Friday nights at Smart Bar have taken on a bit of an identity crisis of late, irking some members of the techno community used to seeing weekly Friday offerings for unadulterated techno bliss. While we like seeing new talent and different formats get a fair shake in the increasingly narrow world of weekend Chicago club offerings, tonight’s lineup marks the return of weekend techno to Smart Bar in the form of a Detroit originator, a Chicago-by-way-of-France label head, one of Chicago’s more abstract techno DJs and a live performance from an up-and-comer. Detroit’s Kevin Saunderson is considered techno royalty, and along with fellow Motor City legends Juan Atkins and Derrick May, carries the unofficial title of “originator.” Making his biggest splash with tech-pop duo Inner City, Saunderson has moved past the “Good Life” to have “Big Fun” producing Detroit’s famed Fuse-In Festival in 2005 (formerly DEMF), plus production work under his E-Dancer moniker. He’s even recently remixed the likes of Simian Mobile Disco and Claude Vonstroke. Frequent innovator cohort and Still Music head Jerome Derradji joins Saunderson behind the decks. Expect the French Algerian to offer up a lot of his label’s soulful releases, as well as a good dose of acid and techno. A DJ set from techno stalwart Karl Meier and a live Ableton performance from Zuvuya artist Brad Miner round out the bill. (Duke Shin)
Kevin Saunderson, Jerome Derradji, Karl Meier and Brad Miner at Smart Bar, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-0203, on January 11 from 10pm-4am. No cover before 11pm, $10 after.