Long before electro-cumbia became the latest club style to break out in the States, Richard Blair was exploring electronic-Latin fusions en route to his new home in Colombia. Along with fellow Brit Will Quantic Holland, he pioneered club-friendly concoctions that meshed dub, Afrobeat, dancehall reggae, salsa, and South American folk styles. Blairs Sidestepper
project started solo, but now features a rotating cast of Colombian musicians and vocalists. Hes taken things a foot further on tour, assembling a seven-piece full live band that touches down in S.F. tonight. On Palm Pictures albums such as 2003s 3 a.m. (In Beats We Trust)
and 2008s remix collection, The Buena Vibra Sound System
, electronic beats and bass intertwine smoothly with sultry vocalists like Erika Muñoz. Blairs productions also feature gentle guitar strumming and hand drum accents its not twirling, feverish electro-salsa, but hip-swaying dubby beats with a South American twist. Like Thievery Corporation, Novalima, or Nickodemus global gumbo, Blairs music achieves a fair balance between traditional and future sounds. A new Sidestepper album drops this year, so expect exclusive previews along with the bubbly rhythms.
Diego's Umbrella and DJ Stepwise open.
Fri., Feb. 19, 9 p.m., 2010