Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Review Tue Oct 13 2015

An Informal Introduction to Kane West

DJ Kane West
The weather on an early October night in Chicago felt a little different from what I'm used to. It was just a little too warm, and the streets of Logan Square were more tame than usual, which made me question whether I was at the right place. I was standing slightly off of the corner of Milwaukee and Medill avenues, and I quickly double-checked the directions on my phone. Siri comfortingly reassured me that I was here -- at the East Room.

A black door embellished with indecipherable graffiti and musicians' marks lied against a seemingly vast brick wall. A glaring red light flickered right above the door, matching the rain that fell into a habit of turning on and off. The red light continued to haunt me, as I traveled up a narrow staircase, but a comforting, cozy darkness soon confronted me when I reached the last step. Tiny tea-light candles strategically placed on two-seater tables and booths provided a pathway to the bar.

The event was RSVP only, and the invite indicated the doors would open at 9pm. It didn't say when London-native DJ Kane West would perform, nor did it list who his special guests would be. A couple hours passed before small tight-knit groups traced the walls of the venue, leaving the dance floor open to anyone who dared to show off their moves.

In due time, West's guests were revealed. Similar to the smooth transitions splashed into their sets, resident DJs Bobby Swan and Solaris Hilton seamlessly traded places behind the performers' workstations. Swan flexed his strength in fusing together ominous, bass-heavy beats with occasional nods to hip-hop's finest, while Hilton crafted an eclectic vibe that crescendoed into a pop-infused party.

The two transformed the dance floor into an intimate setting, casting a spell on the audience who are entranced by their reflections underneath a purple haze and a glimmering disco ball. Twenty-somethings took the liberty to couple up or hold their own with moves that felt rehearsed, while others explored tricks they did not know their bodies could entertain.

There were subtle moments throughout Swan's and Hilton's sets where you felt like you were in a still shot from a scene of "Skins" -- the US version -- and you just felt cool and collected. That sensation left an opening for Kane West, who stepped onto the scene by midnight. No introductions were needed, and the growing crowd welcomed his presence.

West is also known as Gus Lobban and makes up one-third of another London-based project Kero Kero Bonito, an electrifying group that has a knack for fusing J-Pop, electronic and arcade sounds together. He had just come from performing with KKB at Schubas on Southport Avenue.

Even though a quick Google search might tell you that you've misspelled Kanye West's name, a closer look at the top searches shows West as a solo artist who was dubbed as "Turbo's new pupil" by Vice in August and recently caught The Fader's attention. Right now, his Soundcloud is the only place you'll be able to stream his music.

At the East Room, he didn't waste any time.

His casual attire -- a blue Adidas soccer shirt -- complimented his blue Beats headphones. West's string of songs encompasses a new voice for PC Music and reconstructed a blend of street-inspired, industrial and dancehall sounds with hints of classic Chicago house.

There's a certain playfulness that exists in his concoctions, and he isn't afraid of showing that. A few noted fans followed his movement closely.

His calculated dance moves and sudden jolts disclosed that the beat had either dropped or he was ready to divulge into another creation. West's conscious effort to keep up with the crowd's energy heightened his ambition, and he was down to get down.

That performance was just another memory cashed into his budding music career. While predictions for his future success have been recorded, the evening's private show revealed that West was simply a boy who just wants to have fun, and the party has just begun.

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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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