Live Music Exploration: Chicago House, Daft Punk and The Fan Experience

Do you ever go to a concert, or hear someone talk about their favorite concert experience, and then find yourself diving back into the music to compare a classic live album against the concert stories of the past?

In the days since we went to the WBEZ Hip Hop Block Party, namely the Chicago house music tribute at the end, I’ve been thinking about how live house music and the fan experience has evolved over the years.

And as I’ve been exploring the roots and evolution of the live house music experience, I’ve been revisiting a lot of Frankie Knuckles’s classic tracks like “Your Love” (iTunes) and wondering what it was like in a place like the Warehouse in Chcago in the late 70 and early 80’s, and how those club experiences would compare to experiences captured on Daft Punk’s 2007 Alive 2007 (Live) album (iTunes).

Before the WBEZ Winter Block Party, I already had a knowledge of Frankie Knuckles and his revolutionary impact on and virtual creation of house music, but it was during the Q&A and especially the righteous dance culture spoken word piece by Reggie Gibson that really sent me back to the legacy of Chicago house and its influence on groups like Daft Punk.

So as I’ve been driving around in my car, I’ve been absorbing and zeroing in on the way the crowd responds vocally to the music as I play Daft Punk’s live album over and over again.

I Can’t Get Enough of That Roaring Pleasure

What about those waves of roaring pleasure and groove that come surging from the crowd during Daft Punk’s 2007 set in Paris?

Did fans at that concert feel the same rush of emotions and freedom that fans felt as Frankie Knuckles rocked the crowd at the Warehouse in Chicago?

Listening to the music, it’s obvious that Daft Punk is celebrating, re-interpreting and innovating the influential Chicago house sound by muscling up the classic house sound with heavy doses of electro-rock, thumping bass and a killer crunch that rattles all parts of your soul.

And that experience, I imagine, would be similar to what I’m told it was like to experience a show at the Music Box when Ron Hardy was DJing.

What About the Collective and Individual Fan Experiences?

Considering the historical context of each house scene, and looking at things from a cultural and sociological perspective, it’s safe to say that each a Draft Punk and Frankie Knuckles crowd were each gathering to “celebrate” for different reasons.

Some fans came to the Warehouse to just simply have fun and jack to themselves to oblivion, while others came to be a part of a bigger social movement driving by the music.

So I’ve been wondering if we were to compare the fans from both scenes, what would be the main differences between the Daft Punk crowd and the Warehouse crowd sociologically, emotionally and psychologically? And on the flip-side, what did those crowds have in common?

I’ve been letting my imagination run wild with all those thoughts and wonderings as I listen to Alive 2007’s massive eruptions of sonic bliss pouring out from the crowd.

It’s a prefect case study of crowd control to behold as the master duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo work the masses into a frenzy, taking fans higher and higher leading them through all the stages of sonic pleasure one fan could hope to experience at concert.

And as I consider this Daft Punk live album experience and compare it to what Reggie Gibson celebrates in his house music spoken word piece, I wonder what it would be like to listen to a recording of Frankie Knuckles rocking a Warehouse crowd.

What Role Did Drugs Play?

One of the things that I’ve continued to wonder about too, is the influence of drugs on both crowds.

During the WBEZ house music forum, they didn’t talk to much about the role, if any, that drugs played in the Chicago dance club culture, and as we continue to explore the use of Ecstasy at rave and dance concerts, I wonder how different the crowds and the concert experience would be for both Daft Punk and Frankie Knuckles crowd, if the fans and the DJs were, or were not, influenced by the use of drugs.  And what can learn by exploring a David Guetta live concert experience that’s captured in the memories of the fans?

That said, there’s an interesting quote, (at about the 2:25 mark in the video above), from house music documentary Pump Up the Volume. As Daft Punk’s “One More Time” plays in the background the interviewee says “…[the early house scene] was about the music… it wasn’t about poppin’ E man!”

We’ll get into that topic more as we continue our this and our ongoing community of groove exploration.

But, right now…

Now It’s Your Turn

Tell us your favorite Warehouse or house music club stories. Tells us what you think are the differences or similarities between house and dance club culture now and then.

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