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Story Time With Slick Rick @ Public Works

11/19/2014

MC Melina Jones served as Slick Rick The Ruler’s Bay Area ambassador, and along with DJs Supreme and Pos Red, had the dance party popping off for a couple hours before Rick hit the stage well after midnight. The crowd, which was thick with golden era hip-hop heads, ate up the classic rap tracks being blasted, and got particularly juiced when Bay Area artists like Digital Underground and Too Short were thrown in the mix. DJ Pos Red even invited an enthusiastic member of the audience onto the stage to beat-box while he executed a squeaky-clean freestyle rap. Needless to say the openers got the party started right.

Slick Rick embodies the early years of hip-hop when the MC controlled the party. His prevalent use of call and response not only got the audience involved, but also kept the party from ever simmering too low; the crowd at Public Works was happy to oblige. The sing along that took place did not require a bouncing ball to follow along, as these fans have been listening to most of Rick’s songs for decades and know them nearly as well as the Ruler himself. The set consisted of primarily classic tracks from Slick Rick’s landmark debut album The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988) including “Mona Lisa,” “Hey Young World” and “The Moment I Feared.” He also drew from his larger repertoire playing tracks like “It’s a Boy” from 1991’s The Ruler’s Back and “Street Talkin’” from 1999’s The Art of Storytelling. Of course the set would have been incomplete without Slick Rick’s first tracks “La-Di-Da-Di” and “The Show” with Doug E. Fresh, from 1985 when he was still going by M.C. Ricky D. Read More

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The Presets Will Violate Your Gummy Bears, Melt Your Face

11/17/2014

The weekend came early for a primed Warfield crowd Thursday night, as award winning Australian dance band, The Presets, added to the long list of fiery performers to hit the storied downtown theater.

The electric duo of Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes have acquired a pretty well deserved reputation for producing monster light shows, and Thursday night was no exception. The show started with their guilt-ridden party anthem “Push,” as three sets of spotlights shot upwards, frozen in a light dusting of smoke.  Alas, this calm lasted mere seconds as the lights began a calculated flicker, zipping downwards, locking onto the two men at work and sending throngs of hands into the air.

A Presets show takes you from yelling from a mountaintop with tracks like “Ghosts,” and then plummets you to a dank basement – where you just want curl up into a ball – with numbers like “Youth in Trouble.” It’s an intense night filled with disco influenced synth-beats, raw exclamatory vocals, and crushing, unforgiving synth-bass. Did I mention lethal doses of bass? Yeah, let’s just say I hope that the Warfield’s recent renovations included seismic retrofitting, because vibrations of that magnitude have been known to topple cities. Read More

via allhiphop

Run The Jewels at Mezzanine: A Thugs and Biffles Performance

11/17/2014

Run The Jewels performed at Mezzanine Friday with a lineup that hailed exclusively from their hometown of New York City. The openers were Despot, a solo act signed to El-P’s label Definitive Jux, and RatKing some scrappy looking teens from Manhattan that synthesize hardcore music with hip hop. El-P made a brief appearance before the RTJ set when Despot literally warmed the audience up demanding the crowd do a group set of aerobics, led by him.

RTJ entered the stage to Queen’s “We Are the Champions” which was fitting for the energy that they brought to the performance. They welcomed the crowd like old friends, beaming enormous crest-white smiles. They have an amazing stage dynamic; they come across like the people you always hope show up at your party so you can have crazy stories to tell about it. At one point they even wrestled on stage, El-P ended up on Killer Mike’s back.

Their performance was tight, despite the two proclaiming that they got blasted before the show. We recently wrote about their new album Run The Jewels 2 and it was great to see the new material live. By the time they performed “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” it was hard to tell who’s sweat I was soaked in, or how many feet I had stomped on. The crowd was wiley and happy; perhaps feeding off of the joy and respect that the duo brought to the stage.

Most artists separate their private life from their stage life, but these guys seemed to invite the audience to know exactly where they stood off stage. Both men casually brought up their significant others. That was pretty refreshing and solidified their good-dude demeanors. They also bickered about the pros and cons of smoking, Killer Mike dissing cigs, and El-P apologetically crowd sourcing one. They didn’t keep the crowd waiting for the encore. They ended the night with “Angel Duster.” El-P exited the stage. Killer Mike held up a bottle of Belvedere and poetically gave a little toast to the no ones.

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Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover – Live Review of SOHN and Wet

11/16/2014

A band’s sound should not be judged if heard through a laptop speaker. The disingenuous projection lacks the underlying bass, showcasing the distinguishably unbalanced highs. So, it’s hard for me to say much about the up-and-coming bands Wet and SOHN‘s performances from this past Saturday at the Mezzanine, because their sound was clearly off. Where was the bass? The nocturnal drums that bridge both performers’ R&B styles somewhere between James Blake‘s brooding and The Weeknd‘s darker void? Even when I shifted from the downstairs to the upper-level, while the levels were more balanced, the sound still felt hollow.

But, the night wasn’t a complete wash. Wet, the nascent Brooklyn-based band with only an EP to their name, sounded promising given the context. On “Don’t Want To Be Your Girl,” singer Kelly Zutrau’s unwavering vocals had the slightest bit of breathiness, offering an earnestness to the song. Though the visual component was overly minimalist, featuring only a few camera umbrellas, their performance still captivated the excited crowd. If the success of their self-titled EP isn’t already an indicator, the group has a bright future. Read More

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Fuckboys Beware, Run The Jewels Duo Killer Mike and El-P Recently Dropped Their Sophomore Album RTJ2 and it’s Exactly What Hip Hop Needed

11/14/2014

RTJ2 is grown up gangster rap. These men give a damn and make indifference look embarrassing. They muse over politics and power with verses that are refreshingly original. The album is blunt and goes straight for the throat. In “Close Your Eyes (and Count to Fuck),” they place themselves on the inmate side of a prison riot; defending violence as a natural reaction to police brutality. Killer Mike spits, “even if some good ones die, fuck the lord will sort em” with no apologies.

