By: BoB Mandich
Friday night was a weird one for the city of Chicago. The weather was still being its moody self, not being able to decide if it wanted to be warm or cold. People were in the process of moving and had belongings all over the city. Work was either great for some or terrible for others. All that weird, though, could not measure up to the high level of weirdness that was about to go down inside Concord Music Hall. It was a type of weird that a sold out crowd was very much looking forward to just letting go inside of.
Desert Dwellers came on before Shpongle and never have I ever seen/heard an opener fit so well as the precursor to the headlining artist. Their tribal and, dare I say it, desert sound was the perfect lead-in for the adventure Mr. Posford was about to take us on. Their hour long set was very chilled out, laid back and melodic but was also filled with heavy bass drops and womps so deep it sounded like it was grinding inside the surface of the speaker. Everybody was feeling it while also catching up with friends and getting themselves ready for the main attraction. In my honest opinion that is a job well done for Desert Dwellers and they have nothing to be worried about because once you start opening for Shpongle you’re headlining your own shows in no time. Just look at Random Rab and Phutureprimitive.
The heat was on and the crowd was hot for some jungle trance. In this scene we all find ourselves all in psytrance is definitely a part of it but not so much at the forefront. Shpongle is the main exception. People who only listen to jam, rock, dubstep or glitch hop have been able to find something in the sounds of Shpongle that they like very much. Their music is truly one of a kind and really does take you on a journey if you allow yourself to get lost in it. All night long Simon Posford took us all over the soundscapes of outer Shpongolia. There were times when it felt as if we were in a deep cave surrounded only by heavy pounding drums but then we were in the jungle dancing with the village tribe as fast and as hard as humanly possible. He knew exactly when to change it up too, never staying in one soundscape for too long. Anyone who wasn’t lost in the music was drooling in awe of the Shpongletron 3.0. The third incarnation of Simon Posford’s visual aid for Shpongle dj sets is more psychedelic than ever before and features images of florescent colors, beautiful landscapes and, of course, the many faces of Shpongle. Zebbler (the man who designed the shpongletron) has really outdone himself with his latest creation. But of course, no show is anything without the music you came to dance to.
Songs like “Around the World in a Tea Daze”, “Star Shpongled Banner” and “Brain in a Fishtank” all receive great reactions from the crowd and got the blood racing among everyone. He worked in newer songs like “How the Jellyfish Jumped Up the Mountain” and everybody lost it when the unmistakably familiar flute from “Divine Moments of Truth” began to play. “Divine Moments of Truth” is in many ways the song that defines what Shpongle is. Not only is it one of their oldest songs but it is also their most beloved. It is a song that will always be played at a Shpongle show, dj or live set, and it was always receive an incredible reaction from fans. The encore included “Gamma Goblins”, which was a song originally made by Hallucinogen (a side project of Simon Posford), which was later remixed by Ott then that version was later remixed by Hallucinogen. Before playing it Simon told the crowd that he considers it to be one of the greatest songs ever made. When the beat dropped that place was jumping. Shpongle mostly stays away from dubstep but when he blends his sound and that sound together it makes for some extremely powerful music. It was a fitting way to end such an incredible journey of music. People danced, shared stories and surely lost a marble or two but most importantly, a good time was had by all. The energy in the Concord was unreal on this night and it is an energy that always seems to follow the sounds of outer Shpongolia.