DANCE IT OUT: I don’t remember when I started lamenting the idea of live electronic music. And maybe that’s part of the problem. Thanks to the slowly encroaching power of technology, it seems that checking out a deejay set has become synonymous with packing hundreds of sweaty coeds into a room so they can watch a dude play a MacBook. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I guess. For the purists, though, these show-going experiences seem like a bit of a scam, or, at the least, kind of a waste of time.
Conversely, when an electronic artist comes along who can rise above the laptop game, I tend to get extra enthusiastic about giving props. A few years back, at the now-defunct Jensen’s Mainstage, a young man by the (stage) name Toro y Moi made a strong argument for how computer music can be performed compellingly. And since then, I’ve encountered a handful of similarly minded, electronic-embracing showfolk. (L.A.’s Poolside and Lucky Dragons both come to mind.) So, it’s with an open mind and a wishful ear that I sing the praises of Stones Throw artist DāM-FunK, who headlines Isla Vista Theater as part of the Something Else concert series this Friday night.
DāM-FunK is the musical brainchild of Damon G. Riddick, a native Pasadenan whose off-kilter brand of “funktronica” has wormed its way into the hearts of everyone from DJ/producer Peanut Butter Wolf and hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg to electro-psych act Animal Collective and L.A. rock ’n’ roll eccentric Ariel Pink. Accolades aside, DāM-FunK’s real appeal lies in the balance: Riddick makes thoroughly indebted, decidedly American funk music that’s smart, sarcastic, and unarguably beholden to its inspiration points. (He cites Slave’s Steve Arrington as a major influence.) And if Riddick can bring even a fraction of the sex appeal of his recordings to the live show, well, it’s going to be a night for bumpin’ and grindin’. Want to get down? DāM-FunK headlines Isla Vista Theater (360 Embarcadero del Norte) on Friday, May 9, at 9 p.m. Visit damfunksb.nightout.com for tickets and info.
KEEP THE BEAT: And the dance party most definitely does not stop there. This month, the can’t-miss concert offerings are all about cutting loose. (On the dance floor, that is.) On Saturday, May 17, Velvet Jones is hosting Wiz Khalifa protégé Ty Dolla $ign. On May 26, Ty collaborator YG headlines the Earl Warren Showground with DJ Mustard. (They’re the pair responsible for that “Left, Right” jam that spent the better part of January lodged in your brain.) Two weeks later, Norwegian electronic duo Lemaitre plays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on May 29, just one week before they head to Paris to open for Justice at J4. And rounding out the month, Velvet Jones welcomes back rapper Mickey Avalon on May 30.
END OF AN ERA: It’s with a heavy heart that we say good-bye to the Song Tree concert series this weekend. Following a 12-year run, the monthly musical gathering will host its final show on Saturday, May 10, at the Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation (820 N. Fairview Ave.). Performers include some of Nashville’s heavy hitters — The Waymores, and singer/songwriters Tom Kimmel, Sally Barris, and Don Henry. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Call (805) 403-2639 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for info.
ALSO THIS WEEK: On Thursday, May 15, beloved California soul rockers The Mother Hips return to SOhO for a show in support of their soon-to-be-released album, Chronicle Man, which hits shelves this July on the band’s own label. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts at 9. For tickets and info, call (805) 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.