If you love to dance there are few live shows that can compete with The Knocks. Thursday they put on a clinic in getting a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd moving. Outside the wind was howling and whipping up the fog, but inside warmth radiated off the crowd as The Knocks mixed a set filled with new songs, fan favorites and surprise guests.
Phoebe Ryan is supporting The Knocks on their short West Coast tour. Small in stature, the LA-based singer packs a wallop of personality and vocal power. Her smooth, breathy lyrics float on a bed of sparse electronic melodies and heavy drums. Accompanied by synth/keys and a live drummer the singer got the crowd going with her mashup of R. Kelly and Miguel “Iginition/ Do You…” and single “Mine.” She also played to the crowd with a song called “Chronic” about sex and well, chronic.
In one of the best moments I’ve seen recently at a show, someone brought a homemade sign for her high school band If The Shoe Fits, causing her to have a pretty good laugh on stage. After the her set she spent time with the fans taking pictures and talking, which is always nice to see.
Next up was B-Roc and JPatt of The Knocks. I recently wrote about how the guys are primed for a huge 2015 with their new album set to be released this summer, and actually had a chance to talk to them before the show(full interview coming soon). I was struck by how humble the guys are and excited to meet and preform for fans.
The Knocks are not a new phenomenon having spent the better part of the last six years perfecting the style they call retro-futurism. Their style creates electronic music that calls upon disco, funk and hip hop, then infuses modern house elements. The result is music that feels retro but also right at home in any club set. It’s a blend that makes for amazing live sets, with live instrumentation, lyrics and drums woven into their expertly produced dance tracks.
The duo started the night with new song “Time” off recent EP So Classic, the first of many new songs that made their Bay Area debut. The song starts slowly with JPatt’s voice accompanied by strings, piano and bongos and quickly morphs into hip hop inspired dance jam. A perfect primer for the night. They also played a few unreleased songs from their new album including one featuring opener Phoebe Ryan and an absolute club thumper that might be called “Drop It,” leaving us with a lot to look forward to this summer.
This is the best I can do for Drop It right now:
Their were a couple standout moments in the set. The first was when they took their new single “Collect My Love(feat. Alex Newell)” and broke it down live. The Independent has never felt more like a basement club at 3am, a testament to the years B-Roc and JPatt have logged in the NYC club scene as DJs.
The second incredible moment was when Crista Ru of Powers strutted on stage in her leopard skin pants and “Fifth Element” red hair for their blockbuster collaboration “Classic.” If you’ve watched TV in the past few weeks you’ve probably heard “Classic” several times. It’s in a new Victoria Secret ad as well as promos for the upcoming WNBA season on ESPN. The song is basically four minutes of pure seduction and sunny summer vibes. Most of the crowd knew the words and sang along as they danced.
While “Classic” was the emotional pinnacle of the night, the guys still had one last surprise for longtime fans in the encore. They reached into the vault and pulled out “Magic” from 2011. Like the cool down after an intense workout, the smooth, galloping beat brought a close to the night.
If you missed them this time don’t worry too much, the duo has a new album coming this Summer and seem to really enjoy playing here in SF. They will be back.