"AIRA House" Originators Series Event, Chicago. 01-30-2015.



     This post is the second part of the "AIRA House" Originators Series that took place back on January 30th here in Chicago. The first post (which can be viewed here: "AIRA House" Panel) covered Roland's "AIRA Crew" (artist reps and technicians) as they spoke to Chicago artists and pioneers Jesse Saunders, DJ Hyperactive, Roy Davis JR and Gene Hunt as they asked them about their own certain styles and history in Dance Music. They also discussed what drove their pioneering spirt, experimental attitudes and what motivates them today. The night also featured a live set by Thirdwave (AKA Poorboy Rich and Casey Bishop) who used Rolands new AIRA equipment during their performance. 

     Not only were we able to bring you the video that got recored that night but we were also fortunate enough to have been able to record the sets from the event afterwards and are excited to be able to share them with you now. We're going to post them in the order that the artists played and they go to show just why, along with their production talent, they got chosen to do the "Chicago Originators" leg during this series tour. I hope to post a new set a week so check back for them as time goes by.

     Gene Hunt.

     Jesse Saunders.

     Roy Davis Jr.


     DJ Hyperactive

     If you haven't already, Click on "Live Sets Chicago" or our tab at the top right corner of the blog to keep up with what we have treading on our Facebook page. Get links to other DJ mixes, view classic and current party flyers and event links for shows we are supporting or recording. And of course, check out all of these artists personal sites links where highlighted through out the post for more info on what they got coming up, tour dates and support what they do. After all, If it were not for the artists, none of these posts would have been possible. 

     Special thanks to DeWook Photo for the use of the great pic from the night.

Hope this finds you all well.


Gus "Audio"

© Live Sets Chicago. 2015.

Frankie Knuckles "Escapade Chicago" 2000.

     This post is a very special one as it's on someone whom if it were not for the crafting of his sound specifically to the crowd here in Chicago, and those whom he inspired that went on and created their own music, there might not be this music we call "House" today. But sadly it's also falls on the first anniversary of his untimely death. The Godfather of House music, Frankie Knuckles.

     On March 31th, 2014, the world received the news of his sudden passing and it's left a void in the Dance Music community here and around the world ever since. Many thought as I did that it was a cruel April fools joke being that the news started to make it's way around online the evening before April First. As time passed friends close to Knuckles as did various Social Media sites confirmed that his death was in fact true. In a email released to the press by Fredrick Dunson, a long time friend and business partner of Knuckles, he stated that Knuckles had died at his home in Chicago of then unknown causes but later it was revealed that he had succumb to complications due to Type II Diabetes. Knuckles had developed the decease in the mid 2000's and has battled with it ever since.

     Knuckles has had countless production and remix credits to his name and a list of artists that he's worked with over the years that included Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Luther Vandross just to name a few. He's travel'd the world over all while touching people with his spiritual sets and warm heart along the way. And if it were not for fellow DJ and friend Larry Lavan turning down an opportunity to be the resident at a club that mutual friend Robert Williams was opening here back in the the late 70's, Chicago and Dance Music as a whole, might be in a different place then it is now or maybe not even be in existence.

     This mix, which was also mastered by Live Sets Chicago's own "The Datman" at the time, was given out at D/E Entrainment and Tabernacle Chicago's event of the same name back in 2000. The two production companies put on events at various venues such as The House Of Blues and Crobar over the years which featured Knuckles as the DJ for the night. The event was held at The House Of Blues main room and from what I remember the DJ booth was set-up in one of the balconies off to the right so that left the main stage free for people to dance on which they did this night. This was one of many events that Knuckles performed at that we had the privilege of attending and memories do sometimes seam to blend together. But a few do stand out from this night in particular that I'd like to share.

