Festival schedules can be overwhelming once you get beyond the “headliners” and “must sees” on your list. It’s not a very scientific method that I follow, but in a sea of band names that I don’t recognize, I try to grasp onto something, anything that allows me a start into making some tough decisions. Glancing through the Lollapalooza 2011 lineup, a couple bands instantly jumped out. Now, I know I’m taking Lady Gaga’s lyrics out of context, but they fit the situation. I was born this way. I was born with the last name of Midnight (if you catch me wandering around the Lollapalooza grounds in August, I’ll gladly show you my license to prove it) so it stands to reason that the names Midnight Conspiracy and Kyle Lucas & Captain Midnite floated off my laptop screen and virtual smacked me in the face and demanded my attention. Midnight Conspiracy I’m wondering how a dance-club sound tailor-made for massive warehouses with sweaty bodies grinding against each other as strobe lights flash is going to go over underneath the bright summer sun in Grant Park? Environment certainly plays a role in how music is received but the throbbing remixes this Chicago trio (Graham Geren, Louis Kha and Mikul Wang) serve up will undoubtedly shake a few cobwebs loose and get bodies moving during a time slot usually reserved for lunch breaks.
There’s an art in taking the work somebody else created, digitally manipulating it, and offering up something that bares a passing resemblance to the original work but adds a new spin and brings to life sounds that were either dormant or non-existent. Midnight Conspiracy is well on their way to perfecting that art by doing whatever it is they do – spinning knobs, introducing new beats, deconstructing and then rebuilding basic song structures, etc – for artists ranging from MGMT to Innerpartysystem to Chromeo to Crystal Castles. And the trio’s work has been recognized across the web – by the likes of Hype Machine, where the synth-heavy remix of Crystal Castles’ “Vietnam” reached #2 on the most popular tracks chart, and on radio, by BBC Radio 1, which featured the dub-step remix of Esser’s electro-pop anthem, “Headlock”.
I’m not typically a dancer (I have all the moves you’d expect out of a 40-year-old white guy who works a corporate job, lives in the suburbs, owns a Minivan, and has 3 elementary-school aged kids) but Lollapalooza offers a great chance to getaway and let loose and getting up-close and personal with a bunch of kids sounds like something I’m down for.
Kyle Lucas & Captain Midnite
My old man was a commercial airline pilot his entire career and was, yes indeed, Captain Midnight (there was an old-timey , Ovaltine-sponsored, Captain Midnight radio serial that ran from 1938 to 1949). The Captain Midnite who has hooked up with Atlanta-based hip-hop performer Kyle Lucas doesn’t hold a pilot’s license, but, rather, is a noted producer hailing from Seattle hip-hop scene.
While each has a permanent band which eats up time (Lucas with Lollapalooza 2010 vets Vonnegutt, Captain Midnite with The Let Go), the duo has found time to collaborate on two EPs, 2009’s I Brought Dead Flowers to the Funeral and 2011’s The Sky is Falling and I’m Fine. Mixing Lucas’s take on living up to expectations in a world filled with those looking for a crack in the armor (the rapper was discovered and signed by Big Boi of Outkast) with the rich variety of Captain Midnite’s instrumentation and sound collages, the two have earned comparisons to artists ranging from Kid Cudi to Atmosphere to Blueprint.
Like with Midnight Conspiracy, I’m a bit out of my comfort zone with Kyle Lucas & Captain Midnite (my tastes run more along the lines of bands with loud guitars) but with the buzz the duo’s generated leading up to Lollapalooza, they’re worth taking a chance on.