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Does Toronto Really Love Britpop?

A few weeks ago Kensington Market’s Neu+ral Lounge announced on Stillepost that they were looking for djs and party organizers to take over their Saturday night slot. Organizers of Eat Your Greens, a Britpop, Mod and Soul night, have decided to leave the venue for the El Mocambo, and will be doing so starting February 10.
Last weekend Neu+ral announced that the new Saturday night will be called Kensington Station, and will be hosted by DJ Lawrence, who you may have seen spinning at Queen West’s Lot 16. Strangely, Lawrence and Neu+ral are promoting the event as an Indie, Britpop and ‘Trash’ night (whatever that means), and promise to play bands like Joy Division, Blur, Ride and the Bluetones among others. Another Britpop night?
To put it lightly, the organizers at Eat Your Greens are unhappy with the decision, and vocalized these complaints on the messageboard. As apologies are made and the dust settles, a few important questions remain: Are there enough people in Toronto who listen to 80s and 90s British Pop music to sustain both nights? When DJ Lawrence promises to play “cutting edge Britpop,” what exactly does that mean? Why doesn’t Neu+ral try something new?
While many local music fans will shrug in disbelief, none of this should be too shocking. After grunge and alternative music lost momentum in the 90s, some music fans turned to the cheeky and fashionable sounds produced in the UK. Nights like Blow Up (which only ended last year) and Mod Club started at the Lion and Lava. Eventually the Mod Club Theatre was established and the Vespa store emerged.
Apparently, Toronto hearts this Britpop and Mod stuff like crazy. The real test comes on February 10 when Eat Your Greens and Kensington Station go head to head: Will Toronto embrace two British themed nights on the same night, or will one prevail? Or, will both nights self-destruct out of poor attendance? And finally, does anyone care?
Photo courtesy of tantek of Flickr.


  • kevin bracken

    I think it’s clear: the people like to dance! :)

  • Kate

    Spirit of 1996 lives on!

  • Jake

    That was a really nice read. Thanks. I won’t plug our event to much but all involved with the relocation are pretty confident. To be able to celebrate one hundred parties under the EYG banner, all at capacity, is evident that the DJ’s and I are doing something right! Impersonation is the biggest form of flattery I guess so we can’t feel to glum about a little competition. We our moving on from the moody postings and just concentrating on creating a fantastic celebration on February 10th. The more the merrier and feel free to drop us a line if you fancy coming out.

  • Shawn Micallef

    Clubs and promoters will always be in epic battles over nothing with each other. The most irritating thing about the old Mod Club nights at Lava was the bravado, claims of being the truest or hardest core (I suppose that’s Stillepost bread and butter). Who cares? Or at least, I didn’t care. It was just fun to dance too, same with Blow Up. All that really matters is a good track list.
    I think Toronto — or Ontario — has a particular Brit Pop connection. I think it’s the vestige of being a colony, and though multicultural, many kids in the scene had parents born somewhere in the UK.
    In Windsor, Brit Pop was always around, where as some of our American friends were more in to the usual college rock.

  • Finch

    Although britpop nights are still going on I would hardly say that they are going strong. They have been watered down by catering to a larger audience by playing a lot of indie music that I don’t think fits in. More importantly the “scene” is dead and is now attending by a crowd that neither posesses the style or attitude.
    EYG has one of the ugliest crowds I have ever witnessed and the Mod club is over run with gino’s who don’t mind forking out $$$ for over priced everything.
    Jake, lets give credit where credit is due and that is to Davey Love. True, he had the advantage of running Blow-up during the 90′s britpop phase but he did what he did with style and taste and didn’t cater to the crowd. He didn’t need to cause he knew what to play and if you didn’t like it then you shouldn’t have been there. He played soul, mod rock, psyche and garage to boot. EYG, Mod club, Shes got standards are just poor imitators of Blow-Up.
    Before Blow-Up there was a strong scene of scooterists, mods, skins, rude boys and soulboys who held their own dance parties. I know, I was a part of them. The motivation was not to pack in as many people as you could and grab $$$; it was about hanging with like minded people who dug the music and all that went with it. We were riding our Vespa’s while Mark Holmes was standing in the dark

