BLVD & Adam Deitch :: 03.13.09 :: Great American Music Hall :: San Francisco, CA
Fresh off a smoking beginning in 2009 and a popular late night event in Hampton a few weekends back, BLVD teamed up with New York's Adam Deitch and attacked the California Coast, showcasing new songs and proving again to hometown fans that they've honed their groove as they catapult forward.
On a busy night in the city, the Great American Music Hall was the kind of empty that makes you worry during the opening set from Flying Skulls - a trio of local DJs and producers, J Tonal (Lowpro Lounge), Jarvez Turnage and Jerome Forney, who provides the live synth and solo lines. I've caught this group several times now throughout the city since seeing them at Howeird Street Festival last year, and they continue to impress. They threw a solid first set for fans and friends, but later had a chance to play in between the next act and BLVD's single headlining set. For a sample of their sound, check out their free album download.
And in an instant, the entire venue was filled nicely, just as Adam Deitch took the stage to introduce the Bay Area to his newest project, Break Science. With his jazz kit, drum sample pad and a laptop, he is joined by Borahm Lee, who drove the production and provided the live keys behind his shy demeanor, almost refusing to look out into the crowd that was happily soaking it all up. The performance was set up like a nonstop barrage of hits and singles that had Deitch very into it, giving the play-by-play and hyping up the crowd. We traveled from the '90s hip-hop legends of KRS-One and Tribe all the way to a dope drop of the Crookers' remix of Day and Night" by Kid Cudi.
Lee used this vehicle to take off on his Nord lead, and slayed line after line before throwing the lead back. Put Deitch and his drumming talent on top, and this is a sure thing. Fans of Prefuse 73 will definitely be into it, and where that platform begins, Deitch reaches into his jazz background (playing with notables like Scofield) to show incredible control on the kit that takes it all the way. I get images of a Stanton Moore and his complicated rhythms, combined with the heavy tone and attitude of Joe Russo. What I had expected was completely overtaken by the dance party, and I quickly had to move to the front row to show my appreciation and boogie down. As Deitch left the stage, the Flying Skulls' tweener set was precisely what was needed to keep the energy moving as the stage was stripped and primed for BLVD to unleash on the audience.
There are many bands that call San Francisco their hometown but few are making waves in the Bay like BLVD. Since pioneering wordsmith Souleye, joined a few years ago, the band - the trio of Dylan McIntosh, Tripp Baines and Curtis Sloane - has taken on new life, furiously touring the country to spread their sound. Warmed up and excited to play for family, friends and fans, the instrumentalists took the stage and started off with three new songs that are taking shape. The last, Let's Not Pretend," brought out Souleye to flow, which set a great standard for the kind of tracks I'm hoping they bring to the studio for another release soon.
What I enjoy about a BLVD show is the attitude and finesse with which they attack the crowd, knowing that it's more important to throw a great party than anything else, and that's why I enjoy their very long single sets. Throughout the show, Souleye will leave the stage to give his voice a well-deserved rest, and then the band can engage the audience to steer them in the next direction. This evening, the direction was stretching out and dropping a reworked Santigold track, L.E.S. Artistes," which looking around found nearly everyone around me on the same happy page with the cover.
A good barometer is observing the crowd at a show, and at the Great American there's a nice wide balcony that allows you to get great views of the fans and stage lights. It was too-perfectly timed as I reached for one of those classic single photo shots of the night on my phone when from nowhere LASERS flicked on! With multiple rigs on stage, the group used the gold metallic lower trim that wraps around the balcony to create a grid of green, smoky laser goodness. And lasers always take the party to the next level.
The BLVD crew debuted another new song, Lost in Austin." After dropping another great remix featuring Souleye's reworked version of Ghostland Observatory's Silver City," a strong pair of singles closed out the show. If you still haven't caught this talented mix of music makers, get wise on their busy schedule in the coming months, which spans coast to coast and teams up with Lotus for several shows along the way. BLVD tour dates available here. Break Science ft Adam Deitch tour dates available here.
BLVD :: 03.13.09 :: Great American Music Hall :: San Francisco, CA
The Wake, Red Carpet, Let's Not Pretend, Vortex, Music is a Medicine, E.M.F., Deep State, Endless, Stained Glass, L.E.S. Artistes*, Freestyle Movement, Rose Petals, Ghosts in the sky, The Wire, New State of Mind, Getting Away, Lost in Austin, Sliver City**, Been like this all night
E: Stamina, Alignment
**Ghostland Observatory remix