RJD2 and Prefuse73 Review – 1015 Folsom in San Francisco [1.10.13]

Review and Photos by KatoPop

1015 Folsom has the technical ability to pump 150,000 watts of sound through their 20,000 square foot space. It’s no wonder this place has level 8 earthquake size headliners coming through on the regular. Another frigid Friday night in San Francisco and 1015 had a line around the corner with avid fans of two decade-old attractions in the scene: Prefuse73 and RJD2. The show was not surprisingly sold out.

As usual, a handful of local talent supported the principal performers in the smaller of the five rooms in the venue. Afrolicious welcomed the guests with some serious funksauce, California style. Bopping around on the performance platform, Pleasuremaker was on the 1’s & 2’s, with a rotating cast of live percussionists, horn players, and the whole gang jumping in on vocals with ease. Their uptempo afro-tropical beats were flowing for a straight five hours with no lull in energy. It takes rock-hard skill to keep people on the dance floor, especially with the big names in the room next door. If you couldn’t get enough, you can catch them at Public Works on February 1st for a show with the folks from Motown On Mondays.

Bay Area diamond Dj Dials is the man! He hopped on the tables after Matthew White and laid down some solid earhole-arousing beats. With his casual yet penetrating trappin’ bass mixes, Dj Dials was the perfect feature to warm up in the main room. Recognized recently by the SF Bay Guardian for his track Pillowforts as one of the Top 10 Electronic Tracks coming out of the area, we will definitely be seeing this man shine bright in 2013.

Noah Bennett laid down a thick, mellow beat and pulled in echoing vocals that haunted and slipped in hip-hop hooks for the win. Want to get to know this multi-faceted treasure? Lucky for you he was recently interviewed by Gilles Peter. He’s got a solid SoundCloud that should definitely be on your radar.


Prefuse73’s fans were so jam packed into the main room that folks were crowd-surfing. The elevated few were clearly enjoying their newfound hovering abilities. The jostling, shoving, and general overpopulation was due to the fact that 1015 sells enough tickets to fill up the venue to maximum capacity, not to mention that the majority of guests are there to see the headliners. Despite the uncomfortably intimate physical compression, the devoted audience bounced and swayed like a school of fish.

With over ten years mixing it up on the scene, there’s a good reason this session was shoulder-to-shoulder, hip-to-hip. Prefuse73 dispenses soothing melodies, with chunks of inverted hip-hop passages clipped and spliced like an experimental film-reel. The master behind these sounds, Scott Herren, was ahead of his time when One Word Extinguisher was released.  Those foundational tracks still sound relevant and fresh today. Jazz samples have always been at the heart of his music; the whimsical and elaborate stratum of sound never fails to captivate. There is never a simple answer in these mixes, and there is always a surprise around the corner. The entire set was as hypnotizing as a flickering campfire, layers of warmth that built up and fell with sparks flying and flames reaching.

Upstairs was a relief, with enough room to flail and get down. Like moths to a flame, a group of teletubbies gathered around an illuminated disco ball and initiated a dance-off.

Downstairs, from within a golden astronaut’s hood, a legend rallied the mob, speaking monotonously through a vocoder regarding himself in the third person… “this is the real shit… RJD2 is the real mother fucking shit.” He approached a last-supper’s worth of gear and gadgets with calculation and began to grace us with his divine sonic creations.

First of all: ACTUAL VINYL. No purist can hate on this turntablist. The man had beats on top of beats like a mother fucking one-man drumcircle. We are not talking about 808 beats. These were extended samples of full drum sets and percussion instruments from all corners of the earth: Harpsichord, Balinese gamelan gongs, bells of all sorts, and victorious jungle cries.

The expert turntable twister was flipping vinyl and diggin’ in a crate while a live video feed captured his scratch methods and projected them on the wall above.  He ran into a few technical difficulties, which he gracefully enjoyed by taking the opportunity to say hello to the crowd and point out how real that shit was.  His set was a patchwork quilt of downtempo lullabies and alarm-clock-like bass pulsing. The energy was almost nostalgic, like that of a 50’s sock-hop, enriched by the motown vocals and snazzy horns.  RJD2 has the ability to combine rock-concert riffing and shaggy basslines drawn out for anticipation’s sake, and then just in time he cuts in clean with those carefully selected, soulful serenades, accented with drill team trills.

Finally, the crowd thinned just enough to get some real dancing in. It was a perfect moment to give us the major hits- Ghostwriter slammed in with tons of gate: a track that everyone knows so well that advanced variation is subsumed by the lifelong fans. The crowd was pumped and the stage manager had to give a heads up that only 15 minutes remained to worship this maestro. He closed with 1972, another favorite, and graciously exited the stage as the herd of zealots haphazardly kicked cans and cups towards the door, feeling flush and no doubt satisfied by the rich aural arrangements of the night.

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