     At one point during the night I found myself dancing next to a large group of people and what looked like a bodyguard in front of them. As the night went on I found out it was then rising pop star Christina Aguilera and her entourage that were in attendance. Aguilera, who was on tour around that time, was enjoying the music as her security stood watch. The other was during the end of the night as I went up to the booth I heard a fan with an Italian accent asking Knuckles if he could sign a empty champagne bootle for him to take as a souvenir. Knuckles told him "They're never going to let you take that out of here"! The fan just laughed as Knuckles signed it. The fan proceeded to stuff the bottle down his pants and walked away as everyone in attendance stood there and laughed as Frankie just shook his head.

                      I would say that "Escapade Chicago" is a mix of hope, inspiration and determination. With lyrics such as "They can't take that away from me", "Don't you ever give up" and "Brighter days are just around the bend" it's hard not to feel motivated after listening to it. As how many felt after experiencing one of Knuckles energetic and spiritual sets. As with other mixes on our site, we try and share lost, classic of forgotten mixes or ones that have a story behind them that we feel need or should to be told. And in this case pay tribute to someone's who's brought countless others joy and happiness in their lives and spread House Music around the world. But sadly it's also a reminder of how his sound is and will be missed by those experienced his sets or listened to his music.

     Since we started writing this post, there have been a few announcements that involve Frankie's legacy that we wanted to include. First there was a foundation created in his name called The Frankie Knuckles Foundation. The foundations's primary goal is to preserve and keep the musical legacy of Kunckles alive through media, events, conversation, artistic endeavors and eduction. The foundations site is still in the works but a donate page is linked on the address above. On the anniversary of his death, there were two events that took place in Chicago. One celebrating his life, the other looking to tell it on the big screen. First there was a Boiler Room event at Smartbar Chicago. Knuckles had performed at the venue for over the past 32 years and from what we understand, was the first resident DJ the club ever had. This event was the only official International tribute to the late artist as approved by The Frankie Knuckle Foundation and his estate. The event featured Chicago DJs Elbert Philips, Alan King, Michael Serafini and Derrick Carter. All of which had an intimate and intractable connection with Knuckles over the years and are great artists in there own right. Lastly there was a production kick off party for "The Warehouse". A movie in the works recounting the story behind Chicago's "Warehouse Club" where Knuckles started his career here in the late 1970's and where "House Music" got it's name. It will also tell his legacy behind the decks and will go into detail about his relationship with long time friend Robert Williams, who originally asked Knuckles to move here from New York to DJ at the famed Chicago after-hour night club.

     If you haven't already, click on Live Sets Chicago or our Facebook tab on the upper right hand corner of our blog to follow us and keep up to date with what we have going on our fan page. While there, get links to other mixes and events we're supporting or recording, classic and current party flyers  and more. And of course, be sure to visit The Frankie Knuckles Foundation and support the fund to keep Knuckles legacy alive for generations to come.

     Special thanks to Frederick Dunson from "The Frankie Knuckles Foundation".

Hope this finds you all well.


Gus "Audio"

© Live Sets Chicago. 2015.

"Aira House" Originators Series Panel, Chicago. 01-30-2015.


     This is a bit different from what we normally post but we're just as excited to be able to share it. Live Sets Chicago teamed up with Chicago's Energy Productions to bring you the Chicago leg of Roland's "AIRA House" Originators Series Artist Panel discussion at The Primary Nightclub from this past January. This series brings together Roland's "AIRA Crew" (artist reps and technicians) as they speak to the host cities artists in a panel style setting and asks them about their certain styles and history in Dance Music. They discuss what drove their pioneering spirt, experimental attitudes and how classic Roland production instruments like the TR-909 and TB-303 shaped what and how they produce'd and shaped Dance Music as a whole.

     This panel featured Chicago's pioneers, producers and DJ's Jesse SaundersDJ HyperactiveRoy Davis JR, and Gene Hunt. Everyone gave their backgrounds, histories and how they're using Rolands new equipment both in their studios and or while performing live. Those in attendance were also able to try out the new "AIRA" line of equipment that's bringing classic Roland production equipment like the TB-303 and TR-909 to a new generation and as they say that can either break artists free from computers and software based music programs as stand alone pieces or integrate them with what they already have in the studio or let their creativty be spontaneous during live performances.


