[Review] Kavinsky at Metro Chicago
For those of you who don’t listen to Kavinsky regularly – he probably seems like a little bit of a mystery. You’ve seen his crimson-coated album covers, his sharply illustrated letterman jacket and well, you’ve heard Nightcall. (It was prominently featured in one of the biggest films of 2011 so you better have heard it.) But most of all, if you’re like I was, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is around this Parisian artist’s music. From the outsider’s perspective, it’s a French guy who plays songs that sound like the 80’s. And with vintage synths on the rise, and the nu-disco movement thriving, guys like these are a dime a dozen. But if that’s your sentiment, then there’s something about Kavinsky (better known as Vincent Belorgey to his close friends) that you’re missing. Kavinsky, is about music, sure - but more importantly, Kavinksy is about the narrative.
Yes, I said narrative. And this is how that story goes. Kavinsky, a character Vincent invented a few years ago, crashed his Ferrari Tetarossa late one night in 1986. He later rose from the dead - as a zombie - to create electronic music. And in Vincent’s own words his song Nightcall is about, well, “a zombie who goes to his girlfriend's house and says - okay I'm not the same, we need to talk.”
And on a chilly Thursday night in November that zombie wandered out of Vincent’s imagination and found himself front and center at Metro Chicago.
Before finding his own place on the set, openers Simian Mobile Disco, and Tensnake played few DJ sets, with Taught Abroad playing a unique blend of live and preprogrammed tracks and providing live vocals.
Shortly after Simian Mobile Disco, Kavinsky himself stepped on stage, a smoldering cigarette hanging loose on his lips. He took a drag and flicked the rest onto the stage, the ashes sparking the audience into a frenzy. He took a deep breath, and began. His set began with a slowly building track spiraling up in energy that eventually burst into an explosive aural and visual experience, flashing lights and swirling smoke rose up behind his silhouette. When the smoke and fog cleared two blood red dots hung in the air, beaming forth from the Parisian DJ’s eyes.
And that intensely, believe it or not, is how the rest of the night rolled on. Kavinsky’s set led the crowd through both highs and lows - rampaging through of his signature blend of 80’s inspired synth pop and modern electronic grime - all the while his stage followed suit, supporting him with a myriad of different effects - from heavenly columns of white lights to synth synced lazers scanning across the scalps of the crowd. For the entirely of the night, the stage was awash with lush fog and crimson blended lights
Finishing off his set on an explosive high note the mysterious Parisian stepped back from his control station and ducked into the backstage as the lights dimmed around him. And that was that. He faded into the background, ignorant to the chanting, cat-calls, and cacophonous cheering coming from the crowd. That is, until he surfaced behind his control panel once more, lifted up by uproaring audience members, glaring foglights, and a sea of twinkling strobe lights. He materialized to play his most noted tune, the romping, and ceaslessly spiraling Nightcall. To aide him in this endeavor, he called up a dense aura of smoke and a ceaseless stream of indigo, crimson, and blue shimmering lights. It was three flickering, deeply hued, haze coated minutes and then silence. Kavinsky was gone. All systems shut down. I left shortly after, but the crowd, as if somehow spellbound by his ruby eyes, was still there cheering as I stepped outside, closing the venue doors behind me.
If Kavinsky comes to your neighborhood, don’t miss it. The visuals are huge, brilliant, and painstakingly synced to almost every move Kavinsky makes. You could call it a light show, and a dance concert, but it would be foolish to mistake it for that – it’s big, it’s huge, it’s thematic but most importantly it has heart.
Photography Courtesy of Rudy Lorejo. www.rudylorejo.com