CS Best of 2016 — Shows
As 2016 comes to a close, we're taking the time to reflect on our many favorite moments, artists and bodies of work from a fantastic year in music. Each member of CS team has sifted through memories and emotions to bring you our mostly coherent, occasionally eloquent and often crazed ramblings about our top selections of the year.
Back at it, back in it with our favorite shows throughout the year. There's nothing like seeing an act live for the first, or even tenth, time. Here's to some of the best IRL moments we experienced during 2016.
Cam's Selections •
Jerry Folk – 1015 Folsom, SF
This was the first show I caught in 2016. It was a special one because Jerry Folk had just moved to L.A. from Norway, and he was up in SF for his first ever gig in the States. The Next Wave amigos were in town, the one–and–only Beautiful Buzzz joined the party, and let's not forget Pomo was headlining the bill. In short, it was an evening of supreme beats and homie hangs to remember. Though he was naturally a bit apprehensive going in, Jerry took control of the room to throw down a killer set full of gems, and had the crowd swooning over the likes of To My Soul and his notable Oh Wonder remix. It felt like the start of something big for the young gun, a new chapter if you will, and what do you know, twelve months on he’s had the biggest breakout year of his career.
The Knocks – The Independent, SF
The title of their hit single “Classic” pretty much became the overarching theme of this night. When I first started getting into indie dance and nu disco, The Knocks were an essential (still are), and the guys have continued to progress in big ways over the years. It's been so cool to watch and be a part of, which is why this was such an amazing show for me. They did a live performance rather than the numerous DJ sets I'd caught by them before (which are also always rad 🤘 btw), and B-Roc and JPatt brought the goods. Name any classic tune from The Knocks, they played it. The vibe in the place was equal parts reunion for the fans that have been there the whole ride, and pre-celebration for the duo's next chapter – and considering that ended up being a European tour opening for Justin Bieber, I'd say they're are well on their way to greatness. Big ups.
Club Cheval – Mezzanine, SF
I already covered this is my ‘Best Albums’ review last week, but Club Cheval’s Discipline was easily one of my most anticipated releases of the year. So seeing the whole thing performed live was pretty damn excellent to say the least. The atmosphere at Mezzanine for this one was explosive, and at the same time it was one of the more emotive shows I caught this year. The French four-piece felt in complete control of their productions, cultivating an expertly executed ebb and flow of energy throughout the night. Without a doubt one of the most exciting sets of the year for me.
FKJ – MAMBY on the Beach, Chicago
My girlfriend’s from Chicago, so I get out there a handful of times each year. Let me preface this with the fact that you'd be hard–pressed to find a city more fun than Chicago during the summertime – it's infectious. This time out we planned our trip around a relatively new festival my friends Autograf had told me about after performing there the year prior, MAMBY on the Beach. Amongst a slew of notable acts, one of my all-times, FKJ, was set to perform and needless to say I was beyond stoked to see him play for the first time. This was one of the most impressive displays of raw talent I've ever seen, with the French producer and multi–instrumentalist live looping everything from piano and sax, to bass and his own vocals. Add to that the fact that we were dancing on the sun–drenched, sandy shores of Lake Michigan with friends, and FKJ’s regular collaborator June Marieezy was also there doing her thing – it's easy to see why this one was on another level.
Tom Misch – Mercury Lounge, NYC
“At this moment, in this place, that was the best show I've ever seen”. That was the first thing out of my mouth after seeing Tom Misch’s very first U.S. performance in New York this past October. I had just moved to NY from SF and it was one of the few shows I'd caught so far, the first at such a small venue. Not only did the endlessly talented Carmody open the night with an emotive string of songs, but Tom’s own sister Laura Misch joined him on stage throughout his set. The intimate space was brimming with some unreal UK talent. When Tom jumped on stage the crowd was transfixed, and he held those mesmerized gazes the entire way through . There's something to be said about naming an artist one of your favorite before ever seeing them play live, then having your admiration increase exponentially once it finally happens. This night wholly reinforced that Tom Misch is one of a kind, just check out this video of him jamming as credit. If you ever happen to find yourself anywhere within a 100–mile radius of one of his shows, get there.
Gary Paradise's Selections •
Sofi Tukker – Treasure Island Music Festival, SF
If you’ve heard anything about this year’s edition of the intimate-but-reliable, middle-of-the-bay Treasure Island Music Festival, you’ll know that it was essentially defined by a combination of torrential downpour, delays, artist cancellations, and sullen millennials. One of the very first acts that played (while the skies were forgiving) was Sofi Tukker, who absolutely brought the house down with their pulsating, eclectic sound and onstage banter. Can’t wait to see these guys blow up!
Tycho (DJ Set) – 1015 Folsom, SF
To be frank, I am an enormous Tycho fan (read: borderline stalking Scott Hansen) to the point where I have a framed ISO50 poster in my bedroom. So of course I went to this show! At no point did Scott fail to totally hypnotize the crowd, weaving woozy and atmospheric tracks into one another until you feel like you’re on cloud nine. Love that he fits in the untouchable Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal nearly every time he DJs.
Jamie xx – SXSW, Austin
By the time I saw Jamie XX at the YouTube House at SXSW in Austin, where a quarter million people congregate each year and common law is basically thrown out the window, my liver felt like it had been ripped apart and sleep was a far-off fantasy. Capacity for the venue was maybe 300, and the opener Troye Sivan was absolute garbage - appealing to the hordes of 14 year old girls that somehow made it inside. But Jamie came on afterwards and threw down the most epic set possible, spanning house, disco, jungle, techno, IDM, and of course some standouts from In Colour. I remember the speakers being so loud that the straw in my cup was bouncing off the lid.
Moby – FYF, LA
FYF is the kind of festival where a lot of Instagram stars and LA social climbers go to take photos of themselves in cool sunglasses in the crowd at Todd Terje with a caption that says something like “such a lit vibe!”. This of course isn’t everyone, but by the time my squad made it to Moby at midnight the first night, we were only amongst true believers. Everyone was there to see the legend himself, and holy shit did he deliver - bringing a flawless series of high-octane, throwback hits to our doorstep, to the point where my disheveled body needed no enhancers to stay up and dance. My friends and I now have a running joke to play Guru Josh Project - Infinity at every party we throw.
Lane 8 – The Fox Theater, Oakland
Where to start with Lane 8. Well, honestly I could probably get a restraining order for how much I comment on his social media posts and follow his movements, because from a personal standpoint there hasn’t been a more inspiring nor quality artist in the game this year. I wrote a stunning review of the first release on his new This Never Happened label, which brings with it a mantra to scrap documentation of shows entirely in lieu of full personal immersion. I’ve included several of his tracks in my mixes, sets, workout routines, home listening lineups, tracklists I’ve made for girls I like, and emails to my parents because he walks the line between emotional celebration and club thump so effortlessly it makes you do a double take. At the Fox two weeks ago this reality was no different; the crowd seemed to become one organism, ebbing and flowing as Daniel Goldstein unraveled the perfect selection of sounds