REVIEW: Chrome Sparks, Man vs. Indian Man, & Solar Year @ The Blind Pig

I walked down the cold, windy streets of Ann Arbor at 10 pm, unsure of what to expect at the Blind Pig. Although I enjoy listening to music and my library consists of thousands of songs, I would never consider myself a music aficionado. Unlike my roommate, I do not divide and subdivide my genres into obscure genres like spacesynth and chiptune; and if my library was lacking in any department, electronic was definitely one of them. Fortunately, the concert was not only a perfect opportunity to delve into electronic music, it was an example of the atmosphere and people that also listen to the atmospheric sounds of the genre.

Before going to a concert I like to “research” the headlining artist’s discography, but not the opening acts. Everything about them is completely new and unbiased. Man vs. Indian Man’s gig was only their second time playing a concert. When Jeremy announced this at the beginning of his act, I was shocked: what Man vs. Indian Man (MvIM) lacked in musical innovation and set list, they more than compensated with stage presence. Lead singer Clavius Crates molded his style along with the crowd, picking up maracas and other similar instruments as he pleased, dancing and gyrating to the beat, giving and taking energy to and from the ravers in the middle of the crowd. MvIM’s music began slow and deliberate, then gradually increased until it was impossible not to be swaying and bobbing to the beat. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the first opening act.

After MvIM’s performance, Solar Year was a bit of a letdown. In retrospect, their cool tones and lumbering sound would have been good as a standalone opening act, but they did not work well as a bridged between MvIM and Chrome Sparks. At the same time, a video of the palace combined with the repetitive melodies and voice modulations were effective—it’s a shame they performed when the crowd was energized.

Chrome Sparks simply stood above the others. When Jeremy stepped on the stage and played the first two songs I noticed two things: a confident stage presence and a polished sound. In my mind, these are the things that help distinguish an established artist from amateurs or up and coming groups. Each song was lush, complete, and complemented by a series of videos on the backdrop. As a film enthusiast, I was especially touched by the editing and how it related to each track. Clips from old movies, historical footage, bizarre shapes, funky colors, everything. On top of that were the lights working their magic and the crowd of people dancing to the beat. This was how you experience music. My personal highlight was when Chrome Sparks played their hit song Marijuana. So much energy, people, and music.

Chrome Sparks at the Blind Pig
Chrome Sparks at the Blind Pig