Vello Virkhaus Lights Up Krewella
The Chicago-based trio Krewella are an outwardly rebellious bubblegum EDM project that mainly spotlights the are-you-ready-to-rage? antics of sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf, who are prone to shout-outs like, "Put your middle fingers in the air" and "Yeah, motherfucker, yeah." But the real mastermind behind their Saturday main-stage extravaganza was visual artist and installation designer Vello Virkhaus, founder of V Squared Labs. Just for this performance, Virkhaus devised the "Crystal Volcano," an elaborate set which he shepherded from sketch to fabrication to stage. Perched behind the soundboard on his own platform with tables full of production gear, including 11 laptops, Virkhaus conducted the show’s visual barrage, even pressing keys on a synth to trigger transitions. At one point, while a giant skull was being electrocuted until it started smoking, a voice intoned from the PA, "We are eight million miles away from home… come and get it." It was an ominous interlude, especially given the rain clouds approaching, but the high-spirited Virkhaus simply smiled and fiddled with his controls, the proud papa of a festival of lights.