Erol Alkan

Erol Alkan Gets Social With Toronto

I've always wanted to hate the Social. I dislike Queen St. West in general and nearly every time I go there, whether by myself or with friends, I find myself stuck in some corner, watching bored people evaluate their standing on the social ladder and rehash the same-old misadventures they hope to top that night.

My roommate, being a newcomer to the east end, is still very fond of the opposite side of the city and has often insisted that I accompany him on the $10 cab ride for what he always promises will be "a good time".

I pretty much always refuse, even in the face of admittedly excellent artists such as Rye Rye, but it wasn't until I heard that Erol Alkan was due to hit the Social that my resolve started to crumble.

Here is one of the most reputedly down-to-earth DJs of the day spinning at a club I have an admitted (albeit unproven) bias against. Not only that but he's very talented and he usually plays much larger (and more expensive) venues in other cities.

What was I to do? I couldn't exactly pass this kind of opportunity up.

With only a couple of drinks and some hastily-smoked cigarettes to keep us company, my roommate and I headed west to see what Erol would bring to Toronto.

We arrived just as he got started and I was immediately taken with what he was doing and the crowd's response to it. It was the kind of set where you feel guilty about stepping outside beause you know that you're missing at least half-a-dozen great moments inside.

Indeed, many of those in attendance could be seen inhaling their smokes with the kind of speed one normally associates with a waiter on a smoke break. It was just that kind of party. Washrooms and bars were similar impediments; very necessary but meant to be overcome so that one could get back to the music.

Every track he played was a hit with his fans and his obvious enthusiasm for the night definitely rubbed off on those around him. I had many conversations with people who were happy to be there and while they might have been tired from a weekend's worth of partying, this wasn't an event they were about to miss.

Quite a few of them claimed to share my apprehension of the venue as a refuge for pretentious wankery but no one could accurately pinpoint any negative vibe hanging about. In light of the lack of any actual proof of wankery, I was forced to add the Social to my list of clubs that don't leave me wanting to become a sonic hermit.

While one could argue that Erol played a big part in establishing the positive energy that flowed throughout the venue, I couldn't find any reason to doubt that any equally-excellent musician playing there would find a less-than-stellar response to his work. I, for one, am happy to be proven wrong and look forward to going back in the future.

As a DJ who has claimed that he's only "as good as [his] last gig", Erol Alkan has nothing to worry about today.


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