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Review Tue Apr 03 2012

Review: Feed Me @ Congress Theater

The Congress Theater housed a UK dubstep invasion on Saturday night. If you kept reading past the word "dupstep," I'll now attempt to review just what that show was like. However, I feel that given the recent rumblings surrounding the Congress as of late, it's definitely worth addressing the differences that I noticed in the Logan Square venue since it was slapped with an April 17 Deleterious Impact/Public Nuisance Hearing at City Hall.

But first, let's talk about Feed Me. Now, I'm just like a lot of you, Chicago. I came from the land of the two to five hundred-person rock show. So seeing several thousand furry-boot-wearing, pacifier-sucking twenty-somethings bum rush a stage that doesn't actually hold a single instrument is not the norm for me either.

That said, if you can go into a show like this in the right state of mind, it's actually quite fun. If you're easily agitated, I advise you to have a few beers before attending an EDM (electronic dance music) show--preferably not the six-buck Bud Lights that you'll have to shell out for at Congress. Once you get in your groove, it can be a lot like how it was before you were too cool to let loose at your favorite rock shows. Dance, jump around and be merry because chances weigh heavily in your favor that you'll never be the most ridiculous-looking one there.

Feed Me, United Kingdom-bred producer/DJ John Gooch's stage name, took the stage at Congress on Saturday night just after 1am atop a mountainous LED screen-lined tower that resembled a row of pointy, cartoon-like teeth forming a smile reminiscent of a Jack-o-lantern--a play on the tour's "Feed Me With Teeth" name.

After hours of hard-hitting openers like fellow UK based artists Plastician and Skream & Benga, Feed Me was the perfect pace for a well-worn crowd. The trace-like swells that separate his intermittent bass-heavy breakdowns were the perfect breathers for audience members.

Feed Me played a solid 75-minute set, ending with the lead track from his latest EP Feed Me's Escape from Electric Mountain "Trapdoor"--a cut that channels the poppy, vocal-inclusive sound of Benny Bennassi and the aggressive drops found in tracks by artists like Skrillex and 12th Planet.

When Congress Theater's standards as a large-scale music venue came into question in the week or so prior to this show the major concerns that seemed to keep coming up were lack of sound proofing; questionable adequacy of the theater's security; rampant drug use and alcohol consumption by minors within the venue and disgusting bathrooms. In Congress's defense, these issues will challenge any venue that frequently hosts shows of the electronic nature.

That said, I would never argue that Congress Theater is Chicago's most polished venue. While I can't speak to the noise issue as I've never sat outside the venue during a show, I have seen and hear tales of a fair share of questionable behavior go on within the theater and I do cringe every time I'm forced to use the facilities.

However, be it because of an effort to counteract the hearing that's been brought against the venue or just an ongoing effort to improve, Congress Theater seemed to have really stepped up its game on Saturday night. Right when we walked up there was a swarmed of much more visibly marked security workers hovered around the entrance. My purse search upon entering the venue was even more thorough than usual. Security was a known presence inside, with pairs of guards patrolling the crowd. As for the bathrooms, the attendant kept the floor mopped--a task that's usually disregarded--and I was even handed a fresh roll of TP before entering the stall--a luxury that's been unprecedented there.

Truth be told, I sincerely hope that the Congress Theater and the city can work together to resolve any issues. It could definitely go for some sprucing, but it's a solid venue for artists big enough to draw a crowd of thousands but who want to avoid atmosphere of arena shows.

 
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Ben Sullivan / April 4, 2012 8:45 PM

Chicago is the actually the home of house music and thus THE FIRST CITY EVER IN THE WORLD to host EDM events. If it's foreign here than I don't know what it is everywhere else.

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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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