We are on the eve of the inaugural date of ARC Fest brought to us by the newly minted Auris Presents. The newest electronic music festival setting sail in Chicago is the first of its kind bringing a lineup curated exclusively with Techno, House, and everything between all under an underground feel and perspective. As a former West Coaster, it’s the Midwest answer to CRSSD and a slightly more commercial take on Detroit’s Movement. Either way you slice it, we all should be excited to receive something equally spectacular, lacking in over-indulgent mainstream uniformity that is far too commonplace in the American music festival circuit.
Since we’re less than 24 hours away from the start of the festival, we’ve put together a guide for those of you who need a little help deciding on who to see. I ensure you if you follow our advice you will have a truly magical experience and one filled with insanely great vibes.
DJ Pierre B2B Idriss D
I’m surprised to see the hometown hero, DJ Pierre get an early, opening slot for the festival, but it’s a great way to start the festival with a bang. The legend is absolutely top tier at DJing live and knows how to mesmerize a crowd. You can get a better primer on DJ Pierre with our interview (link here). Joining him on the decks is Idriss D who also has an impressive history and climb in dance music. I won’t lie I would be tempted to catch Rodriguez JR. halfway through this set, but it’s DJ Pierre in his hometown and it will be a special moment.
The man with the perfect mustache is always a must-see. He is a maestro at spinning atmospheric sets filled with waves of emotion and moments of pure ecstasy. Without a doubt, if you want to get lost in a set, this is it.
Eli & Fur
This timeslot is very, VERY difficult to choose. There are arguments to be made for Eli & Fur, Deborah De Luca, and Bob Moses. Personally, I kept going back and forth between Eli & Fur and Deborah De Luca as I’ve seen Bob Moses DJ and it’s fun, but not as impressive as their live show. As of posting, I decided to go with Eli & Fur and continue the ethereal wave that Lutrell brought in the previous timeslot. Day of, I have a feeling I’ll go with Deborah De Luca’s Techno.
Another extremely difficult timeslot to decide with Nicole Moudaber, Patrick Topping, and Cirez D all on the decks. I think the best advice is to go with what you’re feeling in the moment as you can’t really go wrong. From my perspective, Cirez D is who I’d go with. Eric Prydz is one of the best at putting on a show and his Cirez D sets take you on a raw, dark experience filled with Techno. It’s Prydz at his most unfiltered form.
To preface, I know most people will want to catch Zhu or Fisher since they’re the most well-known acts and do put on great performances. However, I’m going to offer a different perspective. Luciano is a veteran DJ who absolutely knows how to build a hypnotizing set that will take you from start to finish with joyous vibrance. You’ll certainly be lost in his set and won’t regret it. I highly suggest skipping the main stage to catch Luciano.
Hiroko Yamamura B2B DJ Holographic
Kicking off day two, we have two insanely talented women taking over the Expansions tent. Hiroko Yamamura is a Chicago native who has steadily built through the underground scene and has appeared at Movement and across the Midwest. She is an absolute queen at taking spectators on a journey across a spectrum of Techno and underground sounds. Joining her is DJ Holographic, a Detroit native with a penchant for funk-laced house and disco with the occasional dabble in Detroit Techno. I’m quite intrigued to see how these two combined styles considering Yamamura tends to be darker and more industrial, whereas, DJ Holographic tends to utilize brighter, funkier sounds. Either way, both are experts at spinning incredible sets. There’s a high chance that their set is the best of the weekend. So get there early.
One of the hottest acts of the year. TSHA is a must-see. She has exploded in buzz and popularity since her release of “Sister” on Ninja Tune and her subsequent follow-ups. Despite being young in her career, she still knows how to send concertgoers on a marvelous experience.
Another Chicago House legend hits the decks and you best believe you have to see him. Spanning three decades, Gene Farris has pushed the envelope on House and DJing. Being back in his hometown, he will certainly spin a show that feeds the crowd with energy, unlocking ravenous vibes of those that marvel at his talents. Go see him.
Moving into the evening is the perfect time for a little Techno. Will Clarke brings that and more. The British act — who has a great beard — has an impressive DJ Ability and spins intense, yet vibe-y sets. It’s a great set to wake up and prepare to party into the night.
The next two timeslots are the hardest of the weekend to decide. You can’t go wrong with CamelPhat, Lee Foss, or The Martinez Brothers. I decided to go with CamelPhat because I really want to see them play out their new music including tracks off Dark Matter, since the pandemic took away them touring that album.
I wish this timeslot was broken up and we didn’t have to choose between Eric Prydz, Hot Since 82, and a B2B of Seth Troxler and Derrick Carter. Go with what you’re feeling in the moment, but I do suggest seeing Prydz. His shows never disappoint and are always a spectacle worth seeing. The multiple shows of his I’ve seen are easily in my top 15 shows ever. You won’t be disappointed to close ARC Fest with Eric Prydz.