Wintertime in the windy city is a rough experience for the residents, one positive that comes from the snowfall and bitter cold can be the opportunity to groove to the amazing music that stumbles through the city. This notion proved to be so when the Kinetic Playground sported a 3 night run of spectacular bands, gathering individuals together to shake a bit of the winter blues out of their system and pump up the night life. The Kinetic, a smaller venue located on the north side of the city in the hip neighborhood of uptown; was a perfect fit for bands to roll through and share their talents with their tunes. Whether you were late night raging after the Umphrey's McGee shows or just looking for a good time, the Kinetic was the place to be. Leading up to the new year, this string of music helped end the year off right and kick start a new year with a slam. Terrific environment calling all those who were ready to hang loose after time with families and taking down the Christmas decorations.
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009 The first night jump started a stream of music that kept the audience thriving deep into the evening. The first band to break out was the Madison rooted band called Steez. Midwest hype has created a following for this band as they have travelled the plains states sharing their skills. A funky, jazz sound mixed with modern house feel was a delight. These fellas have great stage presence and know how to get a crowd moving. The ambient noises and dash of disco fever truly explored numerous genres to appease the populous of the venue. Incredible instrumentals done by the gentlemen in the band and an impressive display of lighting in addition to the hopping melodies. The band has a spectacular build up to their music, they don't leave you hanging for the notes they come naturally and perfectly to a point where you cant stop moving your feet. Sensational improvisation during live performances attract the audience, catching ears with the funky energy projected from stage. Populating the quintet is Matt Williams (keyboards/synthesizers/accordion), Steve Neary (guitar and vocals), Rob Bessert (drums), Chris Sell (bass), and Andrzej Benkowski (saxophone, oboe, and violin). These guys really know how to entertain and explore on their musical skills. Starting off a great night they pumped up the crowd for a fantastic display of music that continued into the night.
Succeeding that terrific opening, Signal Path strutted on stage to redefine the attendees perception of live electronica. A challenge to the genre is the lack of visual stimulation during live performances yet this duo burst out energy and passion for their craft. This band has traveled across the nation to spread their creativity in instrumentally striking performances that combine with computer generated production. The two members of this band know how to feed off the energy of those dancing around in the audience as well as gravitating off one another. A comfortable couple on stage which shares their skills performing as well as promoting. The band streams their albums off their website for free to spread their creations, a respectable step for an artist. Ryan Burnett producing and playing guitar and Damon Metzner on the acoustic drums creates this spectacular array of sounds coming together to enforce the power behind their music. The guys performed well into the evening and at their conclusion the knowledge that the run of music would continue for several days brought a sense of anticipation for the music to go on.
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 As the second night of late night splendor began at Kinetic the band Two Fresh brought the close knit vibe, spreading their gleaming beats into the venue. Twin brothers Sherwyn and Kendrick Nicholls accompanied by Colby Buckler extract beats from various genres as they expand and redefine musical forms combining these genres. These three bump out a hip hop stand in a electronic environment and create a marvelous display of the mixture. You can tell the close knit feel of this band and they know how to bring the audience together with the music that is put forth. Buckler, though a recent addition to the band fits in spectacularly creating drum beats to add to the beats created by the twins. This band winning the Chicago audience over added a bewitching arrangement that began the night off spectacularly.
Daedelus jumped into the set enticing the crowd from the get go. The energy and vibrancy which is brought to the stage with this gentleman's presence is undeniable. One man putting himself and his passion forward in the way this artist does is a rare talent which should be praised. A unique set of beats and creative musical form generated fantastic dance music to keep you moving. Bringing west coast flare to the cold city, Alfred Darlington Aka Daedelus Digitalis Darington enthused the night with modern creative mixtures of beats, genres and instruments. Experimenting with electronic styles as an artist really sets you apart for it takes a lot of interpretation and understanding of expression. Outstanding in bringing forth different genres and remixing them in a newly introduced way. Using a monome instrumental board, this artists presents his passion for music in an uncommon way. This device is entertaining to watch and creates an unusual experience for the performance. His show was heightened by the knowledge and understanding he has when it comes to music and promoting it to others. With an intense accomplishments in musical training,Daedelus knew how to hit the right parts to charm the crowd and keep them moving. With a smile on his face and energy flowing till the last tone the crowd was stunned, waiting for the music to continue to move them.
As Auto Body whipped out their beats the extension of music to the crowd was at a peak. The music was bumping and everyone's heads automatically started rolling forward and back. Perfectly flowing music was created with a variety of different devices, such as synthesizers, samplers in addition to instrumental sounds by the bass guitar. A top notch performance which heightened the dance party that had been started. Occupying this band are two Texan musicians, both have had extensive experience with the desire to share their music. Felix Moreno is said to be born into the music world and has made it a goal to share his musical insight on electronic sound. Tibaut Bowman was reared to become a musical figure and settled in Austin, the music capital of the world. Together these two are marvelously putting forth music that can keep an audience going. Boosting beats from the stage, the rage seemed to go on with the music syncing perfectly with movements of the attendees as well as with the lighting flashing to the beats. A fantastic visual and audible display done by this band which preserved the energy well into the early morning hours.
Thursday, December 31st 2009 Creating a club feel in the small venue was the duo Dark Party. Sharp, electrifying beats intermixed to reach a steady flow of music as they performed. The crowd was jamming and raging New Years Eve correctly with this band. When performing, they have such high positive energy it radiates into the crowd. Eliot Lipp and Leo 123 populate this fusion of classic electric beats that are emitted from their computers and synthesizers. Genuine enjoyment on their faces, you could tell these two truly enjoy what they do and are appreciative of those who are willing to take a musical journey through their mixes. The night was raging to the continuation of music as 2009 ended.
Bringing a taste of fantastic beats, funky electro rifts and banging energy to the Kinetic was DJ Thibault, coming from Austin, Texas you can feel the musical passion embedded into the mixes this fella puts forth. Fabulous rhythm and flow erupted from the stage as the lights hit up on this DJ. Perfecting the element of timing and climactic displays of music, this artist rocked the heads of the crowd. You couldn't stop moving, the progression in the music was terrific. Saying goodbye to a year and engaging audiences well into a new one, this creative talent brought a unique energy to Chicago.
Tradition on NYE is something that is well know to us all surely. When Future Rock jumped into the lights on stage you could sense the tightness and love for the late night treat this band brought. A great collaboration of ambient sounds collectively bringing forth satisfying music to thrill those who continued to dance the night away. This trio is impressive to watch as they perfectly play electrifying melodies vibrating the walls of the venue. Using instruments, electronics and synthesizers, these three protrude shocking and entertaining sounds which dribble to your ears. Sweeping movement across the crowd the music seemed to lift the night and enter 2010 with a bang. Smiling faces, waving arms and dancing feet encompass the venue as this band rocked the night away. Growing over the past years this band has raged late night parties for years and brought a highly pleasurable tradition to Chicago playing NYE for the fifth year in a row. Mickey Kellerman, Darren Heitz and Felix Moreno perfectly match one another with beats flying around the stage. A grooving time that phenomenally started this year.
Overall this array of music that was put together by Silver Wrapper, React Presents, It's Real Music and Kingtello, brought a raging end to a fantastic year of music and started a new year with more music and melodies to look forward to. The Chicago crowd was entertained and energized by the music that ran through the venue these 3 days. Those who were visiting or those who are regulars to the Chicago scene all had something to take away from this delight along with something to look to when the new year goes by.