This past weekend on October 15th, the promising up and coming Chicago collective Creatives Only put on a show that showcased some of the most impressive young talent mixed in with a few already established artists in the industry. “The Woodside Comnect: Jayaire Woods Live” took place at the Refuge Live! on Clark Street right in the heart of the city.
To start it all off, some of the artists that are represented by Creatives Only got a chance to demonstrate some of their best music with a sample show of about three to four sounds per artist. Having never seen any of these musicians live, I was excited to experience their music unlike ever before. Some standout artists that opened up the show were people like riQo the Menace, Dero Defrance, Grizzie Grime and Armani Devon. Dero started out his set with a spoken word experience that was as powerful as it was eye opening, and riQo brought his unique Milwaukee sound and energy to the stage. Grizzie and Armani both did their thing, going out into the crowd and interacting to get the fans hyped up. Squeak Pivot was the man behind the sounds, whether it was the artists’ original tracks or an incredible playlist that he provided in between sets.
After the openers, it was the PLYMKRS turn to hype up the crowd while they had the chance. Having never really listened too heavily to their music, I had no idea what to expect. After they opened up with an explosive start and galloped around the stage, I immediately became a huge fan. Time flies when you’re having fun, so it seemed as if their set was thirty seconds long as they breezed through their playlist. Immediately following was pivot gang member MFN Melo. After his first song, he explained the cold hard truth of his levitated state, and promised that he’d loosen up as the set went on, which was definitely a promise he was able to keep. As he invited up collaborators and fellow pivoters DinnerWithJohn and Joseph Chilliams, who added tremendously to Melo’s performance.
Up next was Femdot, the artist I was looking the most forward to seeing live, probably even more so than Jayaire, because I had no idea what to expect from his performance. I already knew his incredible talent through his music, but hadn’t heard much about his performances. After seeing that performance, I can say with confidence he has got to be in the top five performers I have ever seen live, being in a group with names like Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown and more. The thing about Femdot was, he didn’t need the huge stage or the live band with the hype man or any of that. He himself could’ve performed to ten people or ten thousand people and the result would be the same, just on a bigger scale. He goes crazy, making the stage his own, connecting with everyone in the audience and displaying his unbelievable emcee skills live and up close. Femdot is not just someone you should see in Chicago; he’s a guy you need to see no matter where you’re from. He doesn’t get enough clout for his performances and anyone who has seen him live can vouch for me. I don’t write this to take away from Jayaire’s performance, because that was a sight to see as well. He came out on stage as the fans chanted “2SHOES,” arguably one of his biggest hits. The QC artist from Bellwood sounds even better live than he does on any of his music that’s recorded, which is usually not the case with most artists. The thing is, Jayaire isn’t most artists. He has his own unique style, with the ability to make any song catchy and his music is appealing to anyone from the most seasoned music fan to most basic listener.
Before I knew it, the night was over. The artists made their way into the crowd to exit along with the rest of their fans and I. I had the chance to interact with Jayaire, who was even nicer in our miniature conversation than I could’ve imagined. I also got to talk with Femdot, who was also such a humble person even after all of his initial success.
It wasn’t until I walked out of the venue and hopped on the blue line to get home that it all sank in. Every performer has their own story about their road to success. Femdot is still in college, despite performing all over the country throughout the year. Jayaire said he’d most likely still be a Bellwood Mailman if his music wasn’t heard and he wasn’t lucky enough to get signed. Every other performer probably has similar situations, but they know they have the talent or they wouldn’t be there.
At the end of the day, this concert was perfect. Being in a smaller venue made the performances more intimate, and allowed the artists to personally connect with every individual in the building. Shout out to Creatives Only for giving the up and comers an opportunity to spread their music and for bringing the city together to bond over some already well known music with some fantastic artists. I can’t wait for another show because the bar is high enough as it is, and I’m not sure how they can outdo themselves after this one.