By: Ryan Timmons
The night of January 19th in Chicago made it clear the reason for the city’s nickname, “The Windy City”. Gusts of bone chilling wind intruded without warning to bring an end to the surprisingly mild winter the city had been privy to since November. As the wind howled, a conglomerate of colorful and vibrant souls made their way to The Bottom Lounge to be graced with the ever graceful tunes of Emancipator.
Entrance to the venue was quick and painless, as is custom at The Bottom Lounge. One merely showed his or her ID and was granted entry into the show. This courtesy to their patrons is yet another staple of the Bottom Lounge, and why it is a favorite place for many to see shows. With re-entry access for smokers, a large floor space with room enough for everyone even if the show is at capacity, reasonably priced drinks, clear views of the stage, and a surprisingly powerful sound system; this venue definitely provides an immensely comfortable and enjoyable experience for its patrons.
The crowd was an eclectic mix of all of the fruits of the Earth. Positive energy was brimming as the gaggle of souls flowed and grooved to the Down-Tempo and Trip-hop jams that fluttered out of the speakers and into the beaming ears of the crowd throughout the evening. Everyone who braved the cold to come and enjoy themselves was most definitely in for a treat. Smiles, hugs, handshakes, high fives, and dance circles could be seen from every angle of the show. The vibrations were excellent.
The opening act was Tor. The essence of his set was really chill down-tempo and the mixing was crisp and squeaky clean. It felt as if he was creating more of an ambient soundtrack for the crowd to go about their business. The patrons were mingling, socializing, and a general sensation of calm could be felt throughout the venue.
The next act to take the stage was Mux Mool. After a minimal greeting, he set out on the brazen adventure of creating a rather stellar dance party. Mixing down-tempo into a slurry of trip hop and minimal dubstep elements, he certainly did what he set out to do. The crowd was feasting upon the tones and throbs in a sea of chilled-out perpetual motion. The set was enjoyable and a little quirky, and the stage was set for the headliner to come out.
Emancipator came to the stage and embarked on a wonderfully soul-tickling journey of their original blend of Trip-hop and ambient music. A musical soiree of multidimensional musical elements was sent questing into the awaiting crowd, creating a surge of wonderful energy flowing wither and thither throughout the room. A sense of joy and wonderment permeated the scene as their tones and melodies sifted freely through the air.
Emancipator consists of producer Douglas Appling, and is complimented with his live violinist Ilya Goldberg. Together the duo produces and performs some of the most original music of the present. Soothing melodies coming from the violin blend perfectly with the electronically produced undertones, creating sounds that nearly everyone can appreciate. In action since 2006, the duo has toured extensively and is a treasured staple on the summer festival circuit.
Their unique mixture of Electronic tones, Violin, and the occasional guitar riff creates a real gem of a musical experience. With the focus of the mainstream being mainly set on intense gyrating bass, whimsical spaced-out noodling guitar riffs, and intense speed; the mellow tunes of Emancipator creates a welcome break from the monotonous and repetitive “everyday” groups and DJ’s. Truly setting themselves apart from the mundane, Emancipator can justly move just about anyone. Their music is truly a blissful experience.
The stage set up was impressive. Using a high-end projector, they displayed soothing scenes of nature and psychedelic visuals on several sacred geometry based templates set up behind them on the stage. The lighting and projections further added to the experience to produce an even more jovial gathering. Emancipator played through solidly, and the experience as a whole moved like the gears of a clock. The venue, crowd, band, and lighting all seemed to feed off of each other in order to set a nearly perfect tone.
Emancipator dropped many of their favored tracks such as “Soon It Will Be Cold Enough to Build Fires”, “Nevergreen”, “Smoke Signals”, and “First Snow”. Incorporated into the mix was a bounty of older material, new material, and even some unfamiliar previously unreleased tracks. They performed an encore of “Elephant Survival”, a fan favorite, and finished strong with some more rowdy material that will be featured on their upcoming album “Dusk To Dawn”. The set was absolutely wonderful, and well worth the reasonably priced tickets to see the show.
Emancipator is a truly talented duo, enjoyed by many fans across every spectrum of life. The experience of their sets can and always does illicit feelings of joy and euphoria. Recommended for music lovers of all ages, don’t miss out the next time these guys come to town!