Free The Robots
Low End Theory Resident DJs
March 4, 2011
@ 103 Harriet/1015 Folsom
Better Than: That first time you heard a FlyLo track on Adult Swim.
Out to prove that the first Low End Theory SF party
wasn't a fluke, Daddy Kev
and company returned to 103 Harriet
Friday night to blow minds and eardrums. And this time around, they weren't playing games: They brought in beat wizard Flying Lotus
, who serves as the de facto ambassador for the original weekly L.A. party and the music scene it spawned.
I showed up just after 11 p.m., thinking I'd be there before most people (because really, nothing in S.F. gets going until 11:30). I was wrong. So, so wrong. By the time I got there, the main room was already full, and the upstairs level had more than a few people checking out the sounds of Odd Nosdam
and Taylor McFerrin
, the latest signee to the Brainfeeder
label. By the time Flying Lotus hit the decks, the place was so full there was hardly anywhere to stand, let alone move.
As expected, the Low End Theory resident DJs (those I managed to catch, at least) held it down with their usual diverse blend of trunk rattling beats. James Blake, Waka Flocka Flame, Joker, Radiohead, whatever. If they like it, they play it. And it works every time.
The first guest set in the main room came from Matthewdavid
, the Leaving Records label boss (who has a upcoming album dropping soon on Brainfeeder), and lover of cassette-derived sounds. Chopping, screwing, dragging, glitching, and delaying his way through heavy beat instrumentals and old R&B tracks, he looked like a man in his own world up on stage. This isn't music to get hyped to -- it's a better soundtrack for smoking a joint and nodding your head. Matthewdavid's mix was downright woozy, and the low end was so heavy it was like being wrapped up in a blanket of bass. It had the crowd swaying left and right, appropriately. As he played through his own tracks, including "Know You're Not Alone," I'm sure the intentionally warped sounds coming from the speakers had those who were unfamiliar wondering what was up. (Coincidentally, the back speakers cut out for at least 10 minutes in the middle of his set.)
Free The Robots
, whose music has an almost industrial quality to it. As he dropped beat after beat from his vault of productions, the set was full of rigid, punchy, metallic percussion. Depending on tastes, the abrasiveness of the sounds might have been a bit much for some, but the crowd didn't seem to mind much.
After Matthewdavid came
By now, the party was in full swing and the same diverse S.F. crowd that was here last time was here again. The stoners smoked, the ravers rolled, the Burners did whatever the fuck it is they do, and everyone else got nice and drunk as they all enjoyed the party and waited for the main event.
At 1:30 a.m. sharp, Flying Lotus stepped behind the decks. The main room was so packed with rabid devotees that you had to push your way through just to get in at all. Unlike his last appearance at Mezzanine, to which he brought three piece electronic jazz band, FlyLo's set for Low End Theory was more like the DJ sets he normally performs.
Aside from the certainty that he's going to play all his best productions and remixes, all expectations for what FlyLo might perform live go out the window. Along with the essentials, such as "Massage Situation," "Robotussin," and "Galaxy In Janaki," he slipped in a few gems like Jay Electronica's "Exhibit C," Tyler the Creator's "VCR," and a DJ Roc's juke banger "One Blood." All the while, FlyLo rocked back and forth through the flashing lights with his signature smile. The crowd-members below were going apeshit, cheering, dancing, and climbing on anything they could find.
When Flying Lotus wrapped up his set at 2:30, he left the stage to cheers, and the crowd kept partying as Gaslamp Killer stepped up for another DJ set. When I left at three, the place was as full as when I walked in four hours earlier. I'm pretty sure that's called a successful party.
Wait your turn: I've seen people at parties and shows at 3 a.m., but until last night, I had never seen people waiting in a coat-check line at that hour. Who knew people stayed out this late in S.F.?
Arts and crafts time: One of the more random sightings of the night was the small group of people upstairs who set up a makeshift studio so they could paint in the middle of the madness. I'm not hating, but it caught me off guard. My inner music nerd just can't process why someone would miss out on all the fun downstairs.
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