Tuesday night at the Independent was a sweaty, raucous mess– exactly what we’ve come to expect when The Knocks make an appearance in San Francisco. The New York duo’s blend of electronic styles from deep house to nu-disco is genetically engineered to get any space moving. Joining them on tour are two other dance duos Cardiknox and Sofi Tukker, acts that seemed tailor made to help the Tuesday crowd transition from real life into madness. Check out photos of all the acts at the bottom of the post.
The opener was Sofi Tukker, a NYC based act that is actually working with The Knocks under their HeavyRocMusic Label. For better or worse I have a built up some preconceptions for electronic duos. The guy stands up there and plays some tones and tweaks some knobs on the synth and the girl sings, but Sofi Tukker isn’t a cookie cutter pop act. Their sound draws heavily on world music and latin genres, at times it almost seems as if front woman Sophie Hawley-Weld is speaking in tongues, like a hypnotic trance. She can also knock out some mean chords on the guitar. Tucker Halpern keeps the music flowing, incorporating percussive elements and samples; even busting out some dance choreography with Sophie. Check out “Drinkee:”
Next up was Cardiknox, another duo though they were playing as a foursome with drums and guitarist Tuesday. I have been really enjoying some of the singles put out by Cardiknox ahead of their upcoming debut album including “On My Way” which they played in the middle of their set. I noticed vocalist Lonnie Angle had missed the previous nights show with a cold and it looked as if she wasn’t yet 100 percent on stage, holding a water bottle and straining during the songs. I think everyone really appreciated her going out there for her fans, getting sick is an unfortunate part of tour life. Luckily there are still two more nights on this run at the Independent with The Knocks and then they are back with Carly Rae Jepsen at the end of the month. I’m going to try to catch that show to get a better taste of what Cardiknox is all about. In the meantime I will be wearing out the singles from their upcoming album Portrait.
The real chaos started when BRoc and JPatt of The Knocks took the stage to close out the night. There is something so refreshing about the music they make. They have been on the scene since about 2009 and unlike many of their contemporaries they have never been about chasing the popular genre, you aren’t going to hear a trap banger from them– although they did tell me once in an interview they have made a few for fun. They borrow from so many different styles, but the constant is a focus on music designed to get people dancing, sweating and enjoying life. They come at you with track after track, ruthlessly urging you to leave everything you have on the floor and the crowd eats it up.
Tuesday was the first of three nights in SF, and while I don’t know how much they will change up the set lists it definitely struck a good balance among their catalogue. The Knocks have been around (and thriving) for a long time for an act that hasn’t officially dropped an album. That’s about to change next month with 五十五 AKA ’55’, featuring a strong line up that includes some previously recorded hits like “Classic” as well as some tracks that show off their producing chops with stars like Wyclef, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cam’Ron and more.
I was pleased they chose to play some of my favorites off the Magic EP, including “Brightside” and “Magic.” I feel like they were making a conscious effort for the long-time fans in attendance while giving people just enough of a taste test on the new jams. Other highlights included JPatt dusting off his rap aspirations and stepping in for Wyclef on their new single “Kiss The Sky” as BRoc razzed him about the rap demos he made when he was younger.
Sophie from Sofi Tukker stepped in for Powers to help them close down the night with “Classic,” a song that was a hit for The Knocks two consecutive summers. The night was electric and the temperature in The Independent seemed to be about 100 degrees after the dancing had ended. If you can, I highly suggest finding a way into the two remaining shows Wednesday and Thursday.