Das Racist @ Ruby Skye [Live Review]

Das Racist | Friday, November 4th | Ruby Skye | San Francisco

In hindsight, some warning signs had definitely sprung up prior to Das Racist’s Bay Area performance last Friday night that may have hinted at the bizarre and entirely lackluster show that was to come.

Photo courtesy of Das Racist.

Originally slotted to take place in Berkeley, the show changed dates, times and venues on more than one occasion before finally being confirmed at San Francisco’s Ruby Skye. Predominantly a nightclub, the venue dictated an early 8 PM start time that meant signs posted all over the place ensuring everyone understood they’d promptly be kicked out at 10 PM sharp to make way for the evening’s dance crowd. Ruby Skye seemed completely ill-equipped and uninterested in the show from the get-go—further evidenced by the muddy sound and frequently malfunctioning microphones—so I can understand the frustration performers must have when they’re unreasonably made to feel like they’re a burden on a venue. But that’s about where my sympathy for Das Racist ends in this particular instance.

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Odd Future – The Warfield 9/30/2011[Review]

Here’s something you might not have guessed about hyperliterate poetry nerds: we love hip-hop. We can cut it up for hours about the sociopolitical overtones, boast poetics and flow metrics of rap artists from Kanye West to Mystic. And while I can certainly discuss Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s show at The Warfield last Friday in those terms, let me open with this instead: This. Show. Was. BANANAS.

I arrived a bit late, which may have been a blessing in disguise—I’ve since read elsewhere about door lines snaking through the Tenderloin long before the show actually started. I was initially surprised to find that the beer lines were comparatively nonexistent, but the mystery was quickly solved—I’m pretty sure I could have counted the over-21 crowd on both hands. The pit was a sea of adolescent energy and craziness, so I opted for the balcony instead, and found a spot to stand just as Odd Future’s DJ, Syd the Kyd, was segueing out of her opening set and chants of “Wolf! Gang! Wolf! Gang!” began to fill the auditorium. Soon enough, the group’s frontman, Tyler, the Creator emerged, followed quickly by Hodgy Beats running onto the stage and front-flipping right into the crowd, and that about set the tone for the evening.

Photo by Gillian Hamel.

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Tri Angle Records Showcase: 2011 Reality Tour – 103 Harriet – SF [Review]

Hipster triangles, anyone? Robin Carolan’s Tri Angle must be shiniest one around, with the #1 spot on the Billboard list of “Best Indie Labels” and a recent “Record of the Month” from London’s legendary Rough Trade record store (for Balam Acab‘s Wander / Wonder). On August 19, Tri Angle celebrated its first birthday at 103 Harriet, a pretty spacious club in San Francisco. When you think about it, such acclaim and hype sit kind of incongruously with the general “feel” of the music that the label puts out, which could be described as “introverted.” Bedroom producers making heady electronica with influences from hip hop and bass music, and a flavor of Goth – not exactly what you would consider a recipe for world domination. That being said, since England’s Burial got a Mercury Prize nomination in 2008 (his tunes are among the most introverted I’ve ever heard), I may have to take back my words.

White Ring. Photo by Bryan Glosemeyer.

At the Tri Angle party we got to see the critical darling oOoOO, as well as labelmates Babe Rainbow, Water Borders and Clams Casino. There also was Brooklyn duo White Ring and two guys from Cali’s own Wedidit collective: Shlohmo and D33J. The latter played first, seducing the audience with instrumental hip hop as starry-eyed and lovey-dovey as certain strains of trip-hop. One of his tracks was a standout, all sensuous sub-bass with an occasional forceful beat or noisy fragment (a trick inherited from dub producers – the occasionality provides for a more visceral impact).

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