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Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday Night: Flying Lotus, Caspa and DJ Centipede at Mezzanine

Posted By on Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 8:05 AM

Flying Lotus
  • Flying Lotus
Flying Lotus
DJ Centipede
September 24, 2010
@ Mezzanine

Better than: Acid-soaked drone attack armageddon, with jazz samples.

There's nothing like an intensely crowded show where the headliner doesn't go on until 1 a.m. to make you feel every second of your age -- or your lack of uppers. But when Flying Lotus, aka Steven Ellison, aka the Jimi Hendrix of beatmakers, finally went on at Mezzanine early Saturday morning, his setup blew our mind wide awake. Ellison brought along part of his live band -- a bassist and drummer -- to punctuate the psss-squelching, zow-zipping, and thudding-rubber sounds of his music. What had been merely a dance party suddenly became an energetic jam session to the future, as Ellison manipulated the playing of his crew into spacious alien rhythms and sonic energy poured out of the trio onstage. The crowd dove harder into its fitful gyrations, oblivious to the wearing on of the wee hours, until the holy thing supernova'd around 2:30 a.m. and it was time to leave. So then here's a rundown of our trip to Lotus land.

The crowd (hair): More white dreadlocks than anywhere else in S.F., except for maybe Power to the Peaceful. Lots of non-white dreadlocks too, one of whose wearers explained to us the daylong process of washing them.

The crowd (generalities): Young, young, and young. Drunk. Dance-crazed. Not all with clean dreadlocks.

The crowd (in space): Hanging, leaning, dancing, and otherwise using seemingly every bit of room, however uncertain, inside the dark cavern of Mezzanine, because holy shit was that place crowded.

Temperature (inside): space heater.

Temperature (outside on smoking patio): gourmet pizza oven.

The only place more crowded than the front and center of the dance floor during Caspar's set: the smoking patio.

Maybe because: Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, was out there casually chatting up fans and having a smoke before he went on.

DJ Centipede
  • DJ Centipede
DJ Centipede: Had a crowd of admirers at the front shooting lots of photos and shouting enthusiastically when a fresh beat would drop. He dealt heavy dubstep mostly, but wasn't as relentless with the sludgy bounce as Caspa. Dude had the early arrivals bouncing furiously -- many of them, anyway, because it was still not peak drunk-hour. 

On second thought: Maybe it was peak drunk-hour for the dude who started a brawl on the floor during Centipede. When it got broken up after a few seconds, the dude then ran violently into whoever happened to be standing around.

Do not mess with: the security at Mezzanine. These dudes can tear across a room -- through a sardine-packed crowd -- at the first whiff of suspicion.

The crowd during Caspa's set
  • The crowd during Caspa's set
Caspa: Dinosaur-bone-sized bass hits through Mezzanine's purple Funktion One speakers. Dreadlocked oblivion on the dance floor. Roughly 90 minute set, which felt like about 90 million years, because orthodox dubstep gets boring.

Steven Ellison's grin: Is huge, white, and gleaming, and was seen many times during Flying Lotus' set.

Flying Lotus
  • Flying Lotus
The best part: was when Ellison would tease the crowd with his microphone by turning down the music, shouting something funny, and then eventually giving the floor back its beat.

Ellison's quote of the night: "People always ask me what a 'Parisian Goldfish' is."

OK, just kidding, the real best part was: The diversity of Flying Lotus' set. His music wanders from the techno-hurricane jazz of this year's lauded album Cosmogramma to the skeletal boom-chink ambience of his previous full-length, Los Angeles. Flying Lotus' music is also interesting enough to be played outside of a dance context. So when you are on a floor surrounded by huge speakers, the tracks overwhelm both your mind and your body.

Things you only see on the bus home at 3 a.m. one weekend per year: Bishops-in-turtlenecks.

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown and @iPORT

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Ian S. Port


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