     There were also many fellow Chicago DJ's and producer's in attendance during the panel and that had stayed for the event after the panel such as Wyndell long, Vincent Floyd, DJ Mazi, Frankie Vega, Rees Urban, Lothario Lee, Charles Matlock, Rob Threezy, Herb J, Phil Free Art, MircoDot and DJ He Man IS. The panel went over an hour and it wasn't nearly long enough to really get in depth on everything but from what I hear, Roland might be considering doing other events here in Chicago with different hands-on workshops and longer in-depth sessions with different artists and producers since this one had such positive feedback afterwards.

     If you haven't already, Click on Live Sets Chicago or like our tab at the top right corner of this blog to keep up to date with what we have trending on our Facebook page. Get links to other DJ mixes, view classic and current party flyers and event links for shows we are supporting and or recording. And of course check out all of these artists personal sites links where high lighted or in bold for more info on what they've got coming up, tour dates and be sure to support what they do. After all, If it were not for the artists, none of these posts would have been possible.

Hope this finds you all well.


Special thanks to Roland, Primary Night Club and Lou Green from Energy Productions for the use of the video.

For more info on video production or editing, contact: Lou Green for more info.

© Live Sets Chicago. 2015.

Spencer Kincy. "The Live Recordings"

    If there were ever a post that would fully embrace our mission and mixes that we felt needed to be shared it would be these by Chicago's own "Gemini", Spencer Kincey. Spencer was a part of Chicago's second wave of artists that came out of the 90's loft and underground scene and by many accounts was both an master on the decks and in the studio. With timeless releases on labels such as Relief, Caujal, Peacefrog, Planet e and Classic to this day still finding new fans and then what was becoming an steady flow of DJ gigs around the city and trips overseas, it all seamed to have all faded with out reason and had many asking the same question. "What happened to Spencer Kency"?

    Back in 2009 when I really started to embrace the whole social media thing, I started seeing posts making the rounds from blogs, music sites and fans all wondering the same thing. "What did ever happened to Spencer Kincy and where has he been all of these years"? Being that other Chicago artists such as Derrick Carter, Mark Farina and DJ Sneak that also came out of the same era had gone on to spread their sound around the world still to this day, this had many asking why wasn't Kincey part of all this as well? From what I can put together from various sites and comments online is that sometime around the early 2000's, he disappeared altogether from both the industry and from those who knew him personally. There are a few different theory's behind why or how this all came about and the most recent info that I've seen by Chicago's (5 Magazine) sheds some light on the subject. Along with those questions came an renewed interest in his productions and mixes by younger fans that would hear what was being being posted by Kenceys fans on various websites and fan pages. That's when I started to wonder what sets of his I could find online being that the internet was now full of classic and never before released mixes from days gone by from both fans and artists that have held on to them. Surely people have dug out their old mix tapes and shared what they have of his or could point to someone or where that did. Well for the most part the end result was the same same handful of sets that have already been passed around for sometime now with a few getting put out over and over but on different sites. That's when I started to wonder if there were any tapes in our collections that might have been forgotten about or maybe since we didn't know about how much the music fans around the world missed him, that we never felt there was an rush to post them.

    Fast forward to 2013 when we dove into the vaults and found these 6 live recordings mixed in with the lot. I had talked to The Datman about what I was reading online about Spencer and he to was shocked with what I had told him. He felt just as strong as I did about putting these out and telling the story behind them the best we could and share his magic behind the decks. Fast forward a year to 2014 and here we are ready to share with those who are willing to listen and breath life back on to these tapes that had been sitting for all is time. From the start, there's always been an method on how and when we post or pick a set to share on our blog, but for some reason these sets always seamed to get pushed back for for one thing or another since we took them out of the boxes. I thought about how these would be presented and decided it best to share them by date. We will, to the best of our abilities, try and tell some of the story from the nights but with so many recordings over the years going back to the early 90's sometimes our memories do fail us. So in the end we might just let the mixes talk for themselfs and keep the story's brief. Please, if any of you have flyers from any of the other dates listed, message us on here or hit us up on our Facebook page. We would love to be able to add them to the post. The 4 from 1997 were recorded at Shelter and the two from 1998 were recorded at Karma, both in Chicago. I'll spread out the the mixes over time so don't expect them to be posted all at once. So lets get into it then!

