On Thursday, June 29th, Color & Rhyme were among the droves in attendance at House of Vans Chicago. The event pulled people in like moths to a flame: Vans House Parties is a series of ten shows between House of Vans Brooklyn and now, the newly opened Chicago location near West Loop.
Thursday’s showcase featured the Odd Future veteran, electro-funk, neo-soul, indie-darling do-it-all R&B band The Internet along with special guest, inc. no world. The venue itself doesn’t deviate from Vans’ already successful grunge, skate, free-reign and black-ink aesthetic. Along with sets by both bands, House of Vans also showcased the talent of Los Angeles-based visual artist, Nathan Bell. Bell curated the venue into a one-of-a-kind art experience. The cherry on top to Vans House Parties is that they’re completely FREE. The only cost is your confirmation of attendance by RSVP. Here’s a look inside of a great Thursday night:
While there were many things to hold attention at the event; the art pieces, the merch, the open tab bar, they were all made fleeting with a view of the stage. There’s something that pulls you in when you’re in view of stage lights accompanied with the even buzz of a crowd. The buzz grew into excited cheers when inc. no world took the stage. The duo, composed of brothers Andrew and Daniel Aged, delivered a much-needed soulful set while we waited and explored the venue. They even drifted from their own music to deliver a cover of Kirk Franklin’s “Melodies from Heaven”. The rendition caught the ear of the crowd as the sea of bodies formed an impromptu choir making for one amazing jam session, and the energy in the air ascended in preparation for the main event.
Headlining the show, The Internet took the stage. Each member selecting their weapon of choice; Christopher Smith on the drums, Patrick Paige on the bass, Matt Martians (bright beanie down the bridge of his nose like a luchador mask) on the keyboard, Steve Lacy dancing around with his guitar, and finally Syd gracing the mic. The individuality and talent of each member with their own respective instruments are apparent, but what makes the band special is their collective stage experience and presence that only comes with countless hours of practice and grinding it out together.
The Internet ran through hits on Syd’s solo album Fin, songs like “Know” and “All About Me” with their smooth drum patterns were especially crowd favorites. The show turned up several hazy notches when the mic was passed off to Steve Lacy as he performed his own hits from the excellent debut summer EP Steve Lacy’s Demo. In a loose fitting shirt that wouldn’t make it through out the whole set, Lacy had the crowd’s backing vocals as he went into “Dark Red”: “Something bad is ‘bout to happen to me”, he sang with a knowing smile as he walked along center stage. The Steve Lacy show was a welcome change of pace in the middle of the set, with Lacy’s easy-breezy acoustics contrasting the sugar sweet soul that Syd provided on the front and backings.
There were so many individual highs between the collective on stage they hardly had the time to deliver the hits from their 2015 album Ego Death, but all the expected hits made their appearance and Syd closed the night with a floaty, jam session edition of “Get Away” that had the entire house and band moving.
Shoutout to House of Vans Chicago for such an unforgettable great event for the kids. Vans House Parties are an awesome concept everyone should take advantage of. After all… it’s free. We look forward to more events in the future.
Photos by Mike del Rosario, Megan Schlebecker