So after the Grant Park festival ends, the Aftershows kick in. If a full day of 8 stages, with 44 bands to choose from (and an additional 4 for the kids) on Friday July 29th wasn’t enough to keep you from totally ADD’ing out, 25 additional Aftershow options come into the festival planning mix. If one can survive a full day at Lollapalooza AND manage to hit-up one of the amazing Aftershow lineup offerings, more power to them. Because WHY NOT?! It's a weekend of music after all, and not just ANY music. The annual music festival features popular and upcoming artists from a wide genre...and then there’s the rare appearance by Diplo at THE Aftershow; Studio Paris’ ONLY hosting of an Aftershow. Who better to fill it with than Diplo? I mean it's Diplo.
The glass-ceiling in the outdoor portion of the club was closed for the chance of rain. Somewhat elusive outside the Vegas club scene, Diplo came in making it rain...literally tossing dollar bills into the crowd.
Raw talent, a child-like mind, and a teacher-like influence, Diplo seems a cool dude and he comes with a posse. Controlling a room was not his prerogative this evening. He was there to do his thang. No pressure and with soft control, he allowed space for those in attendance to immerse themselves in a Friday night club scene getting into the music on their own terms. He was just there to be Diplo, making those of us lucky enough to be in attendance feel like we caught the hippest offering of the long Festival weekend.
As Jerzy was finishing his set, the crowd anticipated Diplo’s entrance. There would be no missing him. He came in throwing dollar bills in the air. “Chicago, how are you doing out there? My name is Diplo.”
Diplo began warming up the crowd who filed in just before his midnight set. Most seemed overly concerned on being too-cool drinking in the club, somewhat behaving, and trying to look shit-hot. There was some spot-dancing, but nothing too crazy. People dropped some cash for tickets and bottle-service to hang with friends while nonchalantly taking in Diplo on a Lollapalooza Friday night, downtown Chicago. It was a pretty sweet Aftershow in one of Chicago’s best nightclubs.
A group of Lolla-festival men made mention of how they skipped out on Major Lazer at Grant Park and paid a lot of money for their Diplo Aftershow tickets. Let it be known to those not clued in: Major Lazer is Diplo. Diplo was the obvious choice on this night.
As the night wore on, the music got progressively louder drowning out background conversations. A good notch was added with Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home”…let my body do the werk, werk, werk. A good bit of volume, base, and Ace Hood’s “Bugatti” brought the necessary energy to help focus attention on the real reason we were in the club on a Friday night.
It’s impressive to watch a DJ live in action, especially one of Diplo’s stature. I envision his brain as a jukebox fully-loaded with vinyl, constantly shuffling forward and back: evaluating crowd energy, then picking the perfect part of a song to fit the scene; imagining, then creating the beat that best leads up to it - all the while in the moment feeling the crowd. It is a progressively present mindset. Intense.
Diplo is a very forward thinker, seamlessly switching from one idea to the next. Captivating and dragging us along; Forcing one high to the next higher-high in the split of a second. He was definitely playing to the Chicago crowd and was looking out for the ladies: “Where are all my ladies at?”
Towards the end of the night, the lights turned soft red. Everyone was glowing pink. The lights progressively became more intense to bright white light signaling the end of the set. The crowd chanted for 1 more song, but Diplo was done; he left with his posse tossing more dollar bills into the air on his way out.
I think the crowd was expecting a longer night with Diplo, but the staff at Studio Paris made it very clear everyone needed to leave, NOW. Quarter bottles of gigantor Grey Goose remained. It seemed people anticipated being there until 4 in the morning, scrambling to down or give away the last of the vodka while quickly calculating the next party option.
I don’t think the crowd ever got into the set as a whole; there wasn’t a crowd to DJ energy shift nor any mentionable highlights or crazy drops. We were in the club, hangin’ with Diplo and his posse on a Lollapalooza Friday night.
Pretty damn cool.