Freestylers Soundsystem | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Freestylers Soundsystem


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Big beat is already the most kinetic branch of the house diaspora, but London's Freestylers pride themselves on kicking it up a notch or two onstage. Their dedication to the good-time ethic has earned them props even outside the big-beat camp: before releasing their debut full-length, We Rock Hard (Mammoth), they were named live act of the year by the trance-leaning British dance magazine Muzik. That's not to give their recorded output short shrift--singles like "Drop the Boom" and "B-Boy Stance," not to mention their electro-heavy contribution to the "Future Sound of the United Kingdom" mix-CD series, are kaleidoscopic party rockers worthy of Fatboy Slim. The pleasures of We Rock Hard derive from the same elements that made the singles sing: ragga toasting by MCs Tenor Fly and Navigator, classic hip-hop samples (on the opening track, "Freestyle Noize," DJ Jay-Rock incorporates three different Public Enemy snippets), big phat breakbeats, and abundant raucous blurts, slams, riffs, and crowd roars throughout. The onstage version of the group, known as the Freestylers Soundsystem, features ten members, including a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a crew of breakdancers. Wednesday, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chris Floyd.

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