Photo Courtesy of Dan Horvath
Opportunities to experience well-curated dubstep of the deeper and darker variety are relatively few and far between in America; this is especially the case in the Midwest. This makes appearances by the likes of System Sound founder V.I.V.E.K. and "America's dubstep ambassador" Joe Nice truly memorable. As anticipated, both delivered outstanding sets this past Thursday at Chicago's Primary Nightclub.
I arrived at Primary at the beginning of DJ Tornado's set, a crowd pleasing affair that featured 140 bpm favorites such as Coki's classic 'Goblin' and Skream's genre-defining 'Midnight Request Line' while also delving into grime with Youngstar's gritty 'Pulse X,' and even a spot of UK Garage with the inclusion of Mosca's irrepressible 'Bax'.
Joe Nice was next up to the decks, his buoyant personality and unrestrained enthusiasm showing through as always: on multiple occasions, Mr. Nice would rewind the track being rinsed and yell into the crowd over the roar of the sound system. Highlights included Commodo's crushing 'Fuck Mountain,' The Illuminated's militant 'Scavenger VIP,' and Goth Trad's pulsating 'Cut End VIP,' which I had been hoping to hear for ages. Joe Nice is a truly passionate individual-- it was pleasure to watch him at work.
Having waited patiently in the wings, V.I.V.E.K. made his entrance with a specially made roots dubplate which featured toasts such as "the only good system is a sound system," in between verses extolling the might of System Sound. Doing the namesake of the evening justice (Bassweight), V.I.V.E.K. made repeated use of a slowly applied low-pass filter, isolating the pure sub-bass frequencies of his tracks. By this point in the night, many of those in attendance had found a comfortable space on the dance floor and were in a serene state, bobbing their heads and calmly absorbing the weight that Primary's crisp Void audio setup had to offer. This provided the perfect atmosphere for V.I.V.E.K.'s set, a playlist thick with cosmic, trance-inducing dubplates. Among them were two by rising Finnish producer LAS: the persistent 'Dem Break,' and the intensely syncopated 'Tic'. Representing his own catalog admirably as well, those in attendance were treated to VIPs of 'Sirens,' 'Soundman,' and 'Asteroids'.
Although Joe Nice and V.I.V.E.K. were unable to perform a back to back session as advertised due to the club shutting its doors slightly early, I was thoroughly satisfied having spent 4 hours basking in the top-notch vibes provided. Huge ups to the DJs, the Bassweight crew, and everyone in attendance for a true night to remember.