In what some are calling it the best time in a long time for self-made DJs and producers, it’s just too easy now to stand behind a laptop and let the music bring energy to a sold out crowd. Alex Botwin, AKA Paper Diamond proved that playing electronic music can and should be much more than pressing buttons on a laptop in his recent trip through Chicago.
Being no stranger to playing larger venues and festivals, Paper Diamond had no trouble selling out the Bottom Lounge in Chicago. One of my favorite venues in Chicago, the BL seemed to fit Paper Diamond all too well. The most noticeable addition to the small and plain stage were the boxes filled with light bulbs that were littering the stage that brought one hell of a visual accompaniment to Paper Diamond, lighting up in unison and making patterns with the lights.
Team Bayside High kicked off the evening. This Chicago duo is no stranger to starting parties and made no exception for the night. Their moombahton remixes and tracks warmed everyone up and separated the dancers from the “standing in the backs.” After an hour of Bayside, The M Machine began to set stage on the opposite side. OWSLA signed M Machine is another duo, this time from San Francisco. I think their goal was to get the audience as tired and as sweaty as possible before the headliner. Playing tracks by Knife Party, Dada Life and their original hits made it easy to accomplish that goal. If you haven’t heard of either of these, it’s definitely worth a listen.
All at once, the stage seemed to get brighter then dimmer, then brighter then fill with smoke, then start playing “Ni**as in Paris” as Paper Diamond took the stage. He wasted no time playing through his time slot. Playing hits like “Levitate” and “Snowfall” off his Debut LP Levitate. As stated earlier, his energy filled every nook and cranny of Bottom Lounge as he bounced around with his iPad. He sprinkled in the sentence, “Do you guys want to hear some new shit?!?” Very generously which was graciously accepted by everyone in the audience. His new stuff had more bass and more wobbles than songs off Levitate. I haven’t decided if it’s a good or bad thing yet.
The highlight of the night was hearing his remixes of “Wildfire” by SBTRKT followed by “Power” by Kanye West. During the chorus of the latter, not one person wasn’t singing along to the choir hymn-like chorus that it is known for. After taking a picture of the audience and an encore, Paper Diamond was done for the night, and it felt complete. Good show.
Thanks Alex B for a great night, good luck on the rest of your tour!
All photos by Vladimir Zaytsev.