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Wednesday, December 13

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Review Fri Sep 17 2010

Review: Rangda @ Empty Bottle / Appleblim, Cosmin TRG @ Smart Bar, 9/10

Chris Corsano

Chris Corsano of Rangda (photos by Dave Knapik)

Late September is traditionally quite an exciting time for Chicago experimental music lovers, as it is when one of the most revered publications for the genre, UK-based magazine The Wire, brings its Adventures in Modern Music festival to the Empty Bottle. When it was first announced that Chicago would host its own version of Barcelona's Sónar festival this September, many were left wondering if it would conflict with Adventures in Modern Music, and if so, what that would mean for one of the city's most unique celebrations of far out sounds. Of course everyone involved found the perfect solution by simply joining forces to make it all one big party. Ironically, Sleep was one of the first gigs of the festival, but it would be in short supply the rest of the weekend for any die-hard fan unable to imagine missing a beat.

Drag City artists Rangda headlined Friday night's Empty Bottle line-up. An experimental supergroup comprised of Sun City Girls' Sir Richard Bishop, Six Organs of Admittance's Ben Chasny and frequent collaborator with the stars, Chris Corsano, Rangda faced the challenge of waking up a crowd already weary from several days of live music. Their fast-paced freakouts proved more than fit for the job, as the tight three-piece frenetically ripped their way through the first portion of their set.

Sir Richard Bishop

Sir Richard Bishop of Rangda

Few would agree that moderation is one of rock music's classic qualities, but Rangda demonstrated a keen understanding of pacing themselves and, in turn, their audience. For every extended attack on their instruments, Rangda took time to slow it down a bit. While the frenzied madness was certainly enjoyable, it wouldn't have had as much impact without the languid, hazy psychedelia that frequently followed. Through their ability to expertly ebb and tide, Rangda showed they didn't see a gig as a simple chance to play a disconnected series of songs, but rather as a whole event from start to finish.

Appleblim

Appleblim

Following the final notes of Rangda's set, there was still time left on the festival clock, so cabs were hailed to carry anyone left standing to the official Sónar afterparty at Smart Bar. Sadly, seeing Rangda at the Empty Bottle meant missing the mysterious Bernard Fevre's Black Devil Disco Club, but walking into a crowded club with Bucharest's Cosmin TRG on the decks quickly lifted the spirits. Borrowing elements from garage and house, TRG's funky rhythms prepared revelers for the main event with Appleblim. Raising the tempo and energy levels substantially, Appleblim kept the floor bouncing until well after the house lights went up with his signature blend of techno, house and dubstep. As the crowd begged for more, he handed out free records to lucky punters, presumably from his own Apple Pips imprint, proving that good things come to those who close the club.

While the Rangda gig was a stellar rock performance from quite the well-oiled machine of a three-piece, Martyn sparked a thirst for dance music on Thursday night that had to be quenched. Sónar and Smart Bar really got the formula right by giving this festival an afterparty with world-class DJ talent and only charging five dollars to see it. Sónar Chicago and Adventures in Modern Music offered loads of great gigs, and if you saw each one, you'd be exhausted, but at least you wouldn't be broke.

All photos by Dave Knapik. You can view more of his Sónar Chicago photos here.

 
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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.

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