A wickedly cold Thursday evening in the middle of January marked the end of a seemingly long four month hiatus without seeing Future Rock, the electronic rock trio hailing from Chicago. After being lifted to unimaginable heights during their set at Hyperion Music Festival this past September, I was eagerly awaiting an evening of FR pounding out their funky fresh electronica dance grooves. Kaleidoscope Jukebox and Manic Focus were set to open the evening, but due to unforeseen circumstances Kaleidoscope Jukebox was unable to perform. Manic Focus was an utterly forgettable EDM artist who merely provided somewhat ambient background music in the wake of the main attraction. The tracks in his mixes didn’t seem to resonate with the crowd, with much of his mixes sounding like something a DJ in a Miami mega-club would play. It was a very watered down EDM set. It featured just enough dubbing and mixing to give the appearance of electronic music to those who have latched onto the genre only when it gained commercial success and oozed into pop culture, but lacked any ingenuity and depth in comparison with the vast majority of EDM artists I review. As his set waned on, all attention to the music was gladly lost to my growing anticipation of the auditory pleasantries I have come to expect from Future Rock.
After a brief intermission between artists, it was finally time for Future Rock to take the stage and began to play for the nicely intimate crowd of eager fans. Their set began with intensely dark and heavy electronic elements, but the tempo and beat quickly morphed the music into FR’s concoction of modern disco rock. This eclectic mixture of sound was on full display when they played “Tranzmission”, an uppity yet dark track from their most recent studio album One Day. Mickey Kellerman, keys and synth, orchestrated the initial flow in tempo and as always energized the crowd with his infectiously happy stage presence. I have seen FR well over a dozen times and watching Mickey’s combination of energetically playful movement upon stage and hyper-connectivity with the crowd never stops making me smile. Felix Moreno(bassist) and Darren Heitz(drummer) provided the necessary components for the creation of FR’s unique blend of dance rock music, with relentless tempos and tight basslines fueling the dance grooves and crisply popping breaks. This was especially evident during “Midnight Madness”, another track off of their latest release and by far my favorite of the evening and the EP.
The trio seemed to relentlessly push the music harder and faster as they delivered heavier and darker melodies, invoking rowdiness throughout the dance hungry crowd. This is the whole reason my fondness for FR’s music and live shows has not only been sustained over the years, but continued to grow.I was taken aback a little when their music began to sound like a delightfully nutty conglomerate of music reminiscent of workout videos with booty popping bass slapping by Moreno. The music continued to be playfully euphoric during “One Day”, the title track from their most recent album, and also a track featuring both the evolution of Future Rock’s quirky sound and the depth of their music. The song featured a perfect flow of tempo changes, a steady bass line, and the sampling of a track sounding like a mixture of early-90s feel good electronic music being played in a dance club with fading glimpses of New Wave. It was absolutely wonderful. During this portion of the set I literally saw my friends (myself included) shaking their heads with cheesy smiles splattered across their faces while still maintaining their boogie to the funky dance grooves..The dance rock trio kept bringing heavier and heavier dance grooves. The crowd went bonkers when FR rocked out to “Spark”, a track which proved to be both fun and funky. Yep, this was truly a fun spectacle to witness. As the set forged ahead, they inched back toward darker yet funky melodies. The harder Moreno slapped the bass the more the rest of the trio pushed the speed of the tempo. The final song of the evening was “$$$$$”, with the guys jamming out to their classic track. Overall, it was a solid set, the music flowed beautifully and in typical fashion FR delivered fans with hard-hitting dance rock. I have seen far more crowded FR shows, but this intimate show was far more enjoyable than one might expect. The night ended on a very positive note, with Future Rock leaving me euphoric and ready to see them again. Herm Productions provided the excellent lighting for the evening, adding a visually aesthetic quality to the show..
Words by: Alex Toy
Photos by:Aaron Lingenfelter, Wide Aperture Images
Click here to see more photos from the show.