Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Culture: Chicago Open Air 2016 Redux

(Drivebycuriosity) - Last month my wife and I attended the Chicago Open Air (chicagoopenair). The 3-days festival happened @ Toyota Park, a soccer stadium in Bridgeview, a suburb about 13 miles from the Chicago center. The program focused on heavy metal. Most of the top bands, including Rammstein, Slipknot, Korn, Bullet for my Valentine & Marilyn Manson, were founded in the 1990s and are counted to the "nu metal" (wikipedia). We managed to watch 16 of the about 40 bands.

The big bands are all big entertainers. Rammstein performed a kind of circus show. Frontman Till Lindeman, who was more talking than singing, acted partly like a diabolic clown, apparently torturing his band companions, and partly like an actor in an surrealist play. The gig started with fireworks and during the show fire balls went up into the air (maybe fueled by propane gas). Show & sound blended into a very special experience.

Slipknot delivered a spectacular show as well. The band members wore masks which reminded of weird serial killers in modern horror flicks and the stage looked like a scene in a Mad Max movie - a perfect platform for their violent sound. The Japanese band Baby Metal entertained with cute girls who were singing & dancing wearing traditional Japanese stage costumes & masks.

But there was more. We chose this festival because of Deafheaven.  Chicago Open was our 7th gig by the Californian black metal band (driveby). Even that their show lasted just 30 minutes (on the second stage) frontman George Clark again fascinated with his high pitched hissing screams. The combination of Clark´s unique voice with the band`s tsunami waves of sound  was awesome. 

The surprise of Chicago Open Air - and our favorite - was Gojira. The French band delivered  a mélange of atmospheric, melodic & massive sounds as well.  I also liked Marilyn Manson even that his songs are more traditional rock than heavy metal. His Eurythmics cover "Sweet Dreams (Are made of this" belongs to the top pieces of the event.

The bands were just part of the fun. Rock festivals are big fairs. Thousands of people are gathering there, listening to the music, strolling between the shopping arcades, meeting friends and are having a good time. Food & drink was better than I had expected: The pizza slices were tasty and the  craft beers from local breweries were delicious.

                                             Crowd Surfing & Moshing

We also enjoyed watching the other visitors. You could see all kind of people and ages, no wonder heavy metal started already  in the 1960s. Some wore fantastic and funny costumes. The aggressive sound of many bands animated to crowd surfing and moshing (jumping up and down and deliberately colliding with other dancers).

The weather was cooperative and didn´t "rain on the parade". Even that the place stayed dry we spotted a beautiful double-rainbow on the first afternoon of the event..

Going there and back needed some time. The subway ride to Bridgeview lasted about one hour and then we had to wait for the shuttle bus to the stadium that run about every 30 minutes. But the rides were safe and relatively comfortable.

Chicago Open was a lot of fun. We plan to attend more such festivals in the coming years.

PS 1 Thanks a lot to organizers, security & paramedics who provided a great event.

PS 2 This post is a bit delayed. First my power chord broke and I got a new Mac Book Pro, then I deleted accidentally the original post and had to reconstruct it. 

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