Wavefront Music Festival - Day 2

While Saturday was pretty fun, I was really looking forward to today, Sunday. Today we have Guy Gerber, Steve Lawler, Eric Prydz, and Sasha. Guy Gerber has been solidifying his name among the best in the business over the last couple of years. Eric Prydz has been HUGE in all the circles of electronic music. And Sasha is a living legend. Sasha's involvement guaranteed my sale from the first day tickets went on sale.

Five and I woke up from our long day of music, and finally left the house around Noon Thirty, I think. The skies were pretty clear, but there were some bizarre storm warnings that came across the morning news and the weather reports. One report announced a Severe Thunderstorm warning from 12:45 to 1:30, which we thought was odd. The radar had absolutely no storm activity in the Chicago area.

We were directly West of downtown a couple of miles, so our plan was to drive down Lake St., then north up Michigan Ave, to Lake Shore Dr., and then get to the beach. During the 20 minutes it took us to drive 4 miles to Michigan Ave, the sky turned completely dark. Huge black clouds surrounding down Chicago. And winds blew around all kinds of trash and debris. People walking around on the streets quickly went inside of building to shield themselves for the horror that was about to dump in the downtown area.

Five and I turned onto Michigan Ave, and got onto Lake Shore Dr. pretty quickly. Over Lake Michigan there were clear blue skies, but looking West was the direct opposite. Five continued to drive north, and the clouds emptied on to the city.  We seemed to escape it, though, as only a couple of drops hit our car. We passed a couple of downed trees by the beach, where everyone was evacuating.

We reached Montrose beach, which is about 6 miles north of downtown.  All of the storm clouds really stayed directly over Chicago. There were gray clouds above where we were, but the really dark horrific ones were south. It was very bizarre.

Rather than head out to the beach in the middle of a storm, Five and I walked to a nearby restaurant to meet up with our pal, Brian, to wait out the storm. 40 minutes later, we exited the restaurant. The skies were a little gray, but the storm definitely passed. By the time, we actually got to the opening gate for Wavefront, you couldn't even tell that a storm was there.

Well, except for the line of people waiting to get in. Wavefront shut down, and evacuated everyone for 2 hours for fear of storm damage. A fire department helicopter was circling the beach, and accessing the current weather before Wavefront could proceed with its event. We were in line only a little while before the Fire department gave the go ahead, and people were admitted entrance.

Five, Brian, and I made it in around the same time we got in on Saturday, about 3pm.

I went straight over to the North Stage to see who was on deck. Danny Daze was spinning a fantastic groovy House set to welcome the crowd back into the festival.

By the way, along the sides of each stage were a bunch of VIP cabanas. The North Stage had 3 big ones, and 4 smaller ones. Each of those Large cabanas cost $10000 to rent for the weekend. They included plenty of accommodations on top of the prime real estate, but yikes... I think I'd rather buy a car.

We wandered around a little bit though, and found ourselves over at the South Stage, where Betatraxx was spinning a rather hilarious set.

The tracks he played was a perfect example of why a lot of people don't take dubstep seriously. He played a dubstep remix of the Requiem for a Dream epic ending song. He followed it up with a dubstep remix of the Epic Fight Music. And then went into a dubstep remix of NES Punch Out. After which he threw in some classical music, and other dubstep remixes of random well known songs. It's a prime example of pandering to the crowd for cheap cheers rather than actually building an incredible vibe that stands on its own.

We were really just waiting around for Nadia Ali and Chris Lake to show up. Nadia was supposed to start at 4pm, but the time came and went without her on stage. Then 4:30pm rolled around, and Chris Lake didn't show up either. I guess they were delayed because of the freak weather earlier.

A local DJ took the stage not too long after 4:30. He was only up there for 20 minutes or so before Chris Lake arrived and took over the controls.

The crowd was certainly into it, but my attention headed back to the North Stage.

At 5pm, Benoit & Sergio started to perform their set on the North Stage, and that's basically where I stayed for the rest of the day.  They played a fantastic set that was both mellow and energetic and played perfectly off the crowd. Their set rolled perfectly into Guy Gerber who continued with the beautiful vibe. He didn't tear down the vibe, or try to change it. He built on the sound Benoit & Sergio started and subtly crept in his own sound. Seamless.

And what Guy Gerber started, Steve Lawler built upon. He absolutely set me on fire. I don't know why I had a negative opinion of him before, but his set was the perfect build up. Everything started with Benoit & Sergio into Guy Gerber into Steve Lawler, and just kept building and building, hour after hour. I was so lost in the atmosphere that I could not care one bit that Eric Prydz was on the South Stage. I could not pull myself away from Steve Lawler.

And as the clock hit 8:30pm, the stage rotated around for Sasha, and much like the DJs before him, he continued to build. He piled on that raw classic sound with the fresh chill sounds of summer.

I think trying to describe the sound of his set is a bit futile. I mentioned in a previous post that aside from his darker raw progressive house sound, he has a more Tech House / Indie House kind of sound that he's been spinning at his 'Never say Never' events at Ushuaia Beach Resort in Ibiza. But at this point his Tech House / Indie House vibe has completely taken over, but with his signature style underneath.

Over the last year, he's been in the studio producing some of his own music. He's released a few tracks on his Last Night of Earth record label, as well as working on the third installment of his Involver CD series, which he's been somewhat secretive about.

He started 'Never say Never' because he felt he wasn't playing tracks from all the artists he loved, and, now, 3 years later, he's made that sound his own. He's separated himself from the other Progressive House kings, and puts himself alongside Guy Gerber, Benoit & Sergio, and all the other DJs that spin a more Tech House vibe.

His set from Wavefront was the perfect soundtrack to a warm summer day. It started off with the sun up high, and as the music continued to wash over me and the rest of the crowd, the sun slowly descended into the west.

I'm not never good at trainspotting tracks, but looking at a couple videos online, and his most recent DJ chart, his set had the following tracks:

Rudimental Ft. John Newman- Feel the Love (Scuba Remix)
Martin Roth - Beautiful Life
Mark Reeve - Arena

His set continued to build and build and build until he played one of the most beautiful tracks I had heard in a while.

Kölsch feat. Troels Abrahamsen - All That Matters

The song built up a wonderful uplifting feeling, and when it slowed down a bit and let the beat go, fireworks started going off in the sky behind us. That moment was probably the single best music experience in my life. The whole day lead up to this. Almost 5 hours of building and building to the perfect moment.

The beat picked up again, and the crowd went crazy. To finish of his set he rolled into one the signature tracks of his upcoming Involver 3 album. I was going crazy at this point.

Hot Chip - Flutes (Sasha Invol<3r Remix)

Sasha was amazing, and put together with the festival as a whole, Wavefront was an incredible experience. After going to North Coast and Spring Awakening, it was amazing going to a festival where I was completely in tune with the music. I liked plenty of artists from North Coast and Spring Awakening, but both festivals have all the acts I care about in a Swiss cheese pattern. Both festivals are geared towards the new generation of electronica fans, and the music I care about gets shoved in whatever time slots remain.

I really hope SpyBar achieved the success they hoped for with Wavefront, and I hope they make this a yearly event. Though, it did kind of feel like a one off. With all the popular electronic dance music these days, I think Chicago needed a reminder about what kind of electronic dance music makes this city unique. And I think they definitely got it with Wavefront.

To finish, I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the reviews following the event.

"The Spring Awakening is the party that the kids thrown when their parents are away for the weekend whereas The Wavefront Music Festival is the party the parents throw once their kids go away to college." - Katie Karpowicz




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