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Monday, November 1, 2010

Friday Night: Kid Koala, Amon Tobin, DJ Food, and the Ninja Tune Crew Take Over 1015 Folsom

Posted By on Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Kid Koala in the audience: "I'm feeling quite silly tonight!"
  • Kid Koala in the audience: "I'm feeling quite silly tonight!"

Kid Koala
Amon Tobin
October 29, 2010

Ninja Tune XX Party

@ 1015 Folsom

(Definitely not) Better than: Ninjas with guitars

Between Halloween on Sunday and the Giants nearly sweeping the World Series, San Francisco felt like the home of an unofficial festival this past weekend, featuring costumes, music, and good vibes in every corner of the city. There were countless locations to hit over the course of the three day marathon of parties, but the one place that everybody seemed to show up to was indie electronic label Ninja Tune's free 20th birthday show at 1015 Folsom on Friday night -- a party held in honor of the label's history of releasing some of the most interesting trip-hop and experimental electronica out there.

Sexiness: The upper level of 1015 Folsom is already pre-designed for encouraging sexual tension, with plush walls, comfortable couches and conveniently-placed vertical poles, but throw in the carnal chaos of DJs like U9lift and J Boogie, and it becomes kinkier than the Folsom Street Fair. Of course that's an exaggeration, but it was certainly an abrasively sexual atmosphere on Friday. The room became an oxygen deprivation chamber that was extremely uncomfortable to step into unless you were willing to distract yourself -- either with drugs or by dry-humping the nearest living organism.

Strangeness: While the top floor became a breeding ground for the cool and club-friendly, the lower level quickly set itself up to be a haven for those who normally linger on the outskirts of society. From the moment the doors opened, Senor Oz established that this would be one of the more unique floors of the night, with a rather diverse mixture of funk, Afro-pop, swing, trip-hop, Flying Lotus-esque scrambling and the occasional WTF sample (early Tom Waits!). The wash of absurdly colorful flashing lights on the low ceiling probably made for more than a couple acid flashbacks. Alex Grey's art seemed to be very popular.


Later, local DJ Ren hypnotized everyone with his masterful manipulation of alien blurps, zaps, and rays over driving trance beats. The euphoric sound fragments and scratching appeased the music junkies, and the pulsing rhythms brought out some of the night's most ridiculous spider-like jerking dancers. The downstairs crowd even stuck around when Ripley took the sound board. The DJ's calm older face made her look like the last person who'd be making her sort of angry, stuttering party music in the key of grime and heavy dubstep.

Kid Koala: "Are you guys ready to channel your inner two year old?" Koala asked. Whereas all the prior DJs of the night mostly performed in their own world, Kid Koala used his cheerful demeanor to engage with the positive energy that was surging from the crowd already. With great power comes great responsibility, so it's super refreshing when somebody as talented with the turntable as Kid Koala doesn't sacrifice his performance energy for snobbishness or pensive concentration. It makes for a perfect performance -- a balance of technical proficiency and stage charisma.

Funny random sight: Somebody dressed as Mario, struggling to text on an iPhone through his giant white gloves.

Drunk level reached critical mass: Around 12:30. The paradigm shift from Kid Koala's party-like vibe to DJ Food's abrasive drum and bass seemed to bring out the belligerence in everyone. All of a sudden, the bathroom floors filled up with broken bottles. People shifted from walking between rooms to stumbling and spilling their way up and down the stairs. But the demeanor on the upper floor remained mostly unchanged. That audience was dedicated to their filth. I wouldn't be surprised if they were still partying in that room right now.

Furry count: 19

Amon Tobin: This mustached electronic misfit from Brazil spent the all of Kid Koala's and DJ Food's sets doing his soundcheck, and his perfectionism paid off. The bass of his speakers sounded like it was charged by nuclear power. Between the overbearing fog, disorienting strobe and violent vibrations, almost no songs were recognizable. Menacing, throbbing bass formed an unstoppable wall of rumble and noise. Standing in the front of the stage was like being caught in a thunderstorm. I moved, expecting the back of the room to be a little less oppressive, but even against the far end wall, I found my teeth clenching. This is the closest electronica gets to being Sunn O))).

Surreal moment of the night: Seeing Teletubbies and a Hassidic Jew dance together to dubstep. This is why Halloween is the best holiday ever.

So a priest, a rabbi and a teletubby walk into a bar...
  • So a priest, a rabbi and a teletubby walk into a bar...
Best shirt text of the night: "Peace, Love and Death Metal"

Personal bias: An intense appreciation for Supermodified and Out from Out Where

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Aron Fischer


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