Article | Onlythebeat

Kicking off 2018 at Reaction NYE

Monday, January 08, 2018
Niki Graham

Photo Credit: Niki Graham React Presents brought four fantastic EDM acts to kick off 2018 at the Official Aragon Ballroom: Adventure Club, Bear Grillz, Ookay, and Gammer. While it wasn't as highly anticipated as previous Reaction NYE nights, over a thousand fans made the trek to Uptown. The 0-degree weather didn't stop Chicago's best from donning their sequins, glitter, and winter accessories to come ring in 2018 with dubstep and heavy bass!

Fashionably Late

Chicago EDM fans were worried when British producer Gammer (@DJ Gammer) tweeted about his delayed flight shortly after noon on Sunday. Scheduled to take stage at 8pm, opening act Gammer arrived much later, only able to play a 15-minute set. Fans appreciated the opening act, especially the mix of Kayzo and Wuki's song 'Wayzo' to warm Aragon up and get the ball rolling!

More than Ookay

Starting just after 10pm, Ookay performed a live set. Armed with his Alesis 37-key Keytar MIDI Controller, Ookay produced his own drums, chords, melodies, and vocals (wirelessly!) while performing some of his own hit songs. Most memorable moment? The emotional 'sexy sax' drop from 'Thief' we all know so well was definitely a special one for the entire ballroom: Ookay performed it laying on stage, also relishing in the song's vibes. ookay Photo Credit: Niki Graham

Bear Down, Chicago

Who delighted our ears next? A plush bear helmet peeked out from behind the tables indicating the third act, Bear Grillz, was about to blow our minds! He definitely brought a high-energy set with headbangers reminiscent of the Snails set the night previous. He kept his set fresh by mixing in classics like Blink 182's 'What's My Age Again?' and teasing DJ Alice's 'Do You Think You're Better Off Alone'.  The visuals of neon insects, along with bees, honeycomb, and, of course, bears, were also highly interesting and fun to watch. Bear Grillz Photo Credit: Niki Graham

Midnight Adventure

Twenty minutes before midnight, our evening's headliners were silhouetted with soft, red lights and a large, red-blue AC logo above. Christian and Leighton of Adventure Club smiled, snapping pictures before the crowd as their set began. They were soon standing on the DJ table hyping the crowd as midnight approached. With 30 seconds left, the boys led a countdown: the screen played the numbers, the crowd chanted, and after the final "3, 2, 1..." a moment of awe. Rows and rows of colorful balloons fell upon the crowd, along with white confetti and silver streamers. Guests cheered, kissed, and smiled below a blanket of balloons with air horns blaring and a robotic "Have a Happy New Year" wished us well. And the first song of 2018? Adventure Club's incredibly beautiful and bassy remix, I Need Your Heart 2.0. Adventure Club Photo Credit: Niki Graham Following the climax of the evening, Adventure Club continued mixing top melodic dubstep and bass songs, including their song 'Gold' (on OTB's radar since 2014!), Flux Pavilion's 'Cracks' and 'Gold Dust', and teased hits by Excision and Dion Timmer. As the night neared 1:30 AM, Adventure Club lightened the vibe with classics and throwbacks such as Twenty One Pilots' 'My Ride', Fall Out Boy's 'Sugar, We're Going Down,' and My Chemical Romance's 'Welcome to the The Black Parade'. Admittedly, I left a little early to make it to the Official Reaction NYE After Party at The Mid. 'All of the Lights', a song by former Chicago-resident, Kanye West, played as I made my grandiose decent down Aragon's 1920's ballroom stairway. It was a special send off, listening to Rhianna's vocals about the Chicago's city lights, as guests began stepping out into the frozen, moonlit street and stepping into 2018.

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