Chicago native and San Francisco resident Dj Mark Farina flew back to his hometown last Saturday night to sprinkle a little holiday house music cheer among an eager Smartbar crowd. Mark Farina did not disappoint. Every year that Farina comes back to the city of Chicago to play a three to four hour set, house music aficionados come out in droves to dance until the light switch flips on; bright bulbs revealing a still-packed venue of dancing house-heads at 5am. This year was no different. Once again, Mark Farina sent the crowd on a long, spiritual, house-based musical journey.
Smartbar set the stage with its moody, minimal lighting and crisp Funktion One soundsystem; both perfectly complimenting the intimate vibe in the basement venue. The night took off around 1am with Farina laying down deep, funky house tracks to get the crowd jacking on the dance floor early; setting the tone for the rest of the night with Kevin Yost’s “Messing with my Soul”. The tempo remained upbeat all night and attendees kept dancing as Farina seamlessly mixed different flavors of house back and forth throughout the evening to showcase his versatility and create a variety of rhythmic dancing on the floor. Farina moved back and forth between jazzy house, soulful house, classic house(such as Linden B “Deep Beats [Cee’s Siren Dub]” 1992), and straight-up banging house. At one point the crowd seemed to move and sweat in unison to the ‘freak and fly’ lyrics of Kid Enigma’s “Dangerous” track.
At the end of the night I left Smartbar satisfied; all house music taste buds fully indulged. I can safely say I will be looking forward to the next Mark Farina event. Be on the lookout for more appearances by Mark Farina in Chicago and the midwest throughout 2015. You can find him playing at clubs (Smartbar, Evil Olive, The Mid), street fests (West Fest), larger festivals (Detroit’s Movement), and various underground loft parties and afterhours.