Keys N Krates @ Bottom Lounge – A North Coast After
It seems like more people are grabbing a computer (even a tablet), making a couple beats, and calling themselves DJs. To the uninformed masses, one guy behind a computer playing something they can dance to is just the same as the next guy. This is very incorrect. There is a lot that goes into truly making music, and being able to do it live is half the battle. Keys N Krates do it live. These guys are a trio of passionate and talented musicians who have come together to bring great live music to the dance community. And they do it right.
Keys N Krates are made up of Toronto natives Adam Tune (drums), David Matisse (synthesizer/keyboard), and Jr. Flo (turntables), they crossed the border for the 5th anniversary of North Coast Music Festival at Union Park in Chicago. At the festival, they played on a basketball court. The entire crowd was sweating and dancing up a storm. These guys know trap music, and they do it well. After the fest, they hosted an after party at the nearby Bottom Lounge a few blocks from the fest.
Walking into the show, I was surprised at how few people appeared to be there, but then I realized there was a second half to the club. The front area of Bottom Lounge is just that, a lounge. Comfy seats line the front of the place, with the bar lining the wall. To the left, there’s another entrance, that’s where we wanted to be. The difference between the front and back bars were like night and
day night life.
Walking into the dark and hot venue, the ceilings seemed too low for comfort, but this was an insignificant observation to what we were about to witness. The place was so packed we could barely maneuver our way to the stage, but it thankfully wasn’t overwhelming. The crowd simply meant that everyone who was there, wanted to be there. After they came on, the energy Keys N Krates brought to North Coast was doubled. It seemed as though they were allowed to truly be themselves at the after party. They were headlining, and everyone was there to see only them. We could see their excitement with every drop, every song change, every kick, every snare, every scratch, and every note.
In being a live trio, these guys had to work together. Without everyone on the same page, the show couldn’t be solid. But, it was clear that this was not their first rodeo. Each member got to show their stuff with a solo, just as with any talented live band. Adam Tune stole the show with a drum solo that left the entire crowd speechless for an almost uncomfortable amount of time, right before they burst into roaring applause. Jr. Flo’s turntables are vinyl. Yes, he spins vinyl. Keys N Krates is a group that must be seen live. David Matisse acts as a front figure, smiling from ear to ear to get the crowd hyped for each moment, even though the music does it for them.
Winding down the show with an awesome remix of “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” Keys N Krates stole our hearts as their set built and faded. The huge crowd refused to leave at the finale of the show, and the sound guy even allowed the group to play longer than allotted, which earned him an earful from the band’s tour manager. After the show we got the chance to shake hands with the group, each sweaty and exhausted but still beaming and extremely grateful to meet a couple fans. The entire experience, both at North Coast and Bottom Lounge truly made lifelong fans of both me and my photographer. Their energy and raw talent resonates with their fans, and it lets them stand shoulders above their computer-dependent peers. They have a new EP called Every Nite coming out September 23rd, pre-order it on iTunes here.