The album was released simultaneously with Tag The Jewels, a street art initiative. Over thirty artists around the world created their interpretation of the album artwork, reinforcing a culture behind the music.

It’s no surprise that RTJ2 has a song dedicated to getting filthy in the bedroom. What is shocking is that it’s strangely progressive. “Love Again (Akinyele Back)” features the hook “dick in her mouth, dick in her mouth all day.” It’s seemingly conventional until Gangsta Boo’s verse tips the sexual power scale and flips the track into a feminist anthem; something unique in a hyper-masculine hip hop world. Read More

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High on Harmonies from a Tim & Nicki Bluhm and Scott Law House Concert

11/11/2014

Sunday night, in an intimate KC Turner House Concert set at the doorstep of the grand Pacific, Tim & Nicki Bluhm along with friend Scott Law filled about fifty people with true blue delight. The show was not mystical, not heavy, not wound up in too many emotions. It was the lighter side of Americana — a good time, a couple of acoustic guitars, crazy tight and beautiful harmonies, and unfalteringly great musicianship as the trio wandered through a setlist drawing not only their own tunes but some well-placed covers as well. File under: Americana, blues, bluegrass, renegade or classic country, with hints of CSNY-styled classic rock.

There was also free beer. Thanks to Sierra Nevada, two coolers full of Pale Ale cans were nestled in the kitchen waiting for us all. “Lotta problems go away with free beer,” said Tim. “Lotta problems start with free beer,” said Nicki. Read More

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Giveaway: Tickets to Slick Rick w/ DJs Supreme & Pos Red at Public Works November 14th!

11/11/2014

From Beowulf to Breaking Bad, well-told stories have always had the ability to capture our imaginations, and among the great storytellers there are few with as much style as Slick Rick. With a voice as distinct as his signature eye-patch, Slick Rick has remained a prominent figure on the hip-hop scene for more than three decades. He is a certified rap legend. Rick the Ruler has decided to grace San Francisco with his presence, and he will be sharing his tales of the streets at Public Works on Friday the 14th (Tickets). Besides bringing enough gold chains to concern any chiropractor, he will bring the charisma of the best storyteller in hip-hop, so it will not be a show to miss. Joining Slick Rick are DJs Supreme and Pos Red. To make sure you can see it in person we are teaming up with Public Works to put a pair of tickets in your pocket. Enter below and good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway Read More

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The Stone Foxes @ The Chapel

11/10/2014

The French Cassettes had the job of warming the crowd up on Saturday for the second night of The Stone Foxes residency at The Chapel, in San Francisco. This was not a problem for them as they came equipped with their fresh-faced and danceable brand of indie pop. Catchy tracks with tasty rhythms, like “We Were Fun,” got the crowd moving quickly. They gave way to Annie Girl and The Flight who took the stage and created a hypnotic concoction of velvety vocals, and fuzzed out guitar riffs that fully captured the audience’s attention for the main event.

The Stone Foxes brought all the warmth of a family reunion to their hometown audience, but without the cheek pinching and mysterious casseroles. The whole thing felt like one big rocked out celebration. They came out the gate with the irresistible single “Psycho,” then launched into two new tracks from the forthcoming album, Twelve Spells. The Foxes performance of “It Aint Nothin’” was so tight and funky, that you would never guess the band had just released the song a day prior as part of their #FoxesFirstFriday’s campaign, in which they’re releasing one track from Twelve Spells  on the first Friday of each month for a year. Read More

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Deafheaven Orchestrates Beautiful Chaos at The Chapel

11/10/2014

The Converse Rubber Tracks Live tour commenced with a bang at The Chapel Wednesday night. San Francisco’s Deafheaven is headlining the five stop tour that will span the month of November. I had the pleasure of chatting with Deafheaven vocalist George Clarke before the show Wednesday. He was thrilled to be working with Converse … and extra stoked that he got to hand pick all the tour’s opening bands. If you snag one of the free tickets to this tour, you’re in for a treat.

This was the band’s first time playing at the Chapel, and the small venue hosted a sold out crowd eager to feast upon the energy that is expected of a Deafheaven performance. As the guys took the stage, Clarke summoned the mass of fans up to the front. Their set began with “Dream House,” and Clarke’s passion and ferociousness were showcased right from the first note, sustained through a series of equipment malfunctions that led to the bass and guitar cutting out, and only disappearing when the band left the stage after a killer performance of their closing song, “Unrequited.”

The fans at the front of the stage were screaming every lyric of every song, including their newest single, “From the Kettle Onto the Coil,” although it was difficult to hear Clarke’s crisp vocals due to unfortunate sound mixing. Read More

magicman_ photo credit Gavin Thomas

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Dance Your Head Off To Synth Rockers Magic Man and Smallpools at Sold Out Nov. 20th Show

11/10/2014

We are teaming up with Columbia Records to hook one of our readers up with a free pair or tickets to Magic Man supporting Smallpools Thursday November 20th at The Independent. Based out of Boston, the five piece synth rock band has been generating a ton of buzz with their debut album Before The Waves. Their single “Paris” has been all over the radio this summer as they toured with Panic! At The Disco and Walk The Moon.

Now Magic Man is touring with Smallpools and stopping at The Independent for a sold-out, high-energy dance party. We want you to experience it for yourself with a pair of free tickets! Good luck! Enter here for your chance to win! a Rafflecopter giveaway

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