  • Jake

    I’m glad you liked Blow up. I have been fortunate enough to work with Davy on various events, actually, he is thanked on the inside sleeve of the compilation for his kick start to what we are doing now. Davy is a very creative bloke and a mate of mine. Trevor & Duncan are the lads in the dj booth at EYG, I’m sure you remember them from Blow up.(both veterans of the scene you miss so terribly, and both fine looking chaps to boot) We created EYG for people to come out to on a Saturday night, were not expecting it to be preserved in the Smithsonian Institution. It’s a laugh! A laugh for all walks of life, “Ugly” folks included. Bottom line mate is, don’t attend if you don’t enjoy. Zoom airlines will get you to Brighton for a few hundred quid and you can reminisce on the beach in the foot steps of Phil Daniels. (smiles) All the promoters you listed with criterscism are simply filling a void and all tend to be doing rather well or people would not attend their nights.
    Cheers, I do respect your opinion! This was not intended for conflict, just responding. (I apologies to the site administrators as I know this is not necessarily a forum for one on one discussion).

  • Kezza

    Well I just moved back to Toronto from the UK and I think EYG is a great night! (hi jake) weird that I happened to come across this message board. Anyway, Finch..congratulations on being so in the ‘scene’…we all bow to your superior knowledge of what is/was fun..forever? …get over it..move on. What would you suggest that we do, stay at home and be bitter on message boards? Or go out and dance and listen to good music where we can get it in Canada!

  • Mike w

    Ugh. As if the 1990s weren’t enough, Brit Pop’s tyranny still lives strong in the 2000s.
    My only contention is that Brit Pop nights are horrible for dancing, since DJs rather play their favourite songs more than anything danceable (ever try to dance to “Hang the DJ” and not feel silly?).
    Usually, people just end up milling on the dance floor to the strains of Charlatans UK. Not my idea of a good time.

  • Lawrence

    This Sat will be the last Pop Noir @ Lot16 I would like to thank everyboy who made it out to Pop Noir over the last two years, to all the people who danced, drank, screamed, fell over, sang, clapped, bought me shots, asked for requests, gave joanne their phone number and allowed me to play my old Blur records! To all the bands who played and the guest DJ’s & of course Lot16 and their bar staff who have been incredible!! I will miss you!
    Those who have read Stillepost over the past week and this Torontoist article, may already know that I be DJ’ing a new weekly event called Kensington Station @ Neu+ral as of Feb 10th.
    There has been quite a bit said about Kensington Station and me in general however I would like to say that Eat your Greens decided to move to the El Mo long before I answered the Stillepost posting for the vacancy at Neu+ral. I would also like to wish The Eat your Greens boys all the best for their new night. I am totally passionate about Britpop and Indie music in general and as long as we have these type of nights I think we should all be happy that we have an alternative to what happens in the entertainment district every saturday.
    I hope you see all you Pop Noir crowd at Neu+tral on Sat Feb 10th!

  • Jorge

    I’m glad to see that EYG has gone over to the Elmo. I had the chance to attend recently and had a blast.
    Its a little bit a kind of a continuation of Blow Up that had residence there for a bunch of years.
    Some DJ’s do play there faves but I’ve always seem tonnes of people dancing at all brit pop places in TO.
    I used to go to Blow Up on a regular basis with good friends back in my college years (95-98) and glad to see that “scene” is still up and going strong. Heck I remember going to the Lemon Drop on McCaul with the giant mod target and tearing the dance floor a new one. Get Up!! Like a Sex Machine!!

  • brokenengine

    Are people really arguing over a britpop dance night? Jake’s totally right: It’s done for a laugh. Detractors should get over it. And themselves. Find something worthwhile to argue about!

  • Dwayne

    How hard is it to DJ a Britpop night? Play your blur, Trainspotting soundtrack, move into Common People, dabble in Belle & Sebastien, maybe some ska and 80s stuff. Meh.

  • Dan Abnormal

    Anyone try MAKE-OUT at Revival on College (right across the street from Mod Club)? Head and shoulders above any other Britpop night

  • Robby G

    Yes. Somebody out there cares.