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Wednesday, December 13

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Review Thu Oct 22 2015

Chasing Skirts, Chasing Dreams: A Lesson From Dan Kanvis

Last Friday night felt all too familiar, and it started out the same way it always does -- one drink to hold you over while you're waiting, another to get the conversation going, and maybe a third just for Friday's sake.

Everyone who came through the door was searching for someone they knew. Tiny colorful lights twinkled from neat rows of arcade games at Emporium in Wicker Park, and guided its evening visitors to familiar faces. The evening was a complimentary alternative to the "new normal" of Netflix and chill.

Close friends traveled back and forth between two rooms, unable to choose which games to tackle first. A sweet mix of radio favorites hummed noisily throughout the venue, and a few couples took that as a sign to lean in closely and continue their conversations.

It was a little past nine, and Via Rosa stepped onto the stage. Her black leather jacket, Star Wars t-shirt and skirt matched her mood -- calm, cool and collected.

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Rosa gripped the mic with one hand and held a drink in the other. Standing only within an arm's length from her DJ, the stage suddenly shrank, and all eyes turned to her direction.

Scenes from Hellraiser unintentionally played on a large projection screen behind her, but it didn't distract the audience from her natural glow. As she opened her set with an eclectic cover of Peggy Lee's "Fever," a rush of warmth overcame the cold October air that traveled from the venue's entrance.

The flick's most frightening scenes mirrored Rosa's fear of the unknown, as she confessed to a small crowd that she had just quit her job to pursue her passion.

Her voice trembled and transcended into a mist of soothing, ambient sounds, and she pieced together pages of her diary and threaded memories of missed opportunities, unwarranted dreams and relationships that craved for reflection.

The transitions to her songs were not smooth, and most of them ended abruptly like a writer who had stopped in mid-sentence or a lover who boldly made the first move. More than anything, her songs captured the intensity of a first kiss and the quietest moments in a lovers' quarrel.

Those constant bouts of habit cemented her authenticity and prepped the audience for Deep Fayed, a four-piece instrumental band that redefined the meaning of sophistication and breathed life back into jazz.

Their loose-fitting, unbuttoned polo shirts, tousled hair and spontaneous dance moves caught casual Friday by surprise, and the crowd was quick to respond. The groove was contagious, and everyone on the dance floor picked a moment in Fayed's performance to welcome the start of the weekend.

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The group's invitation to share the spotlight with a couple of notable guests verified the necessary turn up, and local rapper Dan Kanvis picked up right where they left off.

The room was now dark, and the screen, which was once flashed psychedelic images from Fayed's set, now switched from amber, to dark red, to bright green. An outline of Kanvis' shadow followed the rhythm of his rhymes, and he revealed glimpses of his face as he hit center stage.

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Every now and then, his name appeared in white up against a vibrant backdrop. He recited lines from his latest EP, Parallel, and his debut work, Windows, which filled in the missing blanks in Rosa's loved letters but upheld Fayed's humor and happiness.

Slowly, the crowd began to break off into smaller groups, giving each other the opportunity to show off their skills. Couples moved in to seal each of Kanvis' song with a kiss, while others tried their hand at their own version of a two-step, as they felt his flow run through their veins.

One by one, the stage lights began to turn on, and one of Kanvis' last words echoed through the venue: "I feel closer to you than I ever did before now...than I ever did before now."

Those words rang true for those who stayed to salvage the rest of their night, but were brave enough to see what an early Saturday morning would bring.

 
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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 »

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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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