Lil Louis vs Frankie Knuckles 4th July 2013 Chicago
Fourth of July week in Chicago has always been full of great music, great food, and wonderful entertainment and this year was no exception. Now that the “Taste Of Chicago” is no longer during the holiday week or that it even matters in Chicago anymore dance music took center stage and the events did not disappoint. With two massive events taking place on the same weekend “Wavefront” and “The Chosen Few Picnic” Dj’s, dancers, and entertainers found themselves in a party mecca. Two of the biggest and most legendary names in House Music were in town to preform and neither one disappointed but I did walked away from both events with a different perspective. I have always respect Lil Louis not only for his creativity as a Dj but his style and his attention to detail. As a producer he produced a list of classic songs including Blackout, Club Lonely, and one of the biggest House records in dance music History French Kiss. As a promoter and founder of Diamond Corp he gave Chicago some of the biggest events ever and over the years he has written a book about his journey, produced a stage play and is now working on a full length feature film entitled “The House Chicago Built” due for release in 2014. Thursday July fourth Lil Louis set out on a quest to “resurrect” House Music after proclaiming that it was “Dead” and even though he has been known to be brash and self centered I understood that maybe it was not the “Music” but the business of House that was dead. In a short promotional video Louis attacked the fact that in the “Home” of House music (Chicago) the urban scene has gone back to small lounges, weak sound systems, greedy promoters and lack of creativity among Dj’s to grow the House culture. I do feel there is always a place for the underground but as somebody who grew up hearing my House music in “Clubs” I would have to agree with his statement. That being said he loaded the Crowbar nightclub with a ridiculous sound system, and a blinding light show and delivered a high energy ass whipping set that broke the back of some of Chicago’s best dancers. What I found interesting about his set was not only did he give a great mix of “new” and “classic” sounds but everything he played was customized. I have listen to Lil Louis songs forever but when he played classic like Blackout and Why U Fall he played HIS versions and a already awesome song just got more awesome. Even the disco edits were customized by him and left most of us leaving the event saying “damm I want that shit” but that’s what made his set special and that’s why I pay money to see him perform cause even after 39 years of playing records Lil Louis still takes it personal and wants you to know he will always give you 110% and will leave you thinking what next. Saturday I got to hear the legendary Grammy Award wining Frankie Knuckles perform at the Wavefront Festival along with Jammie Principle and again I love the set but left with a different perspective. As a master of the mix for years Frankie Knuckles has always been smooth and flawless in his delivery with a balance of big room vocals and disco influence. Personal projects like ‘Baby Wants To Ride”, “Your Love” and Bad Boy still reign in the underground while the “Whistle Song and remixes for The Braxtons, Lisa Standsfield, and Diana Ross have put him on a global level as one of House music biggest legends. The vibe was electric and people were ready to wittiness House music history and around 830pm the show began. Frankie Knuckles opened with a string of his classic hits and was joined on stage by Jammie Principle who kindly supplied his vocals and energy to each song. I enjoyed the fact that the music and the vibe was never broken. Jammie Principle basically grabbed a microphone and performed to whatever record Frankie Knuckles played and when he was done the mix continued on. Unfortunately the set quickly turned into the Traxsource Top 20 and even though I loved his music selection and the vibe was strong anybody with a computer could have bought every song including the versions he was playing and found a Dj that could have gave you the same set. Even his classics were the same versions I or anybody could buy for 1.99 from any music site and for that reason I was a little disappointed. The crowd enjoyed the set and it was truly a House celebration but I personally felt that if the set was a “10” with a little extra it could have been a “20”. I love Prince and the reason why I will always go see him is not just because I love his music but he always gives me a feeling of appreciation when he just adds or extends a song into something I will have to lock to memory until I see him again. Much respect to Lil Louis and Frankie Knuckles for all the great memories they have given myself and others over the years and there continuous effort to keep this art we call HOUSE MUSIC moving forward. Next Post…………..
‘The Chosen Few Picnic”…. Past Present Future