I got the opportunity to see Stromae, a Belgian electronic artist at the Riviera last week. I was only familiar with a few of his songs after a coworker was telling me of an NPR she had been listening to on her way into work. I actively pursue things that get me out of my comfort bubble, and since I don't speak a word of French I was intrigued.
As the show opened, Stromae projected an animation of a factory production line and digital replicas of himself on screen. When he came on stage and the performance began, it became obvious that my friend and I are the only two people in the room that do not speak french. I began to feel very isolated as I realized that we were the only ones that don't know the lyrics and I couldn't even pretend to sing along since I don't know the language. The excitement within me grew as I began to fall in love with his work. This is a good reminder that Chicago has amazing culture if you go looking for it.
The love I felt from Stromae's fans is stronger than any show I've seen as of late. One of the more beautiful songs was dark and spooky and a projection of spider-like fingers grab at Stromae as he struggles to get away. This spider represents a demon-like force and by the end of the song it attacks and kills Stromae while seeming to devour his spirit. Upon researching this song I learned that it is titled Quand C'est, and Stromae was writing about his fear of cancer.
What I loved most about this experience at the Riv is that I was able to feel based on visuals and music alone. Because I could not understand the lyrics, my other senses were heightened as I was straining to observe as much as possible. Sometimes you need a reminder, like this experience, to get you to continue to step outside of your comfort zone. It was a wonderful inspiration for me, I went to work the next day ready to conquer all design challenges. Check him out the next time he's in town, no regrets.