Written By: Alex “Baron” Wilson
“This Better be Good Bro”
That’s what the guy next to me said while waiting outside the downstairs bathroom. At the time I couldn’t help but feel the same. I had just arrived at what had historically been my least favorite venue in Chicago, so my feelings were mixed about the night. On one hand I was excited to see an artist who helped introduce me to the genre of drum and bass, but on the other hand I was apprehensive to stew in the sticky, sweaty, axe-filled mess that I’d come to know as The Mid.
I showed up around 10pm — I wanted to spend as little time as possible there. It was odd to be greeted with a lot of empty space. I can’t remember a time I’ve been able to move as freely throughout the place as when I first arrived. I grabbed a drink and started to mingle. I met a few people wearing Hospital Records and Netsky and Chill Tour Shirts. After talking to them immediately noticed a difference in the crowd from the usual Mid patrons. They were knowledgeable about the artists as well as the genre as a whole. I met multiple groups of people who made it out all the way from Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. This is awesome to hear that Netsky has such a huge Midwest following.
Maybe The Mid would be different this time? Upon settling in I was able to give H3VY P3TIN (Orville Kline and Ruckus), who were currently on stage, a proper listen. More people started to trickle in as they spun an interesting mix of drum and bass with a few pop songs, including a fun Notorious B.I.G. mash up. There was a slight slip during one of the transitions where the beat matching was off, but it didn’t detract from what ended up being a solid set.
When Phantom 45 came on the top floor had been opened and the place was full. I was expecting mostly jump up drum and bass throughout the show but Phantom 45 came with a set which dug deeper, exploring the more tear out and techy side of the genre. I quite enjoy this style so it was a nice surprise for someone who isn’t very familiar with Phantom 45. Needless to say – I’ve already added him to my Spotify account. At this point I had made my way backstage and was able to fully enjoy the view. I met Orville and Ruckus and MC ? from London who made a brief MC cameo. I wasn’t able catch Phantom 45, but he did look back to give me a cheeky thumbs up during the set. It was refreshing to see him enjoying himself so freely as I feel the industry can cause some artists nowadays to lose that excitement.
At the end of it all I didn’t get a chance to find out what the gentleman I met earlier outside the bathroom thought about the show, but I can definitively say “It was good, bro.”
By the time Netsky came on the crowd was good and warm. He opened pretty chill, but dropped hard into his second song, complete with lasers, smoke, and confetti guns. It was a great start and people were unsurprisingly hyped. The production team behind the show displayed a terrific visual presentation. Netsky played for over an hour and showcased a mix of older and newer songs as well as a few pop mash ups. The surprise of the night was when he seamlessly mixed Drake’s “Hotline Bling” in a fashion that injected much needed freshness into an overplayed track. The transitions into “Puppy” and “Love Has Gone” were two of my favorites and he had a chance to play “Russian Bottle” as well as his newest offering “Work it Out”. Overall, Boris’ set was fantastic. Excelling in song selection as well as technical mixing skill.
Prior to Friday night I had made up my mind to never go back, but the Netsky and Chill show changed my opinion of The Mid. I ended up being exhausted and sore, but ultimately fulfilled. It was one of the best times I’ve personally had at an EDM show. That could be attributed to the fact that it was my first time backstage, but I know there was more to it than that. The atmosphere was different than when I had been previously. The opening acts of H3vy P3tin, and Phantom 45 were great and Netsky’s set was close to perfect. At the end of it all I didn’t get a chance to find out what the gentleman I met earlier outside the bathroom thought about the show, but I can definitively say “It was good, bro.”