Archive for the '1991' Category

Jimmy J

exodus boy rave flyer

November 16th, 1991. This little geezer certainly has his work cut out for him. I was 17 when I went to this event which was below the average age of attendees. I discovered this by chatting with ladies who always inquired about my age and once I divulged they immediately evacuated from my vicinity. In subsequent years there was an influx of barely-teen ravers which was a detractor for the originals and no good for the scene or the kids. The tagline Come and Join the Future was most likely inspired by the classic tune by Tuff Little Unit.

Alx of London

Alx and mum18 years ago to the day, November 9th ’91, I left London, England for Toronto. I’d never been to Canada before and knew very little about the country I was visiting. My entire cultural awareness consisted of Degrassi, The New Music, and Kids in the Hall.

I was going to Toronto ostensibly for a vacation, but sub-consciously I was ready for an adventure. I’d met a Canadian woman a year earlier at a club in London and the way I’d met her was profound. On the night I met her I couldn’t decide whether to go out or not. It was the first time I’d had the thought… ‘I’ll never know what might happen or who I might meet if I don’t go out’. That decision would, without exaggeration, completely change my life.

I was 20 years old, ambitious, and up for something new. I’d already experienced a lot in my teen years…. At 16 I was working for the most successful underground club promoter in London. Philip Sallon ran The Mud Club which was the Studio 54 of England. Every famous artist of the time used to come down – George Michael, Duran Duran, Bananarama, Grace Jones, Boy George, a very young Kylie Minogue, the guest list was a who’s who of 80’s pop culture. I worked for Philip for 5 years, learning everything about club life. It was a crazy education, just like the decade. I remember one night walking around a club with Boy George and Philip Sallon holding the equivalent of $100,000 in a plastic bag. It was the takings from the Mud Club and we’d gone out after hours without taking the money home.

619a CollegeWhen I touched down in Toronto, a cold November Saturday afternoon, I was keen to explore the nightlife of my new city. I nearly flew home again when my friend’s room-mates took me to a country and western bar. Fortunately that was the first and last Country and Western gig I ever attended.

It didn’t take me long to discover the underground party scene. The first clubs I went to were Bar One at Yonge/Isabella, Cameron House Wednesday and RPM (now Guvernment). The second record I heard in Canada (at Bar One) was Spice by my very close friend EON, who recently, and very sadly passed away. I made friends with Jennstar who was working the cash desk at RPM, and Yvonne who was working the door at Cameron House. Within a week I’d found my first Warehouse party and this was a scene that would totally blow my mind.

I’d never seen anything like the Toronto warehouse scene before, and the music (Chicago House/Garage) was simply incredible. I was used to some pretty high production values in England, but finding myself in a simple warehouse, with one revolving light in the corner, and 500 styled up fashionistas and drag queens, all dancing the Bus Stop to Aly-Us Follow Me, was unfucking believable. That night I fell in love with Toronto.

EON and Mr C from the ShamenBack in England I’d been fortunate to go to some of the earliest raves, before they were even called that. ‘Clink Street‘ was run by my friend Mr C, and was a legendary multi-storey warehouse party in South London. Boy George threw a ‘rave’ for his birthday party with a smiley shirt as the invite. Others fade into the haze of memory.  Acid House was the music and from those early events in 87/88 and the club nights that surrounded them, the first true raves like Sunrise and Biology emerged, attracting thousands, and eventually tens of thousands of people.

While I was finding myself infatuated with Toronto’s four-to-the-floor house, I was still curious as to whether there was any kind of a rave scene in the city. Everyone told me they didn’t exist. Toronto was “too uptight”, they would “never be allowed”, if anywhere “they would be in Montreal”.

While it was clear that what I call a rave (thousands of people, a one-off, usually secret location, major production values) clearly did not exist in Toronto, one of the DJs from Peter, Tyrone and Shams told me about a regular Saturday night at 318 Richmond called Exodus. They told me it was the only night in the city playing Techno, and it was run by some Scottish guys. I couldn’t wait to check it out.

I remember walking into 23 Hop that weekend and being greeted by… FOG, pounding techno and a very bright strobe light. I don’t like strobe lights when they are used continuously without other lighting, and alongside the intense smoke it makes navigating the dancefloor a challenge. I could see shadowy figures through the haze and the music was pounding and echoey. I figured maybe there was a couple of hundred people there but it was hard to be sure. Thankfully I found my way to the back corridor which led to the DJ booth. What struck me was how much fun everyone was having. Much of the fun was eminating from the DJ box.

Joan's flatThat night I met a lot of people who would ultimately become key figures in the early Toronto rave scene – Dr No, Malik X, Danny Henry, Mark Oliver, Sean L, Terence Leung and Anthony and John who ran the night. I spent the rest of the night partying in the DJ booth and occasionally venturing out into the fog. I was blown away by Malik X and Dr No’s MC skills and general deck-mastery, and I realized this was an incredible night for all those involved.

The following day I made up my mind. I’d witnessed two amazing scenes in Toronto in less than a week – the Warehouse Scene and Exodus at 23 Hop. The common factor was a complete lack of production values, made up for by an intense passion among those who attended. The numbers were very small – maybe a thousand people between both scenes. But that didn’t bother me. The question that was running threw my mind was… “What would these enthusiastic, fun, cool party goers do if they experienced some top notch production values?”.

I decided to throw Toronto’s first rave. I picked a Friday so as not to disrespect the other promoters, and Toronto’s first rave ‘experiment’ was dialed in for Friday December 13th 1991… Chemistry was about to be in session.

Jimmy J

exodus e flyer

November 9th, 1991. “Starts with an E, Ends with an S, Exodus!” This is the first flyer where the “Booming System Collective” moniker appears but strangely none of the members’ names do. It’s also the first and only time the DJs who played upstairs are listed: Peter, Tyrone and Shams labeled special guests. Dino and Terry were also regulars on the second floor.

Jimmy J

This is the 3rd installment in our series of Radio London recordings. Press play and you’re knee deep in a rare interview between Malik X and Roger S. (aka Roger Sanchez). They speak about the UK scene and discuss a “rave” held later that evening 167 Church (The Party Centre) where the two will be spinning. Malik also makes also makes some bang-on comments about the future of Toronto’s scene.

I’m fairly certain this interview pre-dates Exodus events and was likely recorded in the summer of 1991, perhaps even earlier. Around this time a posse of UK punters had united in Toronto and were on a mission to rave and Malik was describing warehouse parties as such.

This tape was compliments of Captain B. Mental a fact made obvious by two things: the Malik shout-out mash-up at the beginning made up of numerous B. Mental mentions and the stop and start B. Mental tape deck mixing I’ve previously mentioned. Having said that the recording isn’t entirely Radio London, but towards the end more of Malik’s sound bites appear “L-L-L-L-L-Locking your radio…”

It’s also full of a lot of obscure tracks that we’ve been unable to identify, so please post a comment if you recognize any of the tracks not listed below.

Track List:

  • Kicksquad – Soundclash
  • After Dark – Cardiac
  • De Lite – Wild Times
  • Arthur Baker – Kiss The Ground (dub)
  • Warp Factor 3 – Rhythm Will Make You Move
  • Sub System – Subhouse
Jimmy J

such a feeling rave

Saturday October 26th, 1991. Exodus touched down at 318 with Such a Feeling. The title was was likely inspired by Bizarre Inc’s track with the same name – an Exodus mid-rush favorite.  This is the earliest double sided rave flyer in our possession. Also note “Featuring The Booming Sound System” perhaps the original moniker of the DJ crew that would eventually settle on The Booming System Collective.

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