Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Windy City Soul

I just caught wind of Eric Lab Rat's review of the Two Slaps Radio One Year Anniversary Party that we put together at Darkroom on November 4th (A Sunday) from his blog. I was waiting to do one myself, but I think he sums it up pretty well...

The other show was Windy City Soul at the Darkroom, a celebration of Two Slaps Radio's first anniversary. We were billing the show as a "sophisticated soul party" and despite the technical problems that made the first hour hellish for me, Arvo, and the sound guy, the show was everything it was supposed to be by the time real people showed up. Harlet Star played a set of Def Poetry Style hip hop, with a heavy jazz-soul fusion base and a little chick who could blow Aretha Franklin's ass out with her singing voice. It reminded me of one of those children's sports movies, Rookie of the Year or The Mighty Ducks or some shit where there was always some kid who was incredibly, superhumanly powerful but had no control ...
...her voice was so strong that sometimes it got away from her, but overall it was a good thing. The Revelettes came out between bands to do a throwback go-go dance set, replete with big hair, short skirts, tall boots, and costume changes that brought out more short skirts and tall boots.
I'd never taken into account how slick the atmosphere of the Darkroom was because I'd mostly just been there for hipster shit, but it was really smooth. The last band up was JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, a soul band with an iconoclastic lead singer who channeled James Brown into call-and-response songs about how the Chicago Transit Authority s fucking us over.

Photo by Eric Lab Rat

I would just like to add that JC Brooks and The Uptown Sound played some great upbeat soul music that didn't sound derivative, but also didn't present any new takes that would ruin the effect either. They were some of the best at crowd interaction and between song banter I've seen, and I usually shy away from that. While there was a concern that since they were playing last that people would be leaving, People stayed and danced in solid abundance, and the scene was free from jaded nonchalance etc.

The Revelettes amplified the fun zone so much more for all concerned. It was such a great atmosphere with the overall red hue of the Darkroom to have them dancing to their choreographed interpretations of Blondie and The Shangri-Las etc. Plus, it gave me the excuse to play a good amount of girl group stuff, which was a nice chance happening, because I was spinning Northern Soul for about 3 hours while people were trickling in and Eric was driving back home to rectify some of our technical problems and to pick up his hookah, which also added brilliantly to the atmosphere of the night. At a rare time when the both of us had a free moment, we were just chilling at a booth in the corner with an entourage of people mostly clad in suits or other such formal wear puffing on the hookah. You can't buy that kind of synchronicity. It was one of the best Sunday night shows I've taken part in throwing for a while, and I'm sure there will be more where that came from in the near future.

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