In a weekend where Chicago is having their first Sónar festival, it only seemed fitting for Double Door to become a psuedo nightclub filled with hot, sweaty men and women dancing and bouncing around to the varied dance rhythms performed on the stage. With rhythms ranging from headliner Kele's retro 80's electro-funk groove to the skittish dance-punk stomp of U.K.'s Does It Offend You, Yeah? and the loud boom of Innerpartysystem, there was more than one reason to dance.
Headliner Kele came to the stage sans his familiar day job (frontman for the currently on hiatus U.K. band, Bloc Party) and was more than ready to charismatically charm the audience with material from his solo debut, The Boxer, and his dancing ability. Backed by a trio featuring drums, keyboards and guitars, Kele quickly found his groove in the cadence chants of "Walk Tall," and the electronic Afro-Caribbean styling of "Everything You Wanted." Throughout these songs and the many others that filled his nearly hour-long set, Kele seemed to content with keeping his new material separated from from work with Bloc Party by choosing to dancing his way through the extended sections of the songs and rarely touching a guitar. With each skilled dance move, Kele's shorts came dangerously close to sliding off his waist which he jokingly warned the audience might happen after they booed him for removing his shirt to reveal a Grant Hill Detroit Pistons basketball jersey.
While Kele was the headliner, his brand of retro sounding electro-funk was far from the highlight of the night. Whereas, he was a captivating singer and performer, his sound felt too soft after following the aural assault of openers, Pennsylvania's Innerpartysystem and fellow U.K artists Does It Offend You, Yeah?. During their sets, the assault was not limited to the stage as floor rippled with each dancing and jumping body near the middle and front of the audience.
Innerpartysystem manage to blur the line between a synthesized rock band and a loud dance band with their use of programming, vocals and live drums. Each squawk, buzz and blips of the keyboards and samplers was met with an equally loud drum attack creating a perfect balance of man and machine. At times, however, it felt like the instrumentation overpowered the vocals. Although audible, they could have been brought up a little more than the instruments to stand out on their own. Despite this, they truly warmed up the audience with their pounding rhythms and electronic rock sound.
Performance of the night, however, goes to Does It Offend You, Yeah?, who probably demolished many eardrums with their 40-minute set. In the absence of vocalist James Rushent (due to illness) and barely noticeable technical problems, the band performed a mostly instrumental set filled with headbanging, stomping, members alternating lead vocals, an airborne guitarist and a brief joke at the expense of Smashing Pumpkins followed by the opening guitar riff of "Today." With each note from numbers from their debut, 2008's You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into" as well as newer tracks, "We Are The Dead" and "The Monkeys Are Coming," the band worked the audience into frenzy resulting in one attendee to be removed due to crowd surfing while playing air guitar. Despite missing members and tech problems, Does It Offend You, Yeah? plowed through their set and, apparently, the audience too as the crowd thinned a bit after their explosive set.
If a night out dancing to variations on electronic music was on your card for Saturday night, chances were you at Double Door enjoying one good set, one impressive set and one mind blowing set. Those whom left before Kele's set missed a nice performance of enjoyable music but chances were that the show, for you anyway, ended with the last note from Does It Offend You, Yeah?. It was probably better that way.
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