CAROLINE KOCH// ARTS EDITOR
Better known to his mom as Ryan
Raddon, Kaskade took the stage to a sold out crowd, opening with the title track off his latest album, “Atmosphere.” From there the set made its way steadily through some fan favorite mash-ups, featuring “Fire In Your New Shoes,” and “Sometimes” paired with Pryda’s “Powerdrive” (so good). If you’re familiar with Kaskade’s “mash-up Monday” releases on Soundcloud, you have had these tunes downloaded for awhile, but for a rookie hearing the combos for the first time, it was probably a OMFG moment.
The set was moving in a predictable direction for someone who’s seen his festival set more than a handful of times, until the DJ disappeared and Lights – vocalist on “No One Knows” – took his place.
While she distracted the crowd with a sing-a-long, Kaskade remerged in time to drop in Tony Romera’s “Pandor” after the last chorus, now in the center of the crowd on a satellite stage about 15 feet away from me. Excited to see him, I snapped a photo and let out a yell because I could hear the old-school, Kaskade-goodness that is “Angel On My Shoulder” being mixed-in as the next song.
Six LED video screen panels on tracks began to travel toward the DJ’s new position, revolving over the people below. This happened throughout the show, creating an aquarium-like feeling for fans in the middle section between the two stages.
Raddon played in the middle of the room about 20 minutes, giving radial love to all the hands in the air around him. He made the gigantic space feel a little more intimate, which is what Kaskade is all about: the connection to his fans; to the music; to one another.
After heading back to the mainstage, afforded again with the help of another female voice, this time Skylar Grey’s. “Room For Happiness” pierced through the speakers, and the show finally began to take off. The sound was really filling the room now, and I was grinning like it was Christmas morning. I had to chuckle though, when “LRAD” cut in; I thought we were over the Knife Party drops five times-a-day at festivals all summer long, but apparently not. Great song, but it’s definitely getting the over-played, radio pop-song treatment.
Sadly absent from the set was “I Remember,” a stellar collab with Deadmau5, but this was made up for when Raddon started firing tracks off of 2010’s “Dynasty” album. For me, the highlight of the show was toward the end; the fun everyone was having during the Arty cover “Together We Are Dynasty” could not have been more tangible. Tossing in “4 AM Quasar” for an extra dose of bass, the party in no way cooled down when “Eyes” closed the set.
Before playing the summer banger, “Turn It Down Animals” encore in a downpour of confetti, Kaskade declared, “I grew up a few blocks from here! This is my home!” A sentiment we are certainly proud of. Regardless of tracklist, or whether you’re an old or new fan, Chicago will always have nothing but love for our boy.