Returning to the Loft

Some of our regular readers might recall my experience at the last Paradigm Underground event that was held at the Lacuna Artist Lofts. Featuring the dynamic forces of Seth Troxler and the Martinez Brothers, the Tuskegee party had left such a lasting impression on me that I decided to feature the event as the topic of my second Deeper Than a Drop article, a series devoted to showcasing the definitive elements of Chicago\’s music scene. When I received word that Paradigm would be returning to Lacuna, and this time they would be hosting Apollonia, Tiga, and Audion for a Halloween party, I never once questioned where I would be on that night. With the combined talent behind the decks and the attention to detail that leaves the  Paradigm Underground team unparalleled, I couldn\’t imagine a better way to spend my night.

Pairing this night of music to a holiday like Halloween is not without risk for an event promoter. Attendees expect an over the top experience at holiday event and Paradigm has already set the bar high with prior events. Fortunately, there doesn\’t seem to be an \’over the top\’ option for the team. From the talent they book to the venues they take over, it would seem \’over the top\’ translates to \’business as usual\’ for Paradigm, and to anyone who has had the pleasure of attending one of their events, it always correlates to a night worth remembering. As expected, Halloween 2014 proved to be no different.

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The Venue and the Art

The Lacuna Artist Lofts is a spectacular venue. Featuring 15,000sq ft. of space, the loft space carries the right vibe  for hosting the underground\’s most talented artists. The space allows for a large amount of dance space while still allowing attendees to take a comfortable break when needed. It seems to be the ideal location for the larger Paradigm events (although I am happy they rotate venues as the it keeps the individual venues feeling fresh with each visit). In light of the holiday, the loft was decorated with various haunted elements and staff in attendance joined in the costume fun. To take things a step further, the venue\’s second floor would now be open to attendees of the event as Paradigm introduced the Artist Alley. Those familiar with my writing may know my interest in both supporting the local artist community and attending events thrown by similarly minded promoters. While typically exclusive to musicians, producers and DJs at the events I cover, Paradigm took the opportunity to go beyond the traditional support shown by showcasing local artists outside of the expected aural artistry and had established a gallery of physical artwork.

Featuring a dozen artists, the gallery provided a balance to the dance floor frenzy of the first floor as attendees could browse and discuss the art pieces that ranged from paintings and photography to wearable masks. It wouldn\’t be long, however, before the music provided on the in the artist alley would engage the art viewers and the room became an additional dance floor option to those in attendance, including some of the artists whose pieces were on display. At their recent Art Department show, I discussed with others how the idea of being surrounded by the artwork of Wesley Kimler, really contributed positively to the event, and I left feeling the same way about the Artist Alley presentation. Supporting local artists should be a mantra that extends across all of the creative outputs of our talent-heavy city, and it was nice to see Paradigm put that concept into practice.

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The Right Crowd for the Right Vibe

It is no secret that I am a fan of after-hours and other non-standard events. This does not distract from my love for the club scene, but I have always believed the world of electronic music outside of the standard club setting typically is attended by those who are more impassioned about the music presented. In turn, this collection of the musically devoted ensures that the performance and dance floor will remain the focal point of the event, as it should be.  While there can certainly be deviations from this expectation, Paradigm has shown that their experience in Chicago\’s music scene has empowered the team to host well-targeted events that attract the right crowds. This isn\’t easy to mimic by newer event promoters. It requires experience and personal involvement in the scene, both of which can be found within the members of Paradigm Underground. The result is an enjoyable crowd that seems to lack many of the common annoyances that plague some shows. While the promoters can certainly contribute to this, it is ultimately the attendees that ensure the vibe remains positive; so for any readers who were in attendance that night, thanks for your role in making it an enjoyable night!

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The Ghostly Groves

When I had written my preview of the event, I had given a brief overview of the artists and their contributions to the world of electronic music. To those who have read it or are already acquainted with the artists performing, there is no denying the line up was worth a second look. In fact, the event itself received was officially endorsed numerous media outlets, including Thump, Mixmag, TimeoutChicago, and Resident Advisor. Kicking off the night properly was Max Jacobson and Mantas Steles. The opening set provides the foundation for a headline stacked night by setting the proper vibe for the dance floor and transitioning energy levels to the upcoming artists. Due to my interview with Apollonia, I was not able to attend to the entire opening set, but in the time that I was present, the music was well catered and on point. By the time the interview ended and I joined the main floor as Apollonia prepared to take over, the party was already quite lively.

Apollonia\’s set was fantastic. During the interview, I had discussed with the artists the dynamic of working within their one record per rotation style of back to back to back performance. In it they expressed that they are able to find synergy in their play style through their experience of being friends for many years. The translation to their performance provided validation to this synergy as the entire set compassed an enjoyable flow and ensured a dance floor of moving bodies. I dream of one day being able to attend one of their infamous marathon sets that they are known for overseas, but the shorter playtime at the show gave a proper representation of the style that rose out of the Paris underground scene and has been leading Ibiza and Berlin based clubs into the morning hours.

The back to back set between Audion and Tiga built upon the energy of the crowd left for them by Apollonia and showcased how appropriate the pairing of these two artist really is. While this was not my first live set experience from Tiga, it was a first for Audion, but the play style was all that I expected it to be: a relentless musical journey that ignited the crowd until the very last track. Throughout the entirety of the set Matthew Dear (Audion) and Tiga seemed to maintain tight control of the audience and directed their every move with exceptionally executed direction. To music fans that share a similar taste for music with me, it was a state of bliss.

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Lights On

At around 4 am the music came to a halt and the familiar scene of a night ending as the lights overhead illuminated took place. It was a bit earlier than I had expected the show to end, but matched the advertised end time of the event (although Paradigm events tend to run later, an event the following day at the venue called for a proper close time. As my friends and I gathered our belongings and headed out, we were leaving behind another fantastic night presented by the crew at Paradigm Presents. From the artist alley to the non-stop dance floor, it is nights like this that define music fans in Chicago, and I was happy to be able to attend. It wasn\’t my first time with Paradigm at the Lacuna Artists Lofts, and I am certain it won\’t be my last. Thanks to all the members behind the scene who contribute to these memories.

Paradigm Underground picks up the action this coming Friday by hosting one of my personal favorite live acts, the undisputed queen of techno, Nicole Moudaber at an undisclosed location. Tickets and information are available on their Facebook page.

Make sure to read my interview with Apollonia just prior to their set at Paradigm Underground\’s Halloween Party: Tour à Tour: An Interview with Apollonia

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Photo credit: Raf Winterpacht of Chicago Photo Concepts

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