At a recent party headlined by DJ Victor Calderone, you might have seen DJs Chris Murray and Ashley Gauthier wandering around and squinting in perplexity. Barrymore’s had just installed a new sound system and something wasn’t quite right. “We went to the sound tech and found there was a filter on some of the highs,” Murray says. “Most people wouldn’t be able to tell, but we’re so much into sound.” Which is why the music at their new recurring party, Sashay, should be “fucking good.”
Murray and Gauthier have over 30 years of experience DJing and promoting between them. They both worked at Flamingo’s (closed in 2012) for its Saturday event Flamingo Strut, booking high-profile acts like Grammy Award-winning DJs David Morales and Hex Hector.
“The event that always did well at Flamingo was the Saturday night DJ stuff,” Murray says. “It seems like there’s not much for anyone who wants to go out and dance or see a DJ in Ottawa now, apart from Pride in the summer. And we thought that if we could do an event, we’d recreate some of what Flamingo Strut had — the big-name DJs, the dancing — but do it really well and only a few times a year, once each season.”
For the inaugural event, Sashay: Spring Edition, Murray and Gauthier will open for the internationally renowned Montreal-based DJ Stephan Grondin, who’ll be spinning electronic music that doesn’t skimp on the vocals.
One of Grondin’s musical collaborators, Kapri, will sing the track “Screaming Love,” a new song she plans to release this summer. And because a party without drag is like a day without sunshine (or sparkles or whatever), Koko Domenique Shennel and Markida Brown will perform. “Markida does weird shit sometimes, but in a good way,” Murray says. “I know at Barrymore’s she’s planning a huge outfit. She says, ‘Chris, I don’t know if it’s going to fit on the stage.’”
But — and Murray can’t emphasize it enough — it’s all about the music. The Calderone party was the first big dance event at Barrymore’s since the new sound system installation, and Sashay will be its first gay club event. “The system is phenomenal. I’ve played a lot in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto and it’s a real treat to have a venue in Ottawa that has such good sound.”