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Sunday, September 19

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« Review: The Virgins @ Schubas, 1/29 Peachcake Bring Sunshine and Happiness to SubT »

Concert Sat Jan 31 2009

"Okay!" - The Foreign Exchange @ Double Door, 1/30


Forget AutoTune. Forget singing over rap beats (with apologies to Mary J. and Nate Dogg). Forget where modern day pop R&B is going, and we can talk about The Foreign Exchange.

Long story short, rapper/sanger Phonte of the then-group Little Brother collaborated with Nicolay, a producer located in the Netherlands, in 2002 over IM and email and created an album. Connected was a testament to not only the universality of music, but also how the digital world is letting people meet and collaborate, even when separated by an ocean. The album introduced Phonte singing in long form, something that he'd only hinted at in the Little Brother recordings.

Their second album, Leave It All Behind, released late last year and recorded in a more conventional fashion, features slower compositions that allow Phonte and guests YahZarah. Muhsinah and Darien Brockington to really showcase their voices and present songs that aren't cookie-cutter love R&B.

Friday night, the Double Door welcomed Phonte, Nicolay, YahZarah, Darien Brockington, ZO!, and the Els rhythym section for what looked to be a sold out show. Doing spot dates around the country, and due in Cincinnati the next night, the show began nearly 2 hours after its advertised 9pm start time. An above average DJ set (note to DJs: if you're playing a song the crowd loves, STOP TALKING OVER IT) kept a very chill crowd from getting too antsy.

It's refreshing to see artists having fun themselves, and Phonte has that charisma that just makes you have a good time yourself. It kept his stagemates loose and enjoying themselves, and it's quite clear he enjoys what he's doing. The show was tightly produced, with only a few sound issues with microphone levels and such, but all in all, it was two hours of every enjoyable music played to an appreciative crowd.

On a personal note, I note with happiness that the vibe all night was chill, and while this seemed to be a show fans would get the most out of, it was nigh impossible to not feel the music. The live instruments backed up the vocals perfectly, and while they didn't get a chance to shine individually, except for a brief period at the end of the show which turned into the prelude for the encore, the musicianship was absolutely incredible.

So a duo, brought together by technology, proved that not only is the production model a rewarding one, but the live show, bringing the music to the people, doesn't suffer because of that circumstance. Instead, good music remains good music, no matter how it's produced, and, quite frankly, when you're in the middle of a crowded floor at the Double Door, singing along to a track borne of an IM conversation or last year's more traditionally produced tracks, you could care less how it all came to be.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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