midnight conspiracy lincoln hall

Concert Review: Did You Feel What The Eye Saw?

 

midnight conspiracy lincoln hall

The exploration in to the community of groove and dance culture continued at Lincoln Hall Saturday night.

In the wake of this sold out show, it’s obvious that Chicago DJ trio Midnight Conspiracy is aiming to innovate the live dance music experience as they stimulate the senses by blurring the lines between house, dubstep and performance art.

This show wasn’t just another excuse to party with the hometown fans. But it was a night to experiment with our emotions, senses and feelings.

Surprised By Revelations

Midnight Conspiracy was in experimental mode as they tested out their new Eye Live Laser Lightshow, a 16-ft LED custom DJ booth in the shape of their Eye Of Providence logo.

And it was an experiment that proved to reveal more about dance culture than I expected.

The Eye was certainly a visual spectaule to behold as it stood high above the crowd blinking in sync with the venue-vibrating electro-rhtyms of rock and bass and casting out beams of light that splashed psychedelic and ravish patterns on the walls and fans faces.

The show began with an ominous voice warning of the manipulation of our minds by the powers that be. But fans didn’t seem to be to interested in being warned about cultural mind control. And once the beat dropped it was obvious that we all just wanted to rock and shake our booties to oblivion.

From there the DJs catapulted us in to a visual and sonic feast filled with eye and ear candy so sweet and delicious that fans pushed their bodies up against the speakers and rubbed their backs and hips against each other making it hard to figure out where one fan ended and the other began.

Speaking of fans, before the show got rolling, I had a most interesting conversation with one fan outside as we waited in line braving the frigid single-digit temps and icy wind that howled down Lincoln Ave.

A Crazy Flood Story

“Did you know that [Lincoln Hall] flooded the last time Midnight Conspiracy played here?” He told me with a wild smile and big wide eyes of awesome anticipation. “The foundation split open and water started pouring out and we all had to leave. It was crazy! And I’m super excited about seeing them again tonight.”

I was amazed to hear the fan’s story. And after a quick Google search afterwards to see if it was true I didn’t find any other account of the story. That said, I don’t know if that fan’s story was true, but nonetheless I’m sure the awesomeness that fan experience during that show was setting the stage for another unforgettable Midnight Conspiracy show tonight. Kinda like these fans.

UPDATE 2/6/12:

I received this video below from the band that documents the flooding. Thanks guys. And if you have any other stories or info about this night please send it along.

How Has Clubland Culture Changed?

As the music pulsated all around me and I got lost in the groove, I thought back to our previous experiment of club culture and wondered what Frank Owen would have thought of this show from a fan perspective.

And since Chicago has a rich history of house music, I wondered what Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy and other house music innovators would think of this EYE experience.

And considering our exploration in Ecstasy use and dance music culture, I wondered what sort of impact drugs and other substances were having on these fans and the band. Would the show have been as “amazing and memorable” without  this particular show compared to others throughout house music history.

And since this show was all about “The Eye,” I gazed deep in to the center of the massive structure wondering about the dynamic flow between the band and the fans.

 

midnight conspiracy the eye lincoln hall

Did You See What Eye Saw?

I say this because what was interesting about The Eye was that it presented a profound perspective on two different vantage points.

From one point the band was looking out at the crowd through The Eye, and from the other the fans were looking back at the band through The Eye.

And the last thing that struck me was that in the midst of this visual and sensual exchange I realized what made this show so powerful was that The Eye served as a visual reminder of our collective and subconscious emotional experience.

Yes, the more I thought about The Eye the more I realized that it was a physical representation of the sensual and emotional connection between the fans and the band.

This is fascinating to think about because at most concerts you don’t always have a tangible and physical reminder of the communal connection that makes the show thrive and groove.

And as I think about the concerts I’ve gone to and how this communal connection is celebrated, it’s usually the dance music concerts that have a powerful, almost tribal symbol like the EYE , onstage that fans can focus their attention on during the show.

Sure, some bands have a screen playing in the background or pyrotechnics, but are those show spectacles the same as a massive structure like The EYE, or like one of my favorite symbols, the Daft Punk robot pyramid that was at Lollapalooza 2007?

And I’m sure the promise of this type of strong tribal and communal connection is what made the Midnight Conspiracy show sought after by fans, a show that many fans were willing to wait outside for over an hour in the freezing cold.

And I believe it’s not just the opportunity to escape, but it’s mostly life-changing communal experience that has made live dance music so popular in the mainstream in recent years.

I believe at our core we, as humans, desire to be connected to each other. And live music, whether it’s in a dance club like this, or a rock show, is one of our favorite ways to connect to each other. But is rock music truly delivering the same communal and life-changing experience?

Are Our Live Show Expectations Changing?

I’ll wrap this post up by asking you this.

Is dance music more popular than rock music today because live dance music is giving fans a more satisfying and communal experience than a live rock show?

Are fans coming to shows will different communal expectations than they have in the past?

Are artists like Tiesto aware of this change in the fan experience? And are they working to make fan active participants instead of Looky-Loos?

Which artists do you think are delivering the best communal experience for fans?

 

The Eye will be tested out again at Metro on February 17th. And the “official” debut of the Eye Live Laser Lightshow will be on March 2nd at the Congress Theater with Zeds Dead, Dillon Francis, and AarabMuzik. Until then, you can check out tunes on the Midnight Conspiracy Soundcloud and Facebook page.

Were you there?

We talked to a lot of fans during the show and we’d love to hear what you thought of The Eye. Go ahead and let us know what you experienced and how you think clubland culture and live dance music is being evolved today.

Share your concert experiences and thoughts in the comments below, on Twitter @livefixmedia, on Facebook, Google Plus, or call the concert fan hotline at 773-609-4341, and we’ll include them in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

Check out more of Colleen photos here.

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