Chicago was a whirlwind of activity this weekend. The Cubs are in the playoffs, The Bank of America Chicago Marathon was held in Grant Park, Kanye West performed two shows at United Center and our President was home for a weekend visit. The city was alive this weekend with plenty of activity. The Chicago House scene was equally busy! I have to be honest with you. I couldn’t wait to write this week’s blog post. What an awesome weekend in Chicago for House and dance music lovers!!! This weekend was jam packed with the best in Chicago talent. First up… Black Coffee and Terry Hunter at the Mid. I’ve been excited about this party since the Mid announced it on their social media page. I’m a huge fan of Black Coffee. Black Coffee is a South African DJ and producer that is a household name amongst house/dance music lovers. Apart from the numerous singles and remixes that have been played in clubs and festivals around the world, he has released 5 albums since 2005. Terry Hunter is a Chicago born and raised DJ and Grammy nominated producer who has been active in the Music Scene since the early 90’s. He has collaborated with not only top house music artists but soul greats such as Aretha Franklin, Michael and Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson and most recently he has released remixes for Soul Songstress, Jill Scott. Both Black Coffee and Terry Hunter are powerhouses in this music scene so I knew I was in for something special Friday Night.
I headed to the MID early because I knew it was going to be a jam packed event. There was already a line outside the MID when I arrived. The crowd was friendly and excited as we waited a short time before the doors opened. Upon entering the MID, ZEBO was getting the crowd warmed up with an up-tempo set. Dancers began to surround the dance floor as Terry Hunter took his place on the tables. He proceeded to give me nothing but soulful, Afro and Latin inspired grooves from the beginning of his set until the end. His set was exactly what I expect from Terry Hunter. These are the moments I’m grateful to live in a city that is home to the best DJ’s around. I’ve been fortunate to hear Terry play fairly regularly as regular attendee of BANG Sundays, a dance party held here in Chicago. Terry’s sets are always varied in musical selection and appropriately timed and paced to provide maximum impact on a dance floor. He doesn’t hop on the tables and hit you in the face with the music. He eases you in, slowly building the tempos and rhythms until you are completely wrapped in his set. His blends and transitions are flawless. I was a sweaty mess after his set!
There was no time to rest however; Black Coffee proceeded to get on the tables and give everyone in that crowded club what they came for…a MUSICAL BEATDOWN! I don’t get the opportunity to see Black Coffee as much as I would like but every time he comes to town I’m consistently amazed at what he does on those tables. It’s amazing to watch and even more satisfying to my ears. He played all of our favorites. The club was full of diehard Black Coffee Fans screaming at every transition into another track we love! His set was so authentic…rooted in the rhythms of Africa, pulsating drumbeats and sensual rhythms that forced your body to do things you didn’t even think it could do on a dance floor. Dancers packed the dance floor and through a cloud of fog and smoke, those rhythms took over and left us all physically exhausted yet musically satisfied. The Mid outdid themselves with this epic lineup of talent. Terry Hunter and Black Coffee gave a jam packed club every ounce of themselves Friday night and the body aches I had in the morning from dancing so hard were worth every minute! OUTSTANDING SETS BY BOTH!!!!
Saturday was a jam packed day for me personally. My oldest was attending his first High School homecoming dance so I spent the day running around with him and getting him ready for his big night. It was also another big night in house music. So much talent was in the city, I was stressing about how I could make the two events I wanted to in the evening. Saturday night held two big events. One was at the Promontory, located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, for the FELA-bration. Africa Hi-Fi in association with the Silver Room, had AHF resident DJ Ron Trent and guest DJ’s Duane Powell, and Timmy Regisford from New York (Shelter-NYC) on the bill for the evening. With a lineup like that I knew that was going to be a good night of music. I was unable to make that event because I was still on mom duty at my son’s homecoming dance. I was disappointed especially because I was really looking forward to hearing these stellar DJ’s play. I had a few friends who attended and from what they told me the evening was absolutely stellar!!! I’d expect nothing less with a lineup like this. That’s another wonderful thing about House and Dance Music in Chicago, there are so many options to literally wet every musical appetite.
After I was done hosting and chaperoning my son’s dance, I headed to the south suburbs for another house celebration. I made my way to the south suburbs of Chicago for the “Retro Rev’s Party”. Retro Rev’s is a party hosted by legendary DJ and producer Hula Mahone and Grammy award winning producer and DJ, Maurice Joshua. Maurice has remixed dance songs for R&B’s elite, including Beyoncé and Mariah Carey. Retro Rev’s is party held once a month at Club VIP in the south suburbs but they also host a weekly dance party, “I love house music Friday’s”, at another south suburban venue called Club LaVue. This month’s special guest was Chosen Few DJ and producer Mike Dunn. Mike Dunn has been DJing and producing music for over 20 years. In addition to being the newest member of the Chosen Few DJ’s, he’s also the resident of one of the hottest parties in Chicago, We r Tuesday Nights at Reynolds.
I walked into club VIP and it was wall to wall packed. The club is spacious and covered in flashing lights with booths and a few tables around the perimeter of the dance floor. The dance floor was so packed; patrons headed outside to the patio area and continued to dance under a moonlit sky on a crisp autumn night. The vibe was easy going and cordial. It felt like a family. Everyone knew one another it seemed. People were walking through the club greeting one another with hugs and handshakes and taking photos. The bar is packed with patrons ordering their favorite drinks from hardworking bartenders; a booth filled with VIP’s for the night, celebrating special occasions with friends, people crowding the dance floor singing and dancing to their favorite songs and outside the vibe is the same. Outdoors, there were those continuing the groove on the patio and for those who desire a short break, there is plenty of extra seating outside to catch a breath, enjoy a drink and some conversation or even smoke a cigar with friends. They have an on-site Cigar retailer! Mike Dunn once again played a flawless set, masterfully combining classics with new releases. Saturday evening's set was particularly uplifting. You just felt good dancing to his set. Dancers twirling under flashing disco lights and shouting out to the DJ booth as Mike took dancers on an uplifting musical journey. Many people use the term “Service” to describe what a DJ does when he performs at his highest level of artistry. That’s how I would describe Mike’s set….it was SERVICE. He delivered a word to a room that needed to be uplifted and feel a little less stressed with some of life’s heavy burdens. That’s the beauty of house music. It can change your mood instantly. I have had days where my heart has been heavy or my mind has been stressed and a DJ can literally cause me to release that negative energy on the dance floor and leave it. That’s the RELEASE I talk so much about when I describe a Chicago House party.
I spent my Sunday resting and reflecting on what an absolute gift it is to live in a city that loves house music. Terry Hunter, Mike Dunn, Black Coffee, Timmy Regisford, Ron Trent, Duane Powell in one weekend? WHEW!!!! All of that talent in one city on one weekend!!!!! It really doesn’t get any better than that. WHAT A Weekend in House!!!
Until next time…see you on a dance floor!!!
©Black Widow 2016