NXNE Club Land Curator Series: Jayemkayem22 June 2018 / by Rahul Mannapperuma (author)
This year’s NXNE Clubland night hosted by Jayemkayem, was truly something special. It was a night of youthful exuberance mixed with optimism and forward facing music provided by some of the city’s most vibrant talents. I was fortunate enough to find myself part of the night from its dance floor filling hours early in the night to its chaotic, sweaty end.
The corner of Dundas St W. and Ossington is one of the best intersections to stumble onto in Toronto at night. Many people would see the Entertainment District as the heartbeat to the city’s nightlife but I would argue that they have not truly explored the city enough. But I digress…
The SOSO Food Club is one of Toronto’s newest hotspots fashioning itself as a bar/lounge/club hybrid of sorts. This is one of the newest venue additions to this year’s NXNE and comes out as a truly unique spot to experience local talent. SOSO sports an open view into its bar hall and a neon lit entry. The vibrant colours bleed into the street in a warm and inviting way, promising a welcome and fun night inside.
When you walk in, you are greeted by neon lights accenting each of the different rooms, colourful and artsy decor that is equal parts lounge and bar hall and a crowd that is looks right at home. At the far end of this busting bar is the dance hall, hidden away in the darkness like a secret waiting for you to discover it. As you make your way to the back, you are greeted with the haziness of the fog from inside, and pulled in by the rolling sound system that does a great job of providing the heartbeat to the venues crowd that is content mixing mingling & dancing into the night.
NXNE curator Jayemkayem is known as an active member of the Toronto electronic scene. She has continued to be involved in the club scene as well an ambassador of Toronto talent on a more global level. For the night’s lineup, she curated an energy packed bill comprised of Ace Dillinger, Coco Supreme, Dom Dias x Just John and Freeza Chin.
Arriving just as opener Ace Dillinger began her set, I made my way to the dance floor in the back which at the time was still sparsely populated with a few people arriving on time and mingling. The crowd around 9:30 was still in the lounge and in and out of the dance floor as people were laying back for the rest of the show to start. Ace Dillinger’s set ran the gamut across a variety of electronic music genres. Her selections began with slower R&B staples and ventured on towards Baltimore/Jersey club selections as she warmed the crowd up. Her versatility and opening set really set us on track for a great night.
Up next was Coco Supreme, who seamlessly followed the club sound and pushed it even deeper off the experimental edge. Her set time from 11-12:30 was perhaps the most forward sounding and high energy of the night. The crowd at Soso began to pack the dance floor around midnight and she was more than keen to keep them there. I was thoroughly impressed with her selections and particularly enjoyed her dropping MC GW’s "Artura ou Surta." I did however note that with her more experimental style, her mixing skills left a bit to be desired. The high energy sound and crowd did however make it all come together for a fantastic experience. It was gritty, raw and a lot of fun.
Just John together with Dom Dias who was his DJ transformed the dance floor into a mini concert. This was a welcome change in format and proved to be the peak in the energy levels for the night as Just John went about working the crowd through his set in the intimate venue.
Wrapping up the night was Freeza Chin, the iconic Toronto DJ who made a name for himself in the late 2000s and is known for bringing grime music to Canada. His set went on to just after 3am and went through some more laid back hip hop and grim. This set was a very strong performance as Freeza took his time to cool down the crowd and end off with a bang. The last hour allowed visitors to once again mix and mingle before the end of the night.
The NXNE Clubland Night curated by Jayemkayem was a resounding success for all the right reasons: the music was eclectic & forward facing, the crowd was diverse and open-minded and the venue was fresh and provided the perfect backdrop for the night. In addition to enjoying the music through the night, I also enjoyed photographing the venue and show.
From a larger perspective, the night had a very strong communal feel that is reminiscent of previous successful NXNE shows. I saw groups of friends mix and mingle with each other through the night, strangers become friends and most importantly the community came out in force to support local artists.
I strongly believe that each of the acts will continue to grow significantly in the following year and look forward to more artist showcases/platforms for them to make their mark. I would highly recommend checking out future events with these artists on the bill and would put down the SOSO Food Club as a venue to visit this summer.
Thanks for the awesome vibes NXNE!