John Smith, the security guard, cocked his head to the right — decoding the chicken scratch legitimizing my press credentials. “OZ,” he said. “They must be tonight’s opener or maybe will call gave you a pass for the wrong night.” I recalled all the acts that took Aragon Ballroom’s stage, took a deep breath then said, “Nope. There are definitely no OZs here, only ZDs.” After this comical interaction, I found my way upstairs: the winding staircase, majestic balcony and bird’s eye view. This historic venue was once called “the most beautiful ballroom in the world,” soon after its inception in 1926.
Five thousand humans trickled into the theater as Jaenga‘s Patrick Thomas McDevitt juiced up spectators. Neon red, pink, blue and purple pulsed through the suspended LED Deadbeats sign in sync with McDevitt’s zestful set.
Blanke‘s goldilocks-looking hype woman played peekaboo with the audience, via stage left, while she thrashed about: I flippin’ loved it. It made me wonder why I don’t have more friends like that. Contrary to (my) popular opinion, Blanke’s gleaming link necklace and pocket chain didn’t steal the show, but his feral spectacle comprised of songs such as “Flatline” (feat. Calivania) and Madeon’s “Imperium (Blanke Flip)” did.
“Left hand on top, Z’s up,” said Zeds Dead‘s Dylan Mamid and Zachary Rapp-Rovan; the crowd swelled to an astonishing amount. DC and Hooks dropped a few Easter eggs like “Demons” from their 2013 Hot Sauce EP and Otis Redding’s “Stand by Me” as well as the debut of their hush-hush REZZ collaboration.
Deadbeats Chicago, Night Two: one spectacular landscape of sights, sounds and chosen fam.
— Andrew Wright (@ANDR3WRIGHT) December 22, 2019