Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, May 17, 2010

Over the Weekend: Fool's Gold at California Academy of Sciences

Posted By on Mon, May 17, 2010 at 8:16 AM


Fool's Gold 
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Dawn 2010 party at the California Academy of Sciences

Better than: Staring at the albino alligator...

... although that wasn't an immediate consensus among the swank crowd at Saturday's Dawn 2010 party. Held in celebration of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (the day God gave Jews the Torah), the soiree's selection of entertainment extended far beyond the Los Angeles Afropop band Fool's Gold. Actress and comedian Sandra Bernhard discussed her spiritual side; eloquent experts dissected the moral dimensions of vegetarianism; the eels and jellyfish in Steinhart Aquarium gathered gawking crowds around their watery grottos. Claude, the museum's albino alligator, was sequestered in a far corner of his enclosure, his absolute stillness adding a surreality to the scene.

The party provided almost too many activities. At the start of Fool's Gold's set -- a headlining event, you'd think -- only a dozen partygoers braved the breezy piazza where they were playing. The group shuffled onstage to almost no applause, launching tepidly into the lulling, hypnotic "Ha Dvash" from last year's self-titled debut, with Israeli-born vocalist Luke Top singing to a spread of mostly empty chairs. 

"We're a band of Jews, half-Jews, and non-Jews," Top offered later on, half-explaining the band's presence. The fact that he sings almost entirely in Hebrew probably also helped them get the gig.

Crowd or no, Fool's Gold slowly assembled the opener's swaying rhythm -- with two hand drummers and a drum kit, percussionists outnumbered guitarists onstage -- and its seductive motion drew a steady trickle of onlookers. By the middle of "Nadine," the second song, a small throng of limber hipsters danced by the stage. "Surprise Hotel," the band's stunning single, swept another set of grinning partygoers to the front, and sitting soon became a struggle. The bouncy rhythms of the drummers, outlined by Lewis Pesacov's jaunty guitar playing, made for sprightly music that all but required dancing. The show hit full party mode.

Onstage, the band soaked up the joyous energy. Pesacov's glimmering guitar runs picked up speed and intricacy. He and djembe drummer Salvador Placencia caught each others' glances and seemed to dare each other to play more flamboyantly as the set went on. Along with the lush setting of the museum, Top's singing in Hebrew contributed to the exotic vibes swirling around the Cal Academy's piazza. It didn't hurt that we couldn't catch his exact meaning.


  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

About The Author

Ian S. Port


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"