             Spencer Kincy and (Derrick Carter) Live from "Material at Shelter" Chicago". 01-24-1997


     Going by the feel and flow of the recording, the first 45 minutes or so is Spencer and Carter closes out the rest of the mix. If they went back to back on parts later in the mix or if it's just Carter on his own we're really not sure but none the less it's a great classic set to start with. This was around the time when Fridays were "Material" nights at Shelter and you had residents such as Derrick Carter, Mark Farina, Spencer Kincy and other great Chicago talent laying down tunes and setting a great vibe that Friday nights were known for.

   If you haven't already, Click on (Live Sets Chicago) or our tab at the top right corner of the blog to keep up with what we have treading on our Facebook page. Get links to other DJ mixes, view classic and current party flyers and event links for shows we are supporting or recording. And of course check out all of these artists personal sites links above their sets and where high lighted through out the post for more info on what they got coming up, tour dates and be sure to support what they do. After all, If it were not for the artists, none of these posts would have been possible. There is'nt an official Kincy fanpage or website but those of you that are on Facebook check out an (Spencer Kincy) group who's fans shares stories, music, photos and gives tribute to a man whose talent is still being heard and missed to this day.

(Special thanks to Terry Matthews from 5 Magazine for the use of the link)

Hope this finds you all well.


© Live Sets Chicago. 2014.

"House Music Legacy Session" Boiler Room Chicago.

     This post took longer than expected but I still wanted to share my experience from this great night because I felt some of the reviews I saw making the rounds left out some details that I think needed to be included. It was hard not to get excited when the word got out about the back to back events that were taking place on the 25th and 26th of February in Chicago. Video streaming site the "Boiler Room" along with Mid-West veteran production crew "House Preservation Society" put together what many have said to be the most anticipated and what Wednesdays event went on to be the most watched live stream the site has done to date. The buzz surrounding these two shows were not only due to the fact that Boiler Room was finally doing a proper dance music stream here but also because of who was billed to play at both of these nights. The first stream held on Tuesday (Which I didn't attend) was an "Dance Maina" records label night with some of it's heavy hitters manning the decks such as Robert Armani, Jammin Gerald, DJ Gant-man and DJ Deeon.

     As much of a buzz as that event created before, during and after, it all lead up to Wednesday's "House music legacy" stream that had fans waiting by their digital devises for the live feed to begin. That night featured acid house creators "Phuture" reunited with original members "DJ Pierre"" and Earl "DJ Spank Spank" Smith and newest member "Lothario Lee" performing live. The excitement behind this set was due to the fact that Pierre and Spanky would be reunited and at the controls of those little silver boxes that put them at the head of the pack and had countless people emulate their sound for years to come. There was some talk during the stream and when the video went online that this was not the first time the duo had performed together in 20 years as some had stated. As the story goes, Pierre had moved to New York in the early 1990's to pursue a brief stink as A&R at Strictly Rhythm records and started working on productions for other artists when his solo career began to blossom. Things began to drift apart with being in the group with Smith and the duo stopped producing all together as Phuture in 1992. Pierre still supported the group and signed a few releases while working at Strictly when Smith continued on as Phuture under a few different plays on the name and with different members over the years but never again with Pierre. The most recent being "PHuture 303" with Rio. That duo had performed live last year at Chicago's Metro venue and as "Phuture"with Pierre at Paris's Rex club. But this will truly be the first time that Pierre and Smith would be performing as Phuture in Chicago with a whole new live show in almost 25 years. As an added bonus, vocalist and original Pierre's "Phantasy club" singer "J.R. Jordan" also performed with the group getting the crowd going singing a version of his and other Chicago great Felix The Housecats classic track "Fantasy girl" who was also produced by Pierre back in 1987. Phuture also had support from fellow Chicago talent Angel Alanis who was seen off to the right of the trio during their set. Angel had helped the trio work on sync'ing all their equipment together and with their live show.


     As far as the rest of the line up went, I heard a few people say that it was all DJ's you could catch playing in Chicago at one time or another but to me it was the perfect mix of style, skill and diversity to have at an event like this to really show what Chicago artists are all about and what some out there may been missing out on. You had Strictly Jazz Unit member and Cajual recordings artist "Glenn Underground" who many have said had the best set of the night. Multi talented and production king with over 200 E.P's under his belt "Paul Johnson". Detroit hero now living in Chicago of Inner city and solo artist fame and one of the founding fathers of Techno "Kevin Saunderson" who went back to back with his son "Dantiez Saunderson" who's now following in his footsteps. And Ron Hardy protege Mr. "Gene Hunt" who started off the night and had the vibe going from the time they opened the doors. As a added bonus and surprise, "Roy Davis Jr". who was a last minute add to the lineup performed and closed out the night and also had back to back Boiler Room streams with a set the floowing week in London.

Roy Davis J.r

Glenn Underground

Paul Johnson

Kevin Saunderson

Gene Hunt

     I was fortunate enough to have been able to come down to the venue before the night started and saw first hand how these live video streams worked and got to met with a few of the artists before they opened the doors. I arrived at "Primary night Club" in Chicago's Gold coast neighborhood around 4pm and preceded to walk in not knowing what to expect. This was the first time I had been to Primary for an event and I must say I was impressed with the lay out and general feel of the club. The crew from Boiler Room were still running cables, setting up cameras and getting things together as well were the staff of the club. Walking around and talking to people already in attendance, there was just as much excitement from those setting up as there was from those who were waiting online to watch And from those who got emails about making the RSVP list to get in. A rep from Roland was also there handing off the new AIRA line of production gear for Phuture to use during their set and taking pictures. This was the first time the group were getting their hands on the equipment and using them so they were getting a crash corse on some of the features. So some of what they did towards the end of their live set was totally live and on the fly.

    When the doors finally opened, it was an family reunion of sorts with many Chicago artists and contributors to the music scene and friends of the artists making their way around the club. Some of those in attendance that I saw were DJ Hyperactive, DJ Skull, Boo Williams, Robert Armani, Mark Almaria, Bucky Fargo, DJ Metal X, Rees Urban, DJ Gant-Man and Tim Baker to name a few. I also had the honor of meeting Robert Williams for the first time. Williams, Owned the legendary Warehouse in Chicago where he introduced The Godfather of house, the late "Frankie Knuckles" to Chicago and where some say the term "House music"originated from. And the Music Box where "Ron Hardy" took the art to a whole new level. Also in attendance was Cajual recording artist, vocalist and DJ Rousoull who was MC'ing the night along with one of "House Preservation Society's" founding members Davey Dave who also had mic duties on Tuesday's stream.  I also heard that they interviewed the artists for a documentary of sorts. Getting the story's behind the music and history from those who were there and involved. I believe these sessions will become available sometime later on their website and no doubt will get as many views as the streams. When they do I'll make sure to add them here and share them with you.

     As from what many of you who tuned in live that night saw unfold and for those who will hear on these audio streams, It was a night to remember and I feel sparked a fire that will burn for a long time to come both here in Chicago and around the world. It's rumored that the Boiler Room crew are in talks to do a regular stream from here in the future and I hope they do. If the comments, audience feedback and excitement from these two streams alone are anything to go by, they might have struck gold with the talent that us in the windy city already know are worth more than their weight in it.

     If you haven't already, Click on this "Live Sets Chicago" link or our tab at the top right corner of the blog to keep up with what we have treading on our Facebook page. Get links to other DJ mixes, View classic and current party flyers and event links for shows we are supporting or recording. And of course check out all of these artists personal sites links above their sets and where marked in "parentheses" throughout the post for more info on what they got coming up, tour dates and be sure to support what they do. After all, If it were not for the artists, None of these posts would have been possible. 

Hope this finds you all well.