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The M Machine certainly did not leave the audience with a dry taste in their mouths. The intensity of the music wonderfully complemented the feel of the crowd at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge. Though perhaps not perfect in fluidity, The M Machine delivered on all other counts, effectively working the size of the venue, and showering the fans with the sound that they came for. The group lead the audience to heights of intense suspense but did not entirely hold up their end of the bargain – they occasionally stopped short of the climax and left the audience a bit underwhelmed. It didn’t help that their sound was cut off for a short time, leaving a few minutes of silence in the middle of the set.

Paper Diamond, to say the least, lived up to his headliner status. His light show may have been less grandiose than his standard set, not quite as dramatic as his addition to the North Coast lineup in August for example, but given the personal atmosphere of the venue, the audience certainly was not complaining. Paper Diamond’s near flawless set glossed over any notion that the lights were anything less than a perfect match. Playing with the fervor of a man ablaze, regardless of tempo, nothing doused the energy of a single person in the place.The flow from song to song, transition from high to low, was spot on, and where some electronic artists fail to achieve the live sound that makes them so original on record, Paper Diamond strives. His sound has soul, its own unique cocktail of psychedelic overlay (fit for the crowd), and a refreshing touch of hip-hop that paid dividends to the show. Some might not prefer the type of music he puts out, but its hard to deny the originality or the quality of show the man puts on. As one audience member described it: “holy shit.”

Review and photographs by Ryan Zeller: