By: Luke Landry and Allison Lapinski
In spite of the snow and ice last Friday night, Chaz Bear brought the heat to House of Vans. As a release party for the artist’s Custom made collaboration with Vans, the Toro y Moi frontman played a sold out DJ set featuring an analog light show by Mad Alchemy.
A. Ferraro kicked the night off as people filed in, starting with a more lo-fi mood, which was perfect for wandering around and observing the neon-filled space. But once it was a packed house and everyone got their fair share of Instagram pictures, the music took on a far more house atmosphere that built the anticipation for Chaz’s set.
A. Ferraro handed off the stage to Chaz for about a half an hour to an extremely energetic crowd. Chaz opted for his signature chillwave beats and soundscapes which was juxtaposed by the upbeat tempo of the room. He chopped both soul and pop samples and blended them together with ease through their transformation to four on the floor style house. A crowd grew clustered near the front of the stage, but on the outskirts stood both solo and groups of people dancing their hearts out. It was a perfect space to be able to do exactly what you wanted to do and be who you wanted to be. What made it possible was the effortless connection of genres through Chaz’s set. There was something for everybody. A. Ferraro returned to the stage to finish off the night– some highlights included an mind-blowing bass drop and a remix of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.”
In addition to the Mad Alchemy light show, Chaz’s designs were sprinkled throughout the venue. The free photobooths and tote bags were designed with the same print design that can be used to design a custom shoe on the Vans website. Many music fans know Chaz solely for his work as Toro y Moi, but he is also the founder of Company Studio, which helps commision and foster artists in the Bay area.
The psychedelic light show was the perfect background and moodsetter, reflective of Chaz’s designs for Vans and his set. Mad Alchemy works with an array of musicians and venues to provide a tripped-out on-site light design. Audience members could watch the Bay area light designers at work just opposite of the stage, enhancing the uniqueness of the experience. The Chicago skate space suddenly felt like a 1960s West Coast rave ballroom; a truly interactive and visual experience.
Photos by Allison Lapinski