2011 Black Wednesday clubbing and Thanksgiving weekend highlights
With this many options, Thanksgiving weekend may be the new biggest party weekend of the year.
Once all the costumes have been put away and the smashed pumpkin bits have been swept up, it seems like all eyes immediately refocus on New Year's Eve as the last big hurrah of the year. Not so. The Champagne popping and confetti blasting may receive the lion's share of attention, but Black Wednesday and the rest of Thanksgiving weekend are seeing more action this year than the New Year weekend could ever hope to top. Chicago promoters have shelled out boatloads of cash to bring some of dance music's best to town—including Swedish House Mafia's Axwell, party rock king Steve Aoki and trendy Frenchman Martin Solveig, who's making his Chicago debut—and you, dear reader, stand to reap all the benefits. Here's our exhaustive list of every dance event worth its weight in turkey drumsticks and leftover cranberry sauce.
Axwell V Live. 10pm; $25. 18 and up. Alongside partners Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell rules the European dance scene as the Swedish House Mafia. It’s in large part thanks to their productions that house music has reached the heights it has Stateside in the past couple of years. This Black Wednesday, Axwell overseas V Live’s dance floor for the entire evening, spinning peak-hour house, progressive and electro.
Bang: Gregory Porter The Shrine. 9pm; $10. Rising out of the South Side in the early ’90s, DJ Terry Hunter has been synonymous with Chicago house ever since. Here, Hunter sets up shop a few days earlier than usual to do his thing alongside Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Gregory Porter. Support comes from singer Carla Prather and DJs FLX and Shahid Mustaf.
Mr. Best Paris Club. 9pm; reservations required. Go to parisclubchicago.com. Fueled by a love of the Beatles, the Doors, Public Enemy and Notorious B.I.G., A-list Hollywood DJ Mr. Best doesn’t sit still for long when he takes over a DJ booth. Spinning rock, hip-hop, Top 40 and dance remixes, he’s presided over the decks at events for Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. He brings that celebrity party vibe to Studio Paris.
Chances Dances Hideout. 9pm; $5. Gender-bending DJ troupe Chances Dances brings its polysexual dance party to Hideout for a late-night get down, this week to help give you a massive hangover on Thanksgiving.
DJ Chuckie The Mid. 10pm; $25, discounts in advance at clubtix.com. The Dutch house sound is as big as it gets, but few do it like DJ Chuckie. The man regularly draws more than 40,000 fans to his gigs in the Netherlands, and David Guetta hand-picked him to share the bill in Ibiza thanks to his ability to bring a hip-hop mixing style to big-room dance sounds. Chuckie is joined by (usually) Saturday resident Nathan Scott, for this weekend-night Wednesday affair.
Commonwealth Crimson Lounge. 9pm; $10–$20. The White Label DJs’ Sadie Woods helms this industry Wednesday, spinning songs drenched in sweet soul, erupting with funky drums and bumping with a steady house beat. The guests have elevated the profile of this night as well. For the Black Wednesday edition, electro, house, breaks—in a word, versatile—German DJ Sharam Jey makes a too-seldom Chicago pit stop.
Flosstradamus + Supreme Cuts + Calez Lincoln Hall. 9pm; $15. 18 and up. Everyone’s favorite DJ duo—known for being two of the best party rockers in town—take over Lincoln Hall to help get your Thanksgiving started off on the good foot. Autobot and Young Josh fire off digital goodness from their laptop-fueled DJ set running from house to hip-hop to hipster. Indie-leaning dance duo Supreme Cuts and Calez open.
Cedric Gervais Spy Bar. 10pm; $20, free before midnight with R.S.V.P. at clubtix.com. The top French DJ and king of the Miami scene makes one of his frequent Chi-town stop-offs and shows us what he’s made of: electro-tinged, sleazy house for the masses. With records on Ultra and Deep Dish’s Yoshitoshi, he can be counted among the best in the biz.
Home Cookin ’11: Cajmere + Gene Farris + Roy Davis Jr. Ohm. 9pm; $15, discounts in advance at clubtix.com. Green Dolphin’s fall dance marathon tradition continues with another installment of its Black Wednesday Home Cookin series, but this time it’s at sister venue Ohm and it’s headed up by one of Chicago’s dance-music greats. He may have ditched the green Mohawk, but Cajmere (a.k.a. Green Velvet) hasn’t lost any of his techno spark, seeing a huge resurgence in his career of late. He spins this pre-Thanksgiving bash with support from fellow Chicago house fiends Gene Farris and Roy Davis Jr. The second room sees sets from Bear Who?, Frankie Vega, Funk Shui and Special E.D.
FREE Kid Color The Whistler. 9:30pm. Local disco don Kid Color adds his selections to the musical spectrum at the Whistler, spinning bright discoid tunes perfect for cocktail sipping.
Lee Squared: Lee Foss + Lee Curtiss Undisclosed location. 10pm; $25, discounts in advance at clubtix.com. For many years leading up to ’09, you could hear Lee Foss spinning his mix of deep house and techno all over town. Then a strategic move to L.A. upped his career profile significantly; he’s even put out a couple of new 12"s under his own name and more notably as Hot Natured with Jamie Jones. He’s joined here for an off-the-grid Black Wednesday party by Detroit underground house staple Lee Curtiss, who’s also been on a steady rise recently thanks to his work in the Visionquest foursome.
Lights Out: Jesse Marco Lumen. 9pm; $10. The kid’s been of drinking age for only a year, and already he’s one of Gotham’s foremost A-list DJs. His eclectic style—which he credits to his parents’ expansive musical tastes—eventually scored him gigs behind NYC’s velvet ropes, and now he counts fashion icons Heidi Klum, Vivienne Westwood and Tom Ford as outspoken fans of his work. All this fashion cred makes him a “made to wear” fit for Lumen.
A Love Supreme Undisclosed location. 10pm; $10, before midnight $5. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for address. Bringing it back to Chicago’s Warehouse days, Rahaan, Specter and Solson, disco and house enthusiasts who know a thing or two about deep edits, hard-to-find boogie and how to throw an off-the-grid party, set up shop in Bucktown, giving you a chance to party in classic style till the sun comes up. For this pre-Thanksgiving edition, they up the party ante with a guest set from respected local legend Lee Collins, a man well known for his disco knowledge and ability to rock a dance floor, having started his career spinning at the famed Muzic Box.
DJ Sneak + John Simmons + Juano Smart Bar. 10pm; $15, before midnight $12, in advance $10. The legend returns home. This onetime local got his start spinning all-night warehouse parties with Ralphi Rosario, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk and Steve “Silk” Hurley. Now residing in Toronto, Sneak’s lost none of his roots, fusing jacking Chicago house, Latin rhythms, filter disco and loft classics. He teams up with Smart Bar’s resident house guru John Simmons and Juano for this club’s Black Wednesday
Martin Solveig enclave. 10pm; $20. If you didn’t know of Martin Solveig prior to this year, you definitely did after he scored one of clubland’s biggest anthems with “Hello”—now even Madonna is tapping him for studio work. But the French producer has been big—like, really big—for some time now throughout Europe thanks to his pop-friendly dance tracks. With “Hello,” he’s also conquered the American market, making his Chicago debut at enclave.
Tell All Your Friends Evil Olive. 10pm; $5. Turntablist party rocker DJ Trentino takes over Wednesdays, kicking the electro into high gear at Evil Olive for yet another night of the week. He’s joined by residents Johnnie Blood, the Sleepers (featuring Porn and Chicken cofounder Dan Dwyer) and club manager Fei Tang.
FREE Trans-Europe Express Maria’s Packaged Goods and Community Bar. 8pm. Maria’s musicologist Joe Bryl explores the swinging cocktail culture of Europe with a jet-setting set through Paris, London, Rome, Warsaw and other European destinations at the height of the ’50s and ’60s.