Downtown Vancouver offers a vast array of popular clubs, and spending a night at most of them usually involves unreasonable cover charges, bro-packed dance floors, and generic tunes you can hear anytime on any given radio station. But have no fear: hidden beneath the flashy veneer of Vancouver ‘party life‘ is a rich and raw underbelly of dance, overflowing with soul-filled alternatives to the debauchery of Granville Street.
LOVE DANCING is among the finest of those alternatives, an appropriately named monthly party that has, over the course of the past three years, established itself as a consistently high-quality night of fresh music and good vibes. It’s also the joint moniker of local DJ’s Warm It Up Chris and JLM, the minds (and soul) behind the project. Rather than catering to any specific crowd, the duo’s self-declared mission is to “provide people with a comfortable and open space to go wild,” making use of Vancouver’s intimate environments to bring some of the most influential DJs and producers in dance music to the city, names like Theo Parrish, Ben UFO, Julio Bashmore, Floating Points, and most recently, Axel Boman.
The venues they choose—The Waldorf, W2 Café, and Electric Owl, just to name a few—are rarely repeated two months in a row, and the musical selection never is. To maintain their deep, genre-defying catalogue of tunes, the pair draws on their years of experience behind the decks and involvement in the local electronic music scene (Chris was one of the curators for this year’s installment of the brilliant New Forms Festival, and the duo are responsible for Mood Hut, a record label/studio space based in Chinatown).
The latest LOVE DANCING took place in the back room of the Waldorf’s Cabaret, the perfect space to accommodate the small, but dedicated group of people who showed up to dance their hearts out. For the first two hours, Chris and JLM took turns throwing down a mélange of nu-disco, classic funk, and straightforward house, jumping between decades and genres in ways that simply wouldn’t occur to most. It’s difficult to describe a LOVE DANCING set because each one is as unique and diverse as the next; the only way to really know what they’re all about is to find out for yourself on the dance floor.
Around midnight the duo finished their set, but a LOVE DANCING night has only started when they step down from the podium, because that’s when their guest for the night takes the stand.
Hailing from Sweden, Axel Boman has come onto the scene in the past few years with his deep house tunes and remixes, which are both entrancing and light-hearted at the same time. Mixing all sorts of house vibes in with his own material, Boman made no effort to conceal the amount of fun he was having, frequently interacting with the crowd and flashing his winning Nordic smile.
Predictably, the highlight of the set came when he dropped “Purple Drank,” a lush, sexy tune from his 2010 release Holy Love, featuring an instantly recognizable vocal sample that certainly made the night for anyone familiar with Boman’s work. His set went on into the night, and not even the house lights coming on were able to kill the music or the dancing, both of which only ended once the bouncers left the crowd—and Boman—no other choice.
LOVE DANCING has yet to announce their next party, but following them on Facebook is something most people will probably find impossible to regret once the next installment rolls up.