The Tesla Coil Takes The Riviera Theatre By Storm
By: Aaron Gi
With a sold out crowd in attendance, anticipation was at an all time high. People lined the doors at 8:00PM ready to get out of the cold and into The Riviera Theatre for what was sure to be the show that people were going to be schmoozing about for weeks to come. Three huge names, one massive stage production, and a crowd packed so tight there was barely room to breathe, let alone dance, not that it mattered, people came out to rage on and did they ever.
Music began promptly at 8:30, and due to a late sound check people were already crammed outside near the bars and merch tables. The second the theater doors opened to the public it was a stampede of candi bracelets and Grassroots hats racing to the front row to take their respective rage spots.
Up first was Chicago native Manic Focus, fresh off a tour with Big Gigantic and Kill Paris, he’s no rookie to performing to large crowds, and it was evident during his set. Known for his glitch-hop style bass music, Manic Focus has taken the scene by storm this year and has definitely cultivated a sound that he can call his own. His music is heavy with bass in virtually every track but has a melodic elegance that trademarks his own style and sets him apart from the rest.
During his set he played some personal favorites such as “Rooster” and “Forever Blasting”, and ended up closing with a “Harlem Shake” remix that got the entire place rowdy. His set had everything from dubstep, to glitch-hop, to a Master Chief helmet. His energy is composed and relaxed and his music does justice to that. His productions are up to par with anyone else on the scene right now, and with some recent festival announcements big things are definitely on the horizon for Manic Focus.
Next up was Minnesota, known for his hip-hop style beats, high pitched synths, old school remixes, and jaw dropping bass lines he’s been making peoples knees buckle and teeth clench for years now
Having toured with huge names such as Big Gigantic and Figure he’s sculpted his sound and has risen to a level as one of the top bass music producers around today.
With a laidback, chill, and unassuming energy to him you would never think Christian Bauhofer (A.K.A. Minnesota) to be a beat-maker of this magnitude. His newest EP “Altered States” took the country by storm and the single “Yoga Pants” is truly a classic bass banger. He played out the whole EP during his set, some other originals, and even a Bassnectar track; not everyone can mix in the Nectar with a set of original productions, but Bauhofer continuously does it seamlessly. He finished the set to a completely full theater and a rambunctious scene. I don’t think anyone really realized what was next.
Gramatik is the alter-ego of Denis Jasarevic, the Slovenian mastermind who is known for his beats that sound like full band productions; his early albums have an electro-soul feel to them that is unmatched by any other single artist. Combine that with the nasty jaw-dropping bass he’s recently learned to develop, some of the funkiest samples known to electronic music today, and a live-guitarist by the name of Eric Mendelson, and you’ve got one of the most unique performances in the game.
He came on right around 11:00PM to a curtain a drop and a roaring crowd. His stage setup was as spectacular as it was unique. Three massive LED pillars, made to look like tesla coils, all attached with a wire, and a DJ booth lined with what looked like an electronic grid or microchip, all together making the stage production known as “The Coil”.
Being an Eastern European, Gramatik has an obvious passion for his homeland and Serbian Nikola Tesla is debatably the most revolutionary inventor of all time. The Tesla Coil is an electronic transformer circuit used to produce high-voltage alternating current electricity. The stage is based off of this idea and besides being an absolute breathtaking setup to look at, Jasarevic is clearly making a statement about digital freedom (also the name of the most recent EP he released) and unlimited energy. He is an outspoken guy with a lot to say about it (video interview to be released soon), and it’s cool to see everything come together in such synchronicity and have such a relevant meaning behind it.
Besides the massive visual production, his musical performance was pretty good too. He played for about two hours non-stop and his onstage energy is incredible. He gets the crowd hype with every raise of his arm, and his funky dance moves can’t help but make you smile. He busted most of his EP “Digital Freedom”, a couple new tracks from his upcoming release “Age of Reason” and many other bangers both recognizable and unfamiliar. The combination of his heavy beats and Mendelson’s blues and jazzy style guitar riffs is nothing less than breathtaking. There wasn’t a moment in the performance where it seemed like he was taking it down a notch or transitioning, it was all one fluid funk-soul bass party.
This was one of the most epic electronic performances I have ever seen, and debatably the best DJ set I’ve ever been present for. Gramatik recently started his own label by the name of Lowtemp where he is working on many side projects and will be bringing his electro soul out on a more live basis. Look out for him taking the world by storm in 2013. Thanks to Silver Wrapper, React Presents, The Riviera Theatre, and all of the artists for putting together a stellar night.
1. Who Got Juice (The Coil Intro Version)
2. Just Jammin’
3. Break Loose (Savages Edition Feat. Nigel Hall)
4. Hit That Jive
5. Dungeon Sound
6. Lonely & Cold
7. Make You Better
8. So Much For Love
9. The Uprising
10. Red Baron Of WW3
11. Defying Gravity
12. Expect Us (Unreleased “The Age Of Reason” track)
13. Take It Back
14. Blood Ties
15. Talkbox Intended
16. Never That Easy
17. Fist Up
18. Digital Liberation Is Mad Freedom
19. DAT NU GRIZMATIK TRACK! 🙂
20. Born Ready
21. Kill Paris – To A New Earth (Gramatik Remix)
22. 23 Flavors
24. Illusion of Choice
25. Brave Men (Unreleased “The Age Of Reason” track)