Testament to the venue's intimacy was the presence of yourfeetstoobig, the first act of the night, mingling freely with the sold out crowd as I made my way into the start of Dam Mantle's second-billed set. Enormous pillar candles flickered on the right wall, which was lined with coat hooks and a long bench stretching the entire length of the venue, as the producer bobbed his head vigorously with each press of the drum machine. Each artist's live rig on the night was quite sparse—laptops, samplers, drum machines, microphones and pedals—and his was no different, set atop a pair of milk crates. 808s and loops were the key ingredients to Dam Mantle's 45-minute showcase, building equally on the likes of Joker, James Blake and Timbaland. Theatrical synths, vocals looped and manipulated live, and a bass-heavy beat intermingled in a uniquely fluid way.
Though Dam Mantle was at times more eloquent in his transition from sound to sound, Gold Panda was thorough in his set's overarching vision of a sonic journey. The crowd was along for the ride as his familiar chimes, pianos, heavy beats and synths soared alongside visuals of elevators and trains in Tokyo, and a colorful globe spinning out of focus. Romantic, wistful, upbeat and euphoric vibes echoed throughout the room, sounding not unlike the adventure through urbanity projected onstage. After a signal from the soundman, Gold Panda exited with a high-energy rendition of "Win-san Western," dropping the audience off right where it started—in a candlelit room on Chicago's north side.