Acid, Disco, DJ, Downtempo, Drum 'n' Bass, Dubstep, Electro, Electronic/Dance, Experimental, House, Microhouse, Soul, Techno, World Music
Freakeasy’s two-year run in the underground loft scene is over but the vibe lives on in a post-Thanksgiving soiree at Metro that features Deee-lite’s former songstress, Lady Miss Kier. The Freakeasy 2nd Anniversary Freakin’ Ball celebrates the continued tenure of the fabled Freakeasy initiative and rumor has it this won’t be the last time it visits Metro. Expect the finest underground sounds from the illmeasures DJs, including Striz and Justin Reed, a live set from Brad Miner, Radiohiro and MC Zulu. Additional highlights include live art installations around the venue to complement the musical performances. Presale tickets are available at http://freakeasy.net. (John Alex Colón)
November 26 at Metro, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-4140. 8pm. Tickets $20-$30. 18+.
By John Alex Colón
Last week, Steve Lawler jumped on a bus, embarking on another North American tour in support of his VIVa MUSiC label. In 2009, he and Jimmy Hill brought the VIVa banner from city to city by jet, much like the 2008 tour that included Audiofly and Tiefschwarz. Lawler will steer the bus to Spy Bar on Halloween night, joined by Leon and David Pher, Italian house sensation and busy, techno-minded Berliner, respectively. Both artists have releases on Lawler’s imprint, which is known for its recognition and support of new talent.
Lawler recently released his own EP, titled “Gimme Some More,” which features prolific house music vocalist Roland Clark, and remixes by an impressive roster of artists. Upon listening to Clark’s earlier work, Lawler saw fit to capture his a capella skills on a track of his own. “He’s kind of a legend when it comes to house vocals like that,” Lawler says. “He has an amazing voice and is an amazing, amazing lyricist.”
Lawler’s own career can certainly be regarded as prolific, even legendary. A longtime fan of acid house, he promoted events beneath a UK highway, cut his teeth as a resident DJ at Cream, and released singles and remixes on several established labels, including Harthouse, Cocoon, Souvenir and R&S. His residencies at Space in Ibiza and The End in London are known for marathon sets of six hours or longer, fueled by Lawler’s approach to house music: erotic grooves, deep basslines and layers of percussion influenced by African and Latin drum sounds. Read the rest of this entry »
Tonight marks the Chicago club debut of Berlin-based producer Lucy (Luca Mortellaro), whose Stroboscopic Artefacts imprint has been gaining steam since its inception in 2009. Lucy has championed his self-applied techno tag of “compressed dub,” reflecting the influences of listening to the likes of Lee “Scratch” Perry and other reggae and dub sounds while in his youth in Italy. The result is that his techno productions and mixes are a dark, deep and unpredictable journey, from twinkling noises to a driving cacophony of sound—and everything in between. Joining Lucy behind the decks is Detroit’s Codine, whose releases on Blank Artists showcase a deft handle on Motor City techno both subtle and percussive. Rounding out the bill are DJs and event co-promoters Aron Ryan (Collusion) and Mathias Matthew. Matthew’s Migrashun crew also helped to bring in Christian Burkhardt to Vision last weekend, capping a rare two-week stretch of quality techno in the usually musically vacuous expanses of club fluff housed inside Vision—tonight, just make sure you head downstairs! (Duke Shin)
October 22 at Vision (The Lair), 632 North Dearborn, (312)266-1944, 10pm-4am. $10-$12, email@example.com.
Black Devil Disco Club
Smart Bar and Red Bull Music Academy support the Sónar festival’s inaugural visit to Chicago by presenting quite possibly the show of the weekend. Out of the library and onto the stage bounds Black Devil Disco Club, the reclusive astral traveler whose compositions on early French, Italian and UK experimental labels inspired Richard D. James at Rephlex. Influencing James, aka Aphex Twin, brings a heavy dose of street cred, which explains the fervent anticipation surrounding Bernard Fevre’s visit to this Sonar Club Night. Also on the bill is Skull Disco alum Appleblim, whose work with Shackleton and Tempa Records propelled him into dubstep’s royalty. His nods to techno elements are well-known, his stark, metallic percussion often playing bad cop to Shackleton’s rhythmic, dub-inspired efforts. These two heavyweights are not alone on this special night: Space Dimension Controller offers a live set, Todd Osborn brings his spectral side to bear, and Cosmin TRG drops his signature ‘hitek-house’ dubs. Get there early, folks. At $5 all night, this show is on everyone’s radar. (John Alex Colón)
September 10 at Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, (773)549-0203, 10pm. $5 all night.
Smart Bar’s farewell to Sónar juxtaposes the dark, dancefloor-minded techno style of Marcel Dettmann with the jack-inspiring tech-house skills of Chicago’s Justin Long. The dot.bleep ambassador promises a much-anticipated techno set for the occasion. Dettmann, resident DJ at the revered Berghain nightclub in Berlin, employs the long mix, blending sparse yet percussion-driven tunes to deliver his futuristic techno message to the waiting crowd. His pair of remixes for Fever Ray’s debut album were impressive and his productions for Ostgut Ton and other imprints keep the masses hungry for his monthly chart. Justin Long’s set is shrouded in mystery as most of us are used to his familiar blend of house classics and glitch-influenced tech-house. A techno showdown is indeed a fitting end to Chicago’s dance with Sónar. (John Alex Colón)
September 11 at Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, (773)549-0203, 10pm. $12-$15.
The driving basslines and menacing synths on the “Analog God EP” were only hinting at the tough techno mayhem inherent in a Dustin Zahn and Drumcell pairing. Released on Drumcell’s Droid imprint, the EP was hailed as an introduction to techno’s new breed. In the two years that followed, Drumcell and Droid supported the LA techno movement with innovative releases and massive events. He regularly takes the Droid sound on the road and provided one of the highlight performances at this year’s Movement festival in Detroit. Zahn helmed the Abiotic label and channeled its success into his current imprint, Enemy, which just released an acclaimed project with Joel Mull. His three-turntable DJ sets and highly-regarded live performances provide him with an incessant touring schedule. While both are capable of aggressive techno sets, they tend to incorporate funky, minimal tunes and house elements to keep the crowd on the dancefloor. (John Alex Colón)
August 27 at Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark, (773)549-0203, 10pm. $10-$12.
Fueled by techno and a solid sound system, dB [deciBel] Thursdays continue to satisfy the late-night crowd and close August with two local juggernauts: Todd Mariana and Funk Shui. Mariana spins with the venerable Soul Foundation and co-founded bodElectric, which has presented Chicago with incredible underground events this summer. His blend of deep house and techno complements the sultry tech-house sounds of Funk Shui, whose innovative sets as Wavelength (with Kyle Szmurlo) never disappoint. Other DJs on the bill include Renan and Droopy, who help kick off a monthly collaboration between the dB crew and droopzilla that promises to “get the weekend into your system.” (John Alex Colón)
August 26 at Martini Ranch, 311 West Chicago, (312)335-9500, 10pm. Free.
The end of summer is approaching and, for lovers of electronic-music and patio day parties, that can only mean one thing—it’s time for Varsity Allstars. Now in its fourth year, the Varsity Allstars event series revisits Chicago for its annual twelve-hour blowout featuring DJs from all over the country and special international guests. Headlining the sports-themed event is Berlin-based, Michigan-native Seth Troxler, who was named Resident Advisor’s number-eight DJ in the world last year. The young DJ/producer has enjoyed massive international support touring the world while releasing tracks and DJ mixes for labels like M_nus, Crosstown Rebels, Bpitch Control, Spectral Sound, Wagon Repair and many more. Troxler’s wide-ranging musical taste, incredible programming skills, larger-than-life personality, and ability to read any dance floor make him one of the finest DJs around. Expect plenty of groove, soul and sensuality from Troxler as he takes you on an extended journey through house and techno from the classic to the cutting-edge. Troxler is joined by former Chicagoan Mike Khoury, NYC’s Naveen G, Smart Bar music director Nate Manic. Also DJing are Chicago favorites Phillip Stone, Jason Patrick, Hernan Sanchez, Martin Stoy, along with M. Sylvia, Mark Roy vs. Erik Cosgrove, Adulture and newcomer prep.step. (Elly Rifkin)
August 22 at Moretti’s, 1645 West Jackson, 18+, Noon-midnight. $15.
Chamber Music, Chicago Artists, Classical, Dubstep, Electro, Experimental, Festivals, Indie Rock, Jazz, Post-Rock, Techno, World Music
The annual weekly summer jazz series “Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz” makes a welcome return to Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion tonight for six weeks of Thursday night concerts through September 2. Spotlighting Chicago’s leading jazz artists across the spectrum of the genre—from Latin and Big Band to experimental, avant-garde and fusion forms—the series, a collaboration between the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jazz Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park, will include world-premiere commissions, international collaborations and major artist centennial and anniversary celebrations.
First up is Tortoise, formed in Chicago in 1990 with roots reaching across the city’s jazz, indie-rock and punk scenes and considered pioneers of the post-rock movement. This twentieth-anniversary-year lineup, dubbed Tortoise 2.0, is made up of Dan Bitney on bass, keyboards, drums, percussion and guitar; John Herndon on drums, synthesizer, percussion and electronics; Douglas McCombs on bass, guitar and keyboards; John McEntire on keyboards, drums and percussion; and Jeff Parker on guitar, bass, keyboards, synthesizer and percussion along with special guests for this special appearance that include Ed Wilkerson on reeds; Greg Ward on saxophone; Nicole Mitchell on flute and piccolo; Jim Baker on piano and vintage ARP synthesizer 2600 and Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and electronics. Read the rest of this entry »
Chicago label-on-the-rise Klectik Recordings is taking over the intimate Penthouse space at Vision. Joining label boss Jason Patrick for the showcase are Klectik artists Max Jacobson from Chicago, London-born Marc Cotterell and San Francisco-based producer Christina Chatfield. Chatfield, who performs and releases music both as Antiserk and as one half of the duo Monocle, will perform a live set for her Chicago debut. Chatfield’s style of minimal techno is Eno-esque, sleek and elegant with melodic embellishments. Not easily pigeonholed, however; she also delivers when it comes to smooth, groovy tech-house. Cleveland-based Marc Cotterell, who spent his early teenage years deeply immersed in England’s underground house scene, later toured and held club residencies around the world before settling into music production a few years ago. Cotterell will perform a DJ set of deep house music to keep your hips moving as he makes his first club appearance in Chicago. Supporting DJ sets from Patrick and Jacobson round out the lineup. (Elly Rifkin)
July 24 in the Penthouse at Vision Nightclub, 632 N. Dearborn, (312)266-1944, at 10pm. $10.