By: Evan Townsend
The Midland stands in the heart of Kansas City’s Power and Light District as one the oldest and renowned venues in the city. With its ornate scrollwork and grandiose chandeliers, The Midland looks like it should house the KC Philharmonic or the weddings of Midwest analogues of Kim Kardashian. But a couple weeks back, The Midland held the pulse of the city.
Concertgoers forewent black ties and ball gowns for space helmets and rainbow leggings in the spirit of Connectorville, a six-hour spectacle featuring nearly twenty DJs. Connector Presents and Honeytone Production played host to this “interdimensional bass station.” Throughout most of the night, DJs were mixing on all three of the stages positioned throughout The Midland. The huge auditorium served as the Main Stage, where the six featured artists performed. Giant inflatable planets hung from the ceiling of the Main Stage, and a spiked structure of metal and canvas covered the decks where the artists played. Trained dancers came on in skimpy Storm Trooper outfits and 50’s sci-fi rocket ships, emphasizing the show’s space theme.
Up-and-coming DJs played their sets in either the Bar or Hytekk Stage. They by no means drew less of a crowd, though. The Hytekk Stage stood in the underbelly of The Midland. Set in a small space bedecked in dark wood and upholstery, the Hytekk Stage had a warmer and more intimate feel than either the Main or Bar Stage. Even with a few technical hiccups, the Hytekk Stage remained popular throughout the night, at times competing with the Main Stage for sheer number of audience members.
Bassthoven, The Professor, and a handful of other acts played their sets in the Bar Stage. Set to the side of the main lobby, this stage was held in The Midland’s Indie Bar. Honeycombed bottle racks and modern geometric design set this pocket of The Midland apart from the rest of the theater. Out here, the music ran until right before Caspa’s set.
Wick-It (the instigator) kicked things off back at the Main Stage shortly after 8 p.m. Still early in the night, the handful of people crowded in the front tiers of the auditorium seemed overwhelmed by the spacious venue. Wick-It kept things live with some of his recent tracks, ventures into high-octane electronic music that still show his roots in hip-hop and turntablism.
More people continued to trickle in throughout the night, and after an hour or so from Wick-It, Spankalicious took the stage. The St. Louis native played his signature brand of gummy psychedelic glitch. The crowd only stopped bouncing when Spankalicious took a couple short breaks to promote pro-marijuana legislation, an issue that was clearly in the favor of the present company.
Connectorville’s third DJ, Matty G, brought his West Coast flavor to the Main Stage. Matty G dropped a full night’s dose of soulful dubstep, fresh from his studio in Santa Cruz. Though slower than most of the night’s DJs, Matty G kept the crowd grooving to his resonant bass, rolled out as thick and sweet as syrup.
By the time ill-esha started her set started her set around 11 p.m., people were starting to flow into farther reaches of the auditorium. ill-esha was unique not just as the only female to grace the Main Stage, but also the only producer to add live vocals to her set. Her tracks resembled Matty G in tempo, but were less heavy and more cinematic.
Next came Antiserum, who continuously shifted the mood of the show with his dynamic set. During his hour on stage, Antiserum swung from sweeping electro tracks to dubstep hip-hop remixes, from poppy choruses to pure, unadulterated bass. Antiserum kept the crowd on its toes with his deliberate transformations.
By the time 1 a.m. rolled around, the two side stages were beginning to wind down, making the crowd in front of the Main Stage bigger than ever. After Antiserum wrapped up his set, the audience started to bustle with anticipation. With a short intro from Antiserum, CASPA entered the stage to much fanfare. It was clear that, for most people, this was the DJ they had been waiting for.
Caspa pulled out all the stops, laying down his tracks with gritty intensity from beginning to end of his set. And the crowd showed Caspa their love. Even after five straight hours of head-banging, face-melting bass, the crowd still had enough energy to romp around the crowd for one last hour of the night. When Caspa closed up shop at 2 a.m., the whole crowd was chanting his name. With a few brief words of thanks in his thick English accent, Caspa was finished. Connectorville was over, and one by one the crowd started to stumble home.
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