[intro-text size=”25px”]On Sunday, Cleveland was blessed with not only our first real snow fall of the year, but also with a night of magic conjured up by Mr. Carmack, Sam Gellaitry, and Teeko. If you are not familiar with these emperors of the digital dynasty, then let me give you a comprehensive crash course. First up, we have Teeko, who is so much more than just your average DJ.[/intro-text] He’s an award winning master turntablist, producer, and composer. From being the recipient of Milestones Innovative Producer’s Award presented by the Berklee School of Music, to being the first ever DJ/turntablist invited to play the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival, and also collaborating on the development of the Vestax Controller One, the first turntable engineered to be a musical instrument. The man is dripping with accolades. Next we have Sam Gellaitry, the 19 year old Scottish producer that has rapidly become the Boy Wonder of Soundcloud City. The buzz this kid has generated from top producers has made him the one to watch in the coming year. He has been deemed a “little Carmack” by fans, so it’s only fitting that he would be slotted to open up for Mr. Carmack on this current world tour. Finally, we have Mr. Carmack. Nobody churns out as much music as quickly as Carmack. Besides his personal Soundcloud page, there are countless other fan run pages filled with years’ worth of his “secret gems.” An impressive catalog and a sound that so uniquely blends electronic and hip-hop in its own beautiful way, it can only be described as pure Carmack, are the some of the many reasons the producer/DJ is quickly becoming one of our generations’ brightest stars.
Personally, I’m addicted to everything Mr. Carmack puts out. For the little girl who was raised in the golden era of hip hop, who found pieces of herself scattered around countless music festivals in the past few years, he is the perfect marriage of the two worlds. My first dose of live Carmack came this past April in Denver from his headlining show at Cervantes’ Other Side during 4/20 weekend. It was so organic and stripped down. With only his laptop, controller, and a few spotlights, he served up 3 hours of non-stop original beats and eargasms. My next hit came at the Fillmore in Detroit where Mr. Carmack was selected as the opener for Flume. That show was less intimate than the previous but provided enough of a fix to hold me over. Then, last month I made the cross country trip to see my musical messiah at his 2-day headlining opus at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. The El Rey show was nothing short of amazing, besides a few personal pitfalls prior to the start of the show. All in all, it was bittersweet to say the least. However, this definitely made Sunday’s show immensely important to me. Not only was he going to be in my hometown (FINALLY!), but there was an overwhelming anxiety that loomed over me for weeks prior to this show. Would there be a substantial amount of people there? Would the crowd give him the love I know he deserves? Would it equate to the times I’d seen him before? Would I get to talk to him again? (I have had, so luckily, gotten the chance to have some memorable exchanges with him in the past.) So, on Sunday night, with a belly full of veggie quesadilla, Adderall, and tequila; and a head full of high hopes…I made my way to the historic Grog Shop for what turned out to be one of the best experiences of this current life.
As I walked in, I was relieved to see so an ocean of people crowding the stage and a small mob of eager lushes crowding the bar. Teeko already had the audience putty-fied in his hands. With fists raised and heads nodding in chaotic unison, this was exactly what I needed to see. Bye, Anxiety, Felicia of the feelings! I found an elevated platform to stand on, and watched as Teeko dropped bass heavy hitters alongside future funk. This was one hell of an opening act (not that the champion DJ isn’t also a viable headliner). I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed someone put so much work into one set. The King Triton of the Turntables scratched, tickled out live synths, and had a talkbox game as strong as Roger Troutman’s; all while never once losing the diversely aged audience. Teeko showed everyone there just how much of a one man wonder he really is.
The crowd started to buzz a little more as Sam Gellaitry took his place on stage. The hype surrounding the young lad was pretty intense and I was eager to see how he would handle it. With Teeko and Carmack on the side of the stage, grinning from ear to ear with big brother-like pride, Gellaitry eased everyone in with complicated melodies and dreamy riffs. However, it wasn’t long before he sucker punched us all with some of the heaviest song selections I’ve heard in a while. Now, I understood the grins from his tourmates. I’m taking a stand behind the growing number of Sam Gellaitry fans, and saying to you that 2016 is going to be a big year for the adorably mature producer. The crowd proceeded to go absolute bonkers in the most polite way possible. A few fans hopped up on stage for an impromptu dance off and everyone was just having the best time. Carmack himself was even spotted in the crowd, partying with the people. I eventually saw him walk back into the greenroom double fisting some drinks from the bar. It was easily accessible so I walked back there as well. Once in, my fiancé gave him a friendly ass slap which led him to quickly turn, greet us like old friends, and offer us one of his drinks. I’m not going to be so naïve to think that a person who travels around the world and meets new people almost daily would remember the few encounters we’ve had. However, as genuine and in tune as he is, maybe he does. Even if he didn’t, he’d never let you know it. So, just like that we were his temporary entourage. I staked out a spot alongside Teeko, who is also one of the most humble and down to Earth people you will ever meet, and we bopped along to the continually pleasing sounds. The view from the stage was magnificent, and when it was Carmack’s turn to bless the room, everyone pulled in tighter to the stage. Like moths to a light, like moons to a planet. He went right in giving us blow after blow of all the favorites. The crowd went exceptionally wild when he dropped “Pay for What,” and “Solutions.” After an hour of filling our almost insatiable Carmack-etites, the night took on an almost house party vibe. There were a few fans perched on the speakers dancing, hands high up in the air, and all the opening DJ’s, myself, my fiancé/photographer, Mr. Gellaitry (Sam’s dad who I so casually shared a beer with), and even the security guy bouncing around on the side of the stage. I know I speak for everyone in that room when I tell you, it was just pure, organic, 100% fun. After an hour and a half from the headliner, the show had to regretfully end, but not until all the photos were taken, Instagram follows were obtained, and love was shared.
Everything about the night I had so badly wanted to happen went off seamlessly. The energy was perfect. Nobody was getting carried out, and I didn’t witness one single act of assholery. Now I’m not really into the whole fad and over usage of the PLUR (Peace Love Unity Respect) motto. I’m all about the conditions for which it stands, just not it as a pop culture buzzword. Yet, this show was drowning in PLUR. It was the very essence of the word, something I have never experienced in Cleveland. At a big music festival, like Bonnaroo, sure, but never would I have thought I could have that sense of community on a Sunday night at the Grog Shop. Then again, that’s what Carmack will do to you. He brings people together. He makes you feel like not just a fan, but a part of his crew. His smile is infectious and gleaming with sincerity. He always hangs out amongst the crowd pre/post performance and makes sure to share individual hugs, photos, and words with whoever wants a minute of his time. His humility in his accelerated escalation to the top is inspiring. This, along with his enigmatic sound, makes him stand out in this easily, over saturated era. This could easily be said about all three of the divinely gifted beings that took the stage that night. The tri-force of absolute raw artistry from each of them inspires me to keep supporting real talent and urging my peers to do that same, because remember kids…the major keys to success are eating your vegetables and supporting great music. To hear more from each of these sound bending sorcerers, visit their Soundcloud links:
- Mr. Carmack – https://soundcloud.com/mr_carmack | http://mrcarmack.com/home#new
- Sam Gellaitry – https://soundcloud.com/samgellaitry
- Teeko – https://soundcloud.com/teekomusic | http://www.teekomusic.com/home
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