Mr. Carmack’s Comfort Zone

My best friend and I have a habit of sending each other links to new songs, artists and articles. Inspirational quotes, celeb gossip and mixtape leaks breathe in between our routine.

Throughout our days, we keep each other distracted and dependent on what’s current, and our habit has only heightened since we are now separated by states. The city feels a little emptier, a little quieter without her presence.

Last week was the first time in awhile where we had a little time to talk on the phone. The sound of her voice brought me comfort to my head cold and the biting cold that cloaked the city.

“I’m going to a show on Saturday,” she said.

“I’m going to one on Friday,” I said. “Who are you seeing?”

A sound blip on my phone overlapped our voices, and we both realized we said the same name – Mr. Carmack.

* * *

Fast forward to last Friday night, I found myself in the midst of a crowded room at Concord Music Hall. Chicago was Mr. Carmack and his crew’s second stop on their world tour.

Girls dressed in crop tops and low-waist jeans wrapped their arms around their boyfriends’ hips, as they were devoured into a sea of man-tanks, backward snapbacks, fun fanny packs, silky kimonos and ornately designed, candy-colored shawls.

Chicago’s Cofresi started the evening by banging on electronic drums and cymbals, motivated by pulsated pounds. Teeko, an accomplished, award-winning DJ, tested the audience’s patience with his technicolored performance, which provided flashbacks to frat and house parties whisked away by bright, effervescent strobe lights, keg stands and sticky floors that hold their keepers’ secrets.


Every now and then, he turned on a crowd-pleaser, and those that stood firmly in the middle of the mosh pit responded accordingly, creating waves of movement that came to a halt as soon as the song divulged into a repetitive thump. Teeko’s Bay Area flavor kicked into high gear, and boys with cool kicks tried their hand at some footwork.

His play on sound separated him from Sam Gellaitry, who stepped comfortably on to the stage to a set that melted violent violets and scolding pinks together to create the perfect reverie.

Gellaitry, a Scotland native, fed his fans a silver spoon of sophistication. He swaddled them in a tight blanket that embraced their abrupt, arhythmic sways. Those behind me relied on their hands to monitor and measure Gellaitry’s orchestrated ensembles, while others stepped side to side, claiming their space, and moved fluidly through his transitions.

Throughout his gig, Aaron Carmack, otherwise known as Mr. Carmack, hopped on and off the stage teasing the audience. Two girls brushed up against me. They squeezed themselves right in between, holding tightly onto the railing that divided all of us from the main bar and the dance floor.

“Oh my god!” they exclaimed, as Mr. Carmack finally came out.

“I knew he would open with this song,” one of them screamed. They both rocked the railing back and forth and shamelessly whipped their long hair.

Carmack, a California-based creative, thrusted his body against the table. He turned knobs like it was nobody’s business, and his renditions of Future and Drake’s “Big Rings” and “Jumpman” accessorized originals. A glimpse of GoldLink and MIA were present.

His playful, unpredictable demeanor is a happy medium of music that testifies to a thoughtful blend of electronic, hip hop, classical and synthpop.

The two girls next to me made the bold decision to descend into the pit sweaty, energetic bodies. I watched them get swallowed by the white light that beamed from the stage and turned Carmark’s body into a black shadow that hunched behind a laptop.

A tall boy sporting his fraternity’s jersey kept throwing up an Illuminati sign. The bass dropped, and I saw a tiny hand linked to a petite girl, who gripped her Go Pro as she jumped up and down.

As his performance began to take off, my phone, which remained armed and ready to capture anything out of the ordinary, lit up.

A text message shown bright on the screen. “How’s the show?” my friend asked.

I didn’t want to spoil it for her, but I taunted her with a couple highlights that I’ve already posted on Instagram; she would see for herself, since the three would head off to Detroit later that day.

The floor shook, and an earthquake of sound, of soul was released.

F. Amanda Tugade
F. Amanda Tugade