Words by: Nick Boeka | Images by: Dave Vann
BLVD :: 02.28.08 :: Slim's :: San Francisco, CA
The SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco hosts a multitude of warehouse clubs, bars and party spaces that tend to go unnoticed by those who wander the streets during the day. But, when the sun goes down and the lights start to flicker, the area comes alive to a wide range of events that often run till morning. On this evening, Slim's was hustling and bustling with a long line of fans, friends and partiers forming down the block to experience an eclectic evening featuring a movie premier, DJs and San Francisco's hottest emerging livetronica talent, BLVD.
BLVD is drummer Dylan McIntosh, who layers in samples and melodic elements from his mounted laptop to provide a solid foundation for the rest of the musical soundscape. Tripp Bains is responsible for adding synth and deep bass grooves, while guitarist Curtis Sloane loops and rides the effects of his guitar lines to create moving vehicles for the band's sound. The latest member of the band, MC Souleye has been touring with the band the better part of the last year. With Souleye dropping the hip-hop lyrical flows, their groove is infectious, something apparent in the movements and faces of dancing fans. At Slim's, the group celebrated the release of Digital Disorder, which was recorded when the band briefly moved to Boulder, Colorado for three months.
Workin' It Out
In addition to premiering the new record, the night also played host to the international premier of James Christopher Lacek's, The Seven Minute Style - a serious Tae Bo movie - which BLVD helped score and features band members in cameo roles. The half hour follows the legend of Dave Lazer and his DJ sidekick Dick Rictor (BLVD's Sloane), who challenge the ancient laws of Tae Bo with Lazer's "vision" of how to obtain the ultimate workout routine. He challenges the evil spirits who control the Tae Bo government, and in doing so, frees the world of the evil tyrannies of aerobic repression. There was an abundance of fitness followers in the audience wearing the identifying mark of Rictor's disciples, a stylish, retro headband. It struck me during the screening that this was a community event with friends and family in attendance to celebrate the evening. The film was a hit, and the parody of the Tae Bo fitness scene created a huge roar of laughter that carried over long past the final credits.
Tripp Bains :: BLVD :: 02.28
Once the movie had finished, the party really got started when SF's Majitope threw his unique blend of "GardenHouse," which grabs elements of funk, house, jazz and earthy tones to create a solid dance blend. The highlight of his set was the remix of Chromeo's "Tenderloin," off their 2006 release Fancy Footwork. I was introduced to Majitope and DJ James Christopher, who also played a set at the end of the night, at this year's Gem and Jam Festival in Tucson, AZ, and this evening proved to be an encore of those performances.
Following the Majitope set, BLVD emerged as the backing band for the film's main character, Dave Lazer, who sang a few songs from the movie's score. He was also joined on stage by two aerobic assistants and led the crowd through a fitness routine, which condensed a typical 30-minute cardio blaze into a mere seven minutes! We could all really feel it in our abs, and when Lazer left the stage, the band flowed into their two-hour set of non-stop dance music.
Music is the Medicine
BLVD featured many onew titles off Digital Disorder and also showcased the group's new sound with Souleye's energetic lyrics taking the band to the new heights. When he is on stage, the room becomes more engaged as he spits lines and vocal effects. Songs like "Another One" and "Music is the Medicine" stand out as highlights from the evening.
What was apparent to me in Tucson last month was affirmed and made crystal clear on this night: BLVD is a key player in the emerging livetronica scene, and they have the momentum and style to stand out from the pack of bands trying to find their place in this emergent genre.
02.21.2008 :: Slim's :: San Francisco, CA:
Set I: Some Times*, Work It Out*, Again In The Light**
Set II: Deep State, Silikon, Global Communication, Times Up#, Another One#, Resident Frequency, Endless, In The Wind#, Music Is The Medicine#, Gotcha#, Brown Eyes Domino, LIT#, Alignment#, Silver City#
Encore: Sounds of BLVD#
* w/ Dave Lazer (Seven Minute Style)
** Featuring Josh McIntosh and Dave Lazer’s Workout girls
# w/ Souleye
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