You guys. Chez and Cajmere free monthly event at the Smart Bar in Chicago. SOMUCHFUCKINGFUN. It was criminally underattended, but I guess that's to be expected on a Wednesday night. The flipside of that is that everyone that came out was a true devotee, no dancefloor tourists like you get on the weekend killing the vibe by standing on the dancefloor or making out with their significant other while they slow grind to techno. Just people letting totally loose and having an amazing time, creating an energy that was palpable in the air. A couple of weirdos (one guy rocking some bongos all night, playing with the beat, that only actually got annoying towards the end), a couple of old school looking cats, and generally a pretty diverse crowd for never really being more than 40 or 50 people. Chez and Cajmere did a back to back set, switching off on the deck every couple of minutes, I only caught 2 hours, but I think they did 4 total. It just seemed like it was some intimate little house party they were throwing for their friends. No bullshit, no pretense (well maybe just a little), just two veterans playing some of the best records in their bags for the hell of it. It was great seeing them whispering in each others ears and laughing and hugging people around them and doing goofy dances and shit.
And of course, the music was fantastic. Really great banging house the whole night. Non-stop party jams. They definitely know how to play to their audience. Chez especially seemed to be gauging the small crowd all night, seeing how things were going over. The sound at Smart Bar is pristine, so the music hit in all the right spots. Chez leaned more heavily to the soulful, deep, and jazzy side of things with a good helping of disco thrown in, but it was still hard hitting. Green Velvet was more prone to throwing out some weird little curveballs, playing some tracks with a serious experimental bent, although, again, never sacrificing the pounding rhythm. They were able to meld their two style pretty seamlessly too.
It kind of irks me that people think that the alternative to Swedish House Mafia arena cheese has to be super polite and boring shit, but these guys are living proof that you can put together a set of serious house and have it be as big of a party (if not more so) than an hour of Usher backing tracks. In any case, I'm super fucking excited to go back next time they play, hopefully with a friend or two. If any of you find yourself in Chicago on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, do not hesitate to catch these guys.