Broadway Studios is in what I know of as the seedy portion of North Beach, San Francisco. In the area where a row of novelty strip clubs and late-night-rescue-me pizza joints are stacked one after another. A drizzle kept me company on my stroll from the car. Up the stairs and into a lobby chock-a-block full of painters, clothiers, milliners, and other crafters, I stomped in my over-the-knee blue galoshes. The layout of the place is genius. A balcony hosts chill-out tables and chairs for the low-energy crowd, while the stage is flanked by two fully stocked bars. Instead of heading to the back for a refill, you head to the front. This makes for a most-enthusiastic dance floor.
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Papadosio is a 5-piece jam band hailing from Asheville, North Carolina. As a multi-paneled LCD display silhouetted the band with a glow of luminescent forests, the crowd was rowdy and feeling the groove when I arrived. Searing solos from a live guitar, full drum set and extended synth and keyboard conversations between two brothers Billy and Sam Brouse. Like full moons, gigantic white balloons were grouped and hung from the vaulted warehouse ceiling. I headed upstairs to take it all in.
While enjoying the heady psychedelic improvisation on stage, none other than David Sugalski sidled up next to me at the corner of the balcony. We had a chance to exchange some words regarding the release of his new album EcoZoic. Reception has been great so far, and only a couple of fans have voiced any blatant dissent regarding the new sound; Some people struggle with the new, the fresh. If The Polish Ambassador were a real Ambassador, (you know, like, for a country…) he’d be taking care of a lot of solid business, meeting real needs, and modeling diplomacy for other Ambassadors. A mellow demeanor and super-real vibe proved what I had suspected – this guy is in it for the music. He cares about the people in the room, and not just because they buy his music. In fact, many of his fans don’t buy his music, which is entirely alright with him, some fans wait until his tour van’s tires blow out to send a hefty gift. All eleven of his albums are available for free to download – donations appreciated but not required. The brief and admittedly under-utilized interaction on the balcony gave me some insight into the dynamic between David and his partner-in-vibes, Liminus, the man who makes the projector screen go boom. I was anxious to study the new insights in action.
Under normal circumstances I’d be on the dance floor for such an affair, but over-the knee galoshes and four hours of sleep kept me perched peacefully in the balcony. From my spot I was able to focus in on the visuals projected across two screens. From my crow’s nest on the mezzanine, I saw wire-framed wonderlands interlaced with vintage Godzilla footage, melting microorganisms, and liquid landscapes. By the end of the show, I was glad I hadn’t joined the dancers downstairs. I enjoyed my visually stimulating trip to la la land as much as I normally enjoy jumping around. Set me up with some popcorn and jujubees next time, and I’ll be peachy.
Liminus and The Polish Ambassador are a truly synergistic duo that take performing seriously. The value in teaming up with a talented VJ is undeniable for any electronic musician working in the realm of laptops and midi-mapped thingamabobs. No longer is the electronic musician a lonely soul on stage, bopping around with only the beats to sustain. A mood can be conjured, a spirit lifted not just with melody and rhythm, but with music’s long time friend and loyal companion: the motion picture.