[CONCERT REVIEW] Kaskade at Navy Pier, Chicago: A Shadow Of Himself

[CONCERT REVIEW] Kaskade at Navy Pier, Chicago: A Shadow Of Himself

[CONCERT REVIEW] Kaskade at Navy Pier, Chicago: A Shadow Of Himself




Kaskade is one of the most recognizable names in electronic music. The 44-year old producer/DJ from Chicago has been around the dance music scene since many of his fans today were in diapers. However, the once groundbreaking artist has become a shell of his former self.


Kaskade, born Ryan Raddon in Chicago in 1971, packed Navy Pier on October 17th for the second time in just three years. The crowd was diverse. It wasn’t just full of young fans eager to jump up and down to the popular progressive house artist, but also plenty of older, calmer fans, taking advantage of the unique and sophisticated Navy Pier setting.

Personally, I’m not impressed by Navy Pier’s Festival Hall; it’s simply not ideal for a concert. The massive warehouse with huge open areas and steel beams has extremely poor acoustics. For fans in front of the stage, it’s not a problem. However, once you get about halfway to the back of the stage area and the dozens of port o potties, the room begins to echo. High pitched sounds become nearly unbearable in some parts of the crowd. Navy Pier set up free water coolers for fans, but honestly, I think they should consider giving out free earplugs too. (note: unfortunately, the water coolers were empty about half way through the show and were never filled back up.)


Prior to Kaskade’s time slot from 10-11:30, Chicago up and comers Louis the Child delivered an impressive opening set, followed by New York native CID giving us his own unique spin on today’s deep/future house scene.



Kaskade opened with the lyrics from “I Remember,” his 2008 classic with Deadmau5. This was an intriguing start to the show; after catching some of his headlining sets at Electric Forest and Lollapalooza, I was disappointed to hear almost exclusively his new material and few throwbacks to the Kaskade that we all know and love. However, Kaskade didn’t even let the drop to “I Remember” play. Instead, he went right into “Disarm You,” one of the singles from his new album.

didn’t even let the drop to “i remember” play


The rest of his 90 minute set consisted almost solely of tracks from “Automatic,” with a few song from two or three years ago placed here and there. I couldn’t believe how nearly every song I heard was a Kaskade original. I’m pretty sure the longest I went without hearing one of his tracks was a three-song portion of the set that consisted of some future house and a Wiwek track. I honestly think Steve Aoki DJs more based on what I’ve seen from Kaskade lately.

It fascinates me how many people absolutely love this type of show. For me, it was way too predictable. When I attend a DJ’s performance, I want to hear some songs I know and love in addition to some songs that I never expected to hear. Kaskade’s set had almost no variety.

It’s a shame that so many DJs are taking this route today. But it makes sense; with the commercialization of EDM in full swing, DJs are almost required to play what the high paying crowd is there for. This often comes at a cost of creativity, but sold out shows and festivals around the country speak for themselves.


The most satisfying part of this night was Kaskade’s encore. The entire crowd went crazy for one of his most upbeat songs, “Something Something Champs.”

I can’t say I would recommend a Kaskade show. There’s better progressive house out there, and much more fun shows to attend. If you’re seeing Kaskade in the future, just remember you’ll know exactly what to expect.


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Michael M. Writer, music listener, festival goer from Chicago, IL.