The night started off with a hook. My name wasn’t on the list. Great. I had brought a guest thinking that I could get into a sold out show and came ended up empty handed. Luckily, my tongue was as quick as my words, and I was able to talk my way into Celebrities on Friday. A hiccup had now turned into a victory. Score.
As the double doors pushed open, a green light hit me on the way in. A floor-to-ceiling Heineken banner framed the entrance. Heineken. Heineken. Heineken on all sides. Cute girls in shoulder-padded green dresses ran about with only one purpose: to wrap their arms around guys with an Instagram account. Tag the photo with a Heineken-specific hashtag, and they presented you with a promotional beer. Hashtag beer. Hashtag Instaclub livin’. Hashtag Celebz. Hashtag Thomas got about five free beers that night, yo-yo-ing back to the Heineken booth with a recycled photograph. Thanks, Heineken, for the cheap, top shelf beer at a low shelf price.
The price tag for the night, however, carried a higher number than the usual weekend at forty bucks. Yet, even so, Friday night crowds are Friday night crowds. And, even more so, Friday night crowds at Celebrities are Friday night crowds at Celebrities, meaning neither bros nor hos were in short supply (a sharp reminder of why I don’t frequent downtown clubs). The room was hot and heavy. Fucked up and out of control. Drugged up and spinning down. Down. Down. Time to grab another free beer and move upstairs for Kaytranada’s set.
Standing on the upper balcony allowed me a bird’s eye view of the club, to watch the spooks goof around from my wrap-around deck. The club was a pack of raised arms and whistles. A swarm of screams and packed bodies pulsing to the smooth beats of HW&W’s Kaytranada. Montreal native Kaytranada, aka Louis Kevin Celestin, was swarmed by limbs. From above, the tightly packed crowd looked like a bee hive. People chaotically buzzed around in a circle until they found a partner to dance with. The only constant was Kaytranada on centre stage.
As for the music, Kaytranada delivers a mix of hip-hop, jazz, funk, and disco, all mashed into a tight electro package. Slow jams and club bangers, all of his beats carried a certain smoothness that hypnotized the crowd. Watching from up top, I could see the pulse change from hard and sharp to smooth and cool once Celestin started spinning. Popular tracks such as is remix of Janet Jackson’s “If” and his original “At All” had everyone in the club yearning for an endless night. The set was complete. No complaints on the music whatsoever. The only complaint I heard from some passersby (which I agreed with) was the choice of venue. Sure, the newly renovated Celebrities boasts an improved sound system (along with some fancy ceiling lights), but a more intimate show would have been welcome. Beggars can’t be choosers, however. Next time, with the way he’s been rising in popularity, Celestin will most likely be spinning at the Commodore. You can quote me on that.