Celebrating its third year this upcoming weekend, Mamby on the Beach is one of my favorite Chicago festivals. Taking place at Oakwood Beach on Chicago's south side, the festival is the place to be for those who love electronic music but have grown out of the Kandi Raving phase that you're likely to find at Spring Awakening. Beyond just music, the festival features everything you'd expect in a beach party: tiki bars, cabanas, yoga, and volleyball. The weekend will also feature a number of afterparties that we will go into tomorrow. In the meantime, click play on this guest mix done by Sonia Alvarez and read up on the musical acts that I'm most excited about.
I say this mostly out of morbid curiousity; but on Saturday from 8:30 until 10:00PM, the Mixmag tent is where you'll find me. I've largely turned my back on Tchami after being completely let down by everything he has done from 2015 onwards. For me, his set on Feb Holyship 2016 was the final straw.
It wasn't always that way, however. His 2014 remix of Janet Jackson's, "Go Deep" is largely considered to be the genesis of the entire Future House subgenre. Then as legend would have it, Oliver Heldens with the help of Tiesto, combined his style with some mainstage friendly elements and ran off with it. Keeping the success for themselves. The theft degraded into headline generating twitter battles between the two producers until they ran into each other in an airport in 2015.
Ever since then, the tables have turned. I'm not sure what happened at that airport meeting, but what I do know is that ever since then Tchami has found himself on more mainstages and has sounded increasingly like Oliver Heldens. I'm mostly over it but will pay my respects in the hopes that he will prove me wrong.
On Sunday at 5:45 through 6:45, I'll be catching Klingande on the Beach Stage. While slightly outside of my normal repertoire of house and techno, I feel like you can't go to a beach day festival without taking in at least SOME summery tropical hosue vibes. And that's exactly what I plan to do. The sun sets at 8:30 on Sunday, so there will be plenty of daylight to bask in.
For Saturday's beach vibes I'll be at the Silent Disco stage to catch Redux. We've covered
Redux a few times in the past before and they remain one of my favorite local acts. You can expect an old school Chicago disco house sound with a fun loving DJ duo to guide you through. They go on at 6:45 but you'll want to get there early to ensure that you get headphones before they go on.
1. Sonya Alvarez
The first time I first met Sonya Alvarez she certainly made an impression. It was in Detroit over Movement weekend and I was enjoying the spoils of a sold out boat party that I'd thrown earlier that day. Golf Clap's tour manager had rented us this sick loft space airbnb to use as a chill afterparty spot. We were casually tagging, drinking, networking, dancing, not taking the music too seriously when one of the guys brought this timid looking girl up to us and asked if she could work in a few tracks with us.
Most DJ's are bullies when it comes to deck time. If you walk away to pee or go smoke for even one second, it's not uncommon to find your thumbdrive unplugged and someone else tagging in your place. My first thought was that if this poor girl had to have someone impose her on us rather than her asking herself.... she wasn't going to last long in this crew.
I could not have been more mistaken. While most of us were highly intoxicated and trainwrecking every 5th or 6th track in, Sonya's technicals were off the fucking chain! As the night went on, I found myself repeatedly less interested in my turn to play a track than I was interested in just watching what she did to learn for myself. Another thing that struck me beyond her technical abilities was her presence and attitude. Generally speaking the higher up the DJ food chain you go, the nicer and more humble the person. Sonya is a relative newcomer to the game and already has this figured out. She was encouraging, helpful, confident, and downright fun to play music with. My takeaway from all of this was that Sonya is an up and comer who I believe will go far.
Her set begins at 7:45 at the Silent Disco but get there early. Having played the Silent Disco at Mamby before I can tell you firsthand that the line for headphones can get long. If the set is as popular as I'm guessing Sonya's will be they may even run out of headphones out altogether.