A Tribute to Independent Artists in Chicago
After releasing numerous projects featuring some of the city’s acclaimed about artists, Closed Sessions recording label presented On Our Radar: A Tribute to Independence, a weekend long showcase held at Schuba’s Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave. on July 6 and 7.
“This is Chicago’s year guys, and we want everyone to be a part of the movement”, said Coval in reference to the growing number of young Chicago artists growing worldwide. “On Our Radar” is a series of short documentaries produced from the Closed Session studios showcasing an insight on young, independent, buzz-worthy artists.
Closed Sessions has grown into a full service label, catering to Chicago’s independent artists. In 2010 Closed Sessions released projects featuring both, independent and signed artists like Currensy, Gezus Piece and others. Alex Wiley, who was featured in the show, is the first artist to be sign to the label. Closed Sessions accommodates, but is not exclusive to Chicago artists. Closed Sessions projects have been featured in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Suntimes, and The Chicago Reader as a new certified home for Chicago’s emerging artists.
It was a full house in Schuba’s Tavern and it seemed as though every audience member knew every single word to every song being performed that night. With a pair an army fatigue jacket and a pair of shades, Chandler London took to the stage as he performed “Stephanie” (a sample track from Lykke Li’s “Breaking it up With You”) from his latest mixtape, The Science of Sleep. Rap duo, Palmer Squares, slowly making it to the top of the music ladder brought surprised guest rapper, Probcause, to the stage and performed “Goin’ In” from their latest album, Square Tactics.
Lili K, a 21–year-old jazz singer, changed the vibe while keeping the crowds full attention. She was the only songstress of the evening, gracefully swooned the vibes in a room full of hip-hop heads. After just having released her latest EP, My Favorite Things, on her birthday everyone enjoyed a live band which included, known Chicago producer, Peter Cottontale, on the keyboard and background vocals. Lili K also sang some tracks from her first EP, Medal Petals, and covered “Just Friends” by Musiq Souldchild.
The headliner was Saba, of Pivot Gang. Born and raised on the west side of Chicago, Saba gave the crowd some things to look forward to from, Comfort Zone. Although this project is still in progress, Saba, along with the rest of the members of the Pivot rap group, performed “Heaux” and had the crowd’s participation in smooth harmony with a steady track titled, “United Center”.
Hip-hop and soul band, Phony Ppl moved the crowd with their live band. This was the only performance that did not feature Chicago artists; they are from New York. Elbie Thrie who is the vocalist of the band had the ladies in the audience scream every word to, “I Wish I was a Chair”, a smooth, neo-soul selection from Phonyland. This song had the ladies in the crowd tickled as Elbie Thrie glided across the stage holding long notes in a falsetto key; the crowd went crazy. They ended their performance by dedicating the last song to the city of Chicago and sang R. Kelly’s “Step in the Name of Love”. When the performance ended audience members begged for an encore.
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