shakin the ground

Mike Zelazek ~ San Francisco, CA - In the centennial anniversary year of the Bay City’s great quake, local San Franciscan and imported talent intentionally shook the ground on back to back weekends in February. The Blue Cube and the Hemlock Tavern venues provided more intimate environs than the South of Market (SoMA) super clubs and showcased accessible, avant-garde entertainers.

The Future Sound series of events has successfully drawn thousands of attendees in San Fran, and the third installment with a D & B and Breaks orientation, delivered the finest British and American talent to the heart of the city. The ‘Cube, at 54 Mason in the Financial District, assembled a handful of the top DJs in the aforementioned genres (and provided temporary refuge from dishwater-dumping, pepper-sprinkling tenants living in upper-story apartments).

Breaks DJs spun beneath massive, steel X-bracing and welcomed the patrons into the club with funky tracks on the main level. But at midnight, the queue to the second floor grew into a less-polite-than-usual mob hungry to see the headliners on the main stage.

Upon ascension to the club’s second level, Pendulum, his entourage of MCs, and select friends visibly dominated their altar of bass opposite a crowd of several hundred of mostly twenty-something hipsters, minglers, newbies, and neo-hippies. MC Dino led the lyrical accompaniment to Pendulum’s aural assault and unflinchingly delivered an emotionally charged, hour-long set with tracks of his own creation as well as some from other prominent junglists like Adam F and Dillinja.

At peak action, the floor was noticeably heaving in rhythm with peoples’ feet, and SF’s own Audio Angel wove her own soulful style into the mix. All smiles, Pendulum swung the torch to AK1200 who displayed his Floridian finesse for collaboration with the lyricists. Despite his icy cool demeanor on the decks, he was visibly exhausted— drenched in sweat in the club-cum-sauna. The crowd thinned as D-Bridge’s chill beats closed the end of a raucous night, and the allure of Pendulum’s downstairs breakbeat set allowed the upstairs crowd to breathe and digest the previous two-hours’ masterfully coherent sets and provide rest from a jam-packed upper floor.

After a six-day beat-hiatus for the ears, the Hemlock Tavern opened its greasy portals in the lovably downtrodden Tenderloin district to a progressive bunch of performers in the Tigerbeat6 label showcase. For those unacquainted with the label, whose trademark is reminiscent of a teeny-bopper publication, it is a mélange of misfits that blend DJ skill with performance punk/art.

Clipd Beaks is effectively an acquired taste from Oakland via Minneapolis, and they kicked off the night after battling an exploding amp early in their set. Halfway though their performance, vocalist/guitarist, Nick Barbeln, was wearing only a pair of pants and a galvanized bucket on his head that he mercelessly beat his head to the cadence of the horrendously raw synthesizer sounds. The crew created the perfect ear-piercing segway to the human tornado with attitude, Drop the Lime (Luca Venezia).

Drop the Lime began his hour-long aural adventure with a surprise silly-string attack from assistants in the audience and seamless stitched select tracks from his new Shot Shot Hearts release. The Brooklyner briefly donned a white, faux-fur jacket on loan from a few Japanese fans with Kid606 grinning like a proud father as he took photos of the on-stage action. 606 even consoled Drop the Lime in a tender moment of solace during the latter’s performance. When ascending to the stage himself, the Kid was a bit smashed but fully capable of summoning the gorilla within him. Despite some clumsy moshing incitements ending in floor spills and a broken microphone (surprisingly not due to him chewing on it), Kid606 and his odd ensemble of associates gave a fine farewell as they parted ways for distant spots on the globe. The San Francisco reunion for these three acts is currently unplanned, but rest assured, they won’t return silently.

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