Walking into the Independent on Friday night, the first thing audience members saw were signs titled “A Note From Savages.” These postings read, “Our goal is to discover better ways of living and experiencing music. We believe that the use of phones to film and take pictures during a gig prevents all of us from totally immersing ourselves. Let’s make this evening special. Silence your phones.” It was just the first indication that this was going to be an exceptional night.
Just before Savages took the stage for the first of two sold-out shows, the energy in the room vibrated with a palpable hum, resonating above the droning ambient music pulsing from the speakers. Read more »
Grouplove’s existence is a strong argument for fate. In 2009, Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi met on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Feeling an instant connection, Hooper invited Zucconi to an artist residency in Greece on the island of Crete, which she was heading to just a few days later, and he said yes. At this residency, in a remote mountain village, the pair formed a fast friendship with three other musicians. Within the year, Grouplove was formed.
Two years after that, the band exploded into the music scene with its cheekily titled, megacatchy album Never Trust a Happy Song. Touring constantly since its inception, Grouplove is still going at full sprint, with its second album, Spreading Rumors, coming out Sept. 17, accompanied by the ambitious Seesaw Tour, in which the band will spend two nights in every city at intimate venues, playing one electric and one acoustic show. Read more »
It's been a big couple of years for El-P, Killer Mike, and the twosome’s recent musical courtship. In 2012, nothing but praise seemed to follow both El-P's Cancer 4 Cure (guest starring Killer Mike) and Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music (produced by El-P).
The momentum gained by those two albums led to this summer's Run the Jewels, a collaborative project and eponymous album that further solidified the hard-edged, spaced-out vibe they've been after together. The pair brought this new material as well as solo sets to the Independent last Tuesday night. Read more »
Last Thursday, when the lights came up on the stage at the Independent, they revealed a woman who was relishing the reverential shouts of the sold-out crowd. With a dramatic bun on top of her head, large hoop earrings, and tall heels, Jessie Ware appeared to embody the fully realized pop star that the world is starting to recognize in her.
Throughout the night, though, it became clear that what makes Ware so compelling isn’t the idolizing distance of pop-stardom, but its opposite. Between each song, she charmed the audience with candid and often self-deprecating banter. To a loud response of cheers and clapping, she spoke of her boyfriend who had joined her on tour and enjoyed planting himself in the audience to gauge its mood. “If someone comes up to you being a bit pervy, it’s just ‘cause he’s really proud of me,” she said, then laughed along with the crowd. Read more »
It comes as a surprise to me that Diplo didn’t at least have a cameo in Spring Breakers — the film that takes place in his home state of Florida – considering his penchant for egregious hedonism.
His quest for indulgent nirvana was on full display last Thursday at the Independent, when he and his Major Lazer crew lead a 90-minute uber-bash of trap, electro, dancehall, moombahton, and dubstep. Read more »
It was my first time seeing Portland's AU live Saturday night, and I had some important questions I hoped the show would answer. First of all, how does one pronounce AU? Aww? Awe? Oww? Gold? More importantly, how would the band recreate its sound live? I had theories, but as AU began its set at the Independent with its most recent album's first (and most prominent song) “Epic,” those quickly proved false. There were no guitars. Read more »
How much space does a person need to dance? If you’ve been to a packed, over-sold massive EDM show lately, the answer could be zero, as being rooted in place and fist-pumpin’ seems to be all the rage. Really, though, if you’re at least going to move your feet then a little more room* is required.
Which is why I was relieved to find that the Independent, while crowded, wasn’t packed to the walls last night. Because Portugal’s Buraka Som Sistema likes to get down in a very specific way. In that way that Tribe liked to get down – devoted to the art of moving butts.
Fresh off a slot headlining NPR's South By Southwest showcase and an appearance on Conan the night before, Sharon Van Etten played an emotionally-charged set to a sold-out and receptive Independent crowd Wednesday night.Read more »
I showed up pretty early to catch WU LYF at the Independent on Monday night. A cold breeze drifting through the venue and the giant white Wucifix standing on an empty stage made for a decidedly ominous vibe. It quickly warmed up, though, as a sold out crowd filled the place to capacity for the Manchester, UK, quartet’s very first performance in San Francisco. Read more »