto's most serious house and electronic fans will be immediately felt, the nightclub is going to go out with a bang rather than a whimper. Footwork have five more shows planned before they shut down on October 19th, the first of which is this Friday, featuring Miami talent (and ex Toronto resident) Sydney Blu, known as one of the world's best and most influential female DJs. She will also DJ the club's closing party.
Sydney Blu got her start here in Toronto, though she has a residency now at Mansion Miami. She's toured the world, played with Deadmau5, throws huge A-list parties, and in 2009 launched her own label, Blu Music Records, which beatport charts now list as one of the most successful in their history. I tend to hate tacking the word female before a noun like "artist" or "DJ," but can admit that in the electronic / DJ scene, and in the music industry in general, it's still a huge thing for a woman to succeed on her own terms, and many female artists are aware they become a role model just by showing up. Confident, take-no-shit Blu seems to understand this.
In April of this year, Blackhole Recordings began a documentary series called "Being Sydney Blu." The forth episode is Toronto focused as Blu, ecstatic to be back in the city that made her, DJ's at Pride and then at Footwork. In the video Jeff Chow, first promoter to book Blu, recalls: "The female game was very different than it was now. I looked at her not just as a DJ, but as a potential role model for the whole industry." A friend of Blu's recalls laying down some blunt advice: "You can do anything you set your mind to — just be prepared to take a lot of shit. It's not going to be easy: you're a girl and they won't take you seriously and you're going to work twice as hard, but you can do this."
In an episode released this summer Blu also speaks of her adoration for Footwork. "Footwork was voted the number four club in North America this year, and that made me so happy. I've been playing there pretty much since they opened, which is about eight years now, and it's so great to finally see them get their recognition they deserve. The owners are two guys who just love music; their bookings are some of the best underground DJs in the world and the vibe is something that you can't even explain, you just have to experience it for yourself. They are a family to me. There's really nothing like this place in the world." Footwork fans can take some solace in the rumors that the club owners are scouting for new digs — Annex Wreckroom?
Footwork's five final shows are listed here. Sydney Blu will DJ Friday night at Footwork with Starving Yet Full (the Lead singer of Azari & iii), and again at the club's closing party on Saturday, October 19th.