React Presents: Halloween Recap
On Friday October 24, the sun began to go descend and the clock was moving toward 7:30, ravers all over the Chicagoland area were transforming into ghouls, goblins, penguins and more, and slowly making their way to the Congress Theater for a 4th annual Freaky Deaky, thrown by Chicago’s biggest promoters, React Presents.
When I arrived the Midwest’s biggest Halloween costume party was in full effect with everyone in full costume gear dancing to the last bit of Popeska’s heart pounding set. An ecstatic Deadmau5 was grinding on a penguin, and that is when I realized my favorite time of year had arrived. The crowd slowly began to multiple and the Congress was getting packed, everyone waiting to see what Midnight Conspiracy had in store for the night for their hometown.
The duo got on stage and their signature ominous opening began stocked with subliminal messages before the crowd was hit with a grenade of bass, and right on cue, everyone went crazy. Midnight Conspiracy went through their smoky set with favorites like their hit track “The Eye”, and even premiered their fresh release “Sentinel”, whose creepy piano chords and grimy drop fit the occasion perfectly, prompting a crowd surfing alien to be escorted out.
Freaky Deaky alumni, Wolfgang Gartner got on the decks and I made my way to the upstairs balcony to get a bird’s eye view of all the mayhem and I must say although Wolfgang killed it as usual, the real spectacle of the night was the massive crowd. There was not an empty spot in sight with waves of people grooving. Even the balcony pulsed, almost dangerously, as tons of raving costumed freaks jumped and raged to the beloved sounds of Wolfgang Gartner.
Finally, the stagehands began to put together the decks for The Bloody Beetroots, with their name spelled out in big white letters with “DJ Set” next to it, and I know it was time for me to finally witness a Bloody Beetroots set. The stage was illuminated in white light and the two masked men got behind the decks as an ominous hum droned on, until it accelerated into a percussion lead up until explosive acidic bass and strobes filled up the Congress Theater and sent shockwaves through the crowd. Things got real when The Bloody Beetroots played their Steve Aoki featured hit “Warp 1977”, with Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo doing the screaming vocals with the crowd’s help. They ended their set on a surprising note with The Isley Brother’s “Shout”, and the crowd went nuts.
When I arrived the next night for the sold out Knife Party headlining Haunted House Tour, I already knew things were going to get insane to say the least. I came right at the beginning of Bauuer’s set and The Congress was already packed to the brim, and everyone was gyrating to the infectious 808 beats of Baauer’s infectious trap infused set. Of course, when he got to his hit “Harlem Shake, the crowd turned their gyrate dial up to high with everyone going bananas.
Bass was obviously the theme of the night; with Kill the Noise going up next. This was my first time seeing Kill the Noise, and I must say he was the standout of the night for me. His set literally melted my face right off, I still am looking for my nose. He combined some of the grimiest dubstep I’ve heard in a while with trap, and created a sound that digs deep into your ear drums. It looked like the crowd agreed with me as mosh pits formed and a guy dressed as a grandma began elbowing people and head banging.
Knife Party continued the night with them surprisingly not being a closer; I guess this was because they had a set at a club called The Mid right after. This being my second time seeing Knife Party, I already knew I was in for a rowdy ride. Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen blasted off their set with an explosion of electro and went through the tracks that everyone came to hear, including “Internet Friends”, “Centipede”, “Rage Valley” and more, even throwing in the Skrillex and Nero remix of Monsta’s “Holdin’ On”. My highlight of their set was when they threw up some hardcore DnB, giving us a little taste of Pendulum and reminding us where they came from.
Tommy Trash closed out the show with pounding electro and sticking to the theme of Halloween with the chilling mash up of Gregori Klosman vs. Depeche Mode’s “ID with Personal Jesus.” Tommy Trash also wasn’t shy with theatrics featuring a woman with sparks flying from her on stage. Thus, the night ended and sweaty people missing parts of their costumes with makeup running down their face shuffled out of the theater, prompting a chant of “USA” and a sing-a-long of the guitar riffs from “Seven Nation Army.” The fourth annual Freaky Deaky had ended.
Halloween week continued with Disclosure at Schuba’s tavern and ended with the Sonar Tour on Halloween night which featured Brandon Burke, Gesaffelstein, Seth Troxler, Azari & Ill, Die Antwoord, Paul Kalkbrenner and Tiga. Of course, Die Antwoord were the highlights of the night coming out in their signature jumpsuits with the mysterious masked DJ Hi-Tek on his PC computer. They went through their famed tracks in various stages of undress with Ninja getting down to his infamous Pink Floyd boxers and gyrating around. Of course, the little gangster nymph, Yolandi Vi$$er stole the show with her aggressive attitude and amazing stage presence.
Halloween has come to an end, but the memories of devils, vampires, spongebobs, Dora the Explorers, and grandmas raging for literally a week straight will forever be stuck in my memory as another successful week in the Chicago EDM scene.
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