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Review Mon Sep 19 2011

Lost in a Church Together: A travelogue of Active Child, Chad Valley, and Magic Key @ Schubas 9/17/11

[This review comes to us from writer Jason P. Olexa. He can be followed on Twitter @TacohugsPHD.]

Bass rumbles and spits from my breathing regulator as I was deep under the sea in some gear that makes me look relevant to a goth's steampunk fantasies. Trying hard to focus on the reason I'm in this Batman wet dream get-up to find the long hidden entrance to Atlantis. My attention kept drifting to the species of aquatic life striped in colors humanity didn't even know existed. A deep-sea dub beat explodes and I find myself straddled on a Pegasus lifting me high out of the ocean, climbing effortlessly through the air. We're talking post skyscraper high, post supaman high, post rainbow high. As my vision adjusts to the brilliant light I make out St. Peter, Pimp C, and the metaphysical spirit of the Jodeci album Mad Band given human form in a candy colored hot tub. A clean-cut young man on a harp is dropping these R. Kelly romance jams straight out his vocal cords. I'm taking it in. I'm smiling. I'm in heaven and even if that Pegasus takes me back down to earth I have a new goal. This whole heaven deal seems all right with me and I'd like to spend more time.

The Pegasus taps the dulcet toned harpist on the shoulder and informs him of an earthly engagement. As a man who can't stop moving, partially due to the bends induced by my rapid accent into the metaphysical cosmos, I key in on the cut of The Pegasus' jib and hitch a ride back down to earth. I find myself in a candlelit neo-Gothic tavern named Schubas as my partner in travels hoists his harp onto the stage. Two fellow members of his sonic clergy on bass and drums join him; he introduces himself as Pat Grossi and his band is Active Child. Led by a rumbling bass tone, they launch into their fist song and I'm back at that heavenly poolside party.

Active Child constructs R&B sonic temples of emotion with strong post dubstep bass driven Masonic architecture — spires deeply enveloped in an ambient fog. Hips sway as an estimated three out of ten attendees are dancing with their eyes closed and a smile on their face. Pat's voice triggers Proustian re-remembrances of lust, love, and lost love. Active Child pause and Pat introduces their next song as "Shake Your Tail-feather" reminding us all why we're here on a chilly Friday evening enjoying this performance of live music together. The crowd looks into their dates' eyes, sparks fly, and Chicago is seriously getting its freak on. To my right, a very happy couple is woven together and reciting the prayers of Juvenile's Book of Azz. Pat Grossi's eyes find those of a young female upfront as he launches into the closing hypnotic booty jam "You Are All I See." She cries tears of joy. We hug and let the waves of positivity wash over us. It was a very rare #based night that will be recorded in a place of prominence in the scriptures of my life.

Flashing back three hours prior the current project of local keyboarderka Aleks Tomaszewska, reuniting her with drummer Deric Criss of Aleks and The Drummer under their new moniker Magic Key, opened the night. The rhythmic high energy eastern bloc hurdy gurdy dance music of Aleks and The Drummer was still there but was tempered with downtempo expansive keyboard-driven numbers that created an expansive cave for Aleks's vocals to fill. The synth haze of the new songs combined with the singers belt buckle sent my mind flashing back to that time I watched all of Twin Peaks on Nyquil.

In the space between Magic Key and Active child was Chad Valley, aka Mr. Hugo Manuel. His sound sent my brain searching through half remembered lectures on Hussrel. I was trying to reason away the flood of memories that had overcome me. I had of gone to see New Order and was dancing on a beach at six am as the sun comes up, booming over the PA plugged into a street light was the bubbling italo-disco inflected summer simmer synthpop of Chad Valley. Bring a believer of the many worlds theory I'll just have to accept that in another universe Chad Valley was on factory records and blew minds in a series of post-club beachfront renegade parties. My Bro on stage had mad pull with the 25-35 crowd and had everyone doing their calisthenic warm ups for Active Child's dream rave set. I'm going to predict that we'll see Chad Valley again during next summer's festival line-ups.

-Jason P. Olexa

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Da / September 19, 2011 2:14 PM

"nice" "review"

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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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