...Yo Gabba Gabba and Kid Koala is in da house... ~ Kid Koala
Hey, Mr. DJ, could you play that song all night long? Welcome, blogspot readers, to the party where the music - fresh and the scene - jumpin' until the wee hours of Sunday morning. Presented by Ninja Tune, Last Rites, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Gramophone Records and WLUW/Abstract Science, The Abbey Pub played host to Ninja Tune's XX (20th) Anniversary Concert series featuring three separate shows that began Thursday Apri 21 with the Chicago debut of DJ Kentaro. On May 20, the series conclusion will feature such performances by Blackhead, Poirier, Quadratic (live) and MC Zulu. Tonight, the middle show lineup had the stage rockin' with lively performances by Save The Clocktower, The Loyal Divide, Cave and DJ Kid Koala (Canada) with DJs Intel and Demchuck spinning to begin the night.
There's something magically melodic about the rhythm heard wafting across the stage when friends, Save The Clocktower opened the night's lineup. The music itself had a unique combination of symphonic/ambient sound (by friend Jimmy) and edgy rock tone which merely enhanced the melodic side of this local band. SouthSide was instantly hooked on Clocktower's flowing poetic-like rhythms which at times could be edgier amidst the melodic tempo as well as meditative under a vibrant groove. Vocals (done by drummer Greg and guitarist Sean) though contrasting between falsetto and angsty, actually complimented each other on lyrics especially during one particular song of a socio-commentary about moving beyond religion. Another song had SouthSide intrigued by the nonlyrical instrumental into that featured energetic digitalized keyboard sound before adding lyrics to it. The meaning behind the words wasn't what this reviewer was concerned to hear - it was mostly that vivid imagery painted within Clocktower's music that will leave your ears breathlessly wanting more. Her advice - simply close your eyes, turn off the brain for a minute and enjoy the melodic ride, blogspot readers. Look for Save The Clocktower to release their third (untitled) album in the near future but in the meantime, visit http://www.clocktowermusic.bandcamp.com or http://www.facebook.com/clocktowermusic.
Next to rock the stage was longtime friends, The Loyal Divide, who took more of a guitar rock with some melodic rhythm approach to their performance. She liked how this band's signature musical tone also seemed an unconventional way to highlight the melodies heard the through the digital synths though not as ambient as Save The Clocktower's. The synths added the right amount of electronic vibe within Loyal's energetic sound ...can get very wicked under an electro-rock combination even while in a downtempo rhythm. And just the Clocktower, there was a moment when the music did get meditative with their electronic floetry to balance the razor sharp rock edge off the guitar riffs. Plus listen out for the venomous angst heard during certain Loyal songs in which the music wonderfully spotlights the emotionally charged mood and tone of the lyrics especially during one particular song titled Pure Fury. One could hear the gradual rise of the lyrcist's fiery rage building to eagerly explode in your face, blogspot readers - all this was nicely portrayed from the crescendo rise of the guitar riffs. Visit The Loyal Divide http://www.theloyaldivide.com or http://www.myspace.com/loyaldivide.
Cave bursted onto the stage opening their performance with an instrumental bang that featured a vibrant combination of electro synth and hardcore guitar rock band. The sound was so superly wicked that it popped at times under a psychedelic vibe intricately woven inside each rhythmic measure before taking the energy down a bit for a more melodic tone in their second song. SouthSide enjoyed Cave's nonlyrical persona despite hearing the "lyrics" being sung (or spoken) through the melodic music in which human vocals could probably not convey properly or lyrically. Though re-arranging their set list (due to a broken string in which no one from the first two bands offered to help), Cave still rocked the stage with epic masterpieces featuring sounds of funky Euro disco to soulfully heart-pounding electro and vibrant yet tripped out space fx closer that seemed to go on forever. What SouthSide just described about Cave's music and performance really doesn't do this band justice, blogspot readers, because you merely had to be there to witness and experience everything in person. That's her suggested recommendation to you - see them live at their next show. Visit http://www.dragcity.com for more details and music by this band.
"...I must have done something to piss off the turntable rental guy..."
Kid Koala's performance in a nutshell ...the BEST eccentric, non-dance party music performance ...so far, blogspot readers, and he looked devishly handsome wearing his koala bear costume (to settle a bet in which he has to wear it for 100 tour-city dates in which Chicago was his 39th stop) too. This one-man show had everything to dazzle the eyes, rock the ears, and groove the body as he rocked out the crowded late night Abbey Pub with his mad turntable skills (SouthSide has to honesty concede that he's better than someone else she use to know before his untimely death back in the 90s). Before jumping into his unique mode of mixing unusual as well as nontypical samples and music, Kid opened the show with a lovely slideshow of family photos and pictures from his other tours while discussing briefly about his next huge worldwide tour planned for July 2011 called Space Cadet. Not only did he write the graphic novel (to be released through Pigeon Press) but also composed the soundtrack that goes along with it ...mentioning how people will be listening to this concert in space pods - this had SouthSide eagerly anticipating a Chicago all-ages performance or two (hopefully) in Grant Park.
After recording crowd vocals (of shouting, whistling, et al) to be used in a Jonathan Ing anime short, Kid went to work on dazzling the crowd with his lightning fast hand movements of mixing/scratching and changing between records without breaking a single rhythmic beat. You could even watch his hands work their magic on the turntables via the video screen behind him, blogspot readers. From start to finish, Kid's non-dance music (and he bills it as such) kept everyone fired up with pented up energetic momentum while listening to popular (and sometimes forgotten) hits to classic favorites like Chicago and Moon River - both scratched and re-mixed Kid Koala style. It was hilarious to observe grown adults rockin' to a Yo Gabba Gabba song (that he collaborated on for the show) which had every body enjoying the "open and close" and "touch your toes and reach up high" (those with young kids like SouthSide would get the lyric references) fun. Other fun momments included Kid Koala moving around the venue to meet a few eager fans and Bubble Gladiator - where two lucky audience volunteers battled each other in popping bubbles with waterguns. Sounds easy, huh? NOT exactly - they were judged on poise, technique, interpretative dance style (to the song played), etc ...as if they were world champion figure skaters. "...this is what happens when a venue is booked near a Family Dollar store..." says Kid jokingly.
Yet, it was Kid's melodic side that truly garnered this reviewer's attention the most during his performance, blogspot readers. She enjoyed the ambient atmosphere ...quite romantic as well as beautiful to hear the melodies and rhtyhms intertwining and mixing within each other especially while performing Moon River. It was an interesting rendition with some trippy space fx at the instrumental bridge thus giving the classic song a vibrant millennnial facelift that generated plenty of crowd reaction. Kid truly enjoyed the crowd's reaction upon hearing its hometown song, Chicago, as everyone high fived each other despite usually getting a different reaction from other cities when playing this particular song. Still the crowd was not ready to go home just yet as they came alive again for his HipHop in the Dark which fused rockin' guitar and world music mixes with thundering jungle hiphop sound. For this not being "...dance music..." permeating from Kid's turntables, he certainly had every body grooving to the rhythmic beat. Visit Kid Koala at http://www.kidkoala.com or on Facebook for more details and music.
Until next time, support your local scene,