Comfortably Numb | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Comfortably Numb 

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Megaraves have a tendency to crumple under their own weight--a la the disastrous Big Top tour of '97--but this one looks quite likely to deliver on the promise of its hyperbolically impressive lineup. Organizers and costars Terry Mullan, who'll DJ, and Woody McBride, who's slated for a live PA, are veteran promoters who have learned over the years how to keep a party going all night, in both the atmospheric sense and the legal sense. Mullan is one of Chicago's most feted house spinners. Within the style, his tastes are catholic; he'll give up everything from lush, trancey European tracks to soulful Chicago-rooted vocal cuts to minimalist near techno, so long as it's got that four-four kick. (For a sampler of his turntabling check out Speaker Phreaker, a DJ mix he recently released on dance indie Smile that features cuts from local heroes Paul Johnson, Roy Davis Jr., and Gene Farris.) Mullan's built his reputation from the ground up, and every dance floor I've seen him work (half a dozen over as many years) has ended up a packed, bobbing sweatbox. McBride, a kingpin of the Minneapolis dance underground--he runs nine 12-inch labels out of his Saint Paul home, as well as promoting the city's largest parties--likes things darker. His storming acid-techno tracks are revered worldwide for their consistently clever tweaking of what even fans admit is a limited genre; the best example is 1996's classic Basketball Heroes EP, on his Communique label. Although he's at his best when he's DJing, his PAs can be remarkable: using a minimum of equipment (typically a Roland 909 drum machine, a couple of MIDI sequencers, and a live drummer for extra flavor), his gigantic, yammering, dynamic synth riffs and rough beats will move your body whether you like it or not. The two-room bill also includes (deep breath): Q-Bert of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz; Zinc, Pascal, and MC Rage from London's noted True Playaz jungle label; Glasgow's Funk D'Void; Green Velvet (see Post No Bills); and a dozen other DJs and live acts. Saturday, 9 PM, Dolton Expo Center, 14200 S. Chicago, Dolton; 773-509-6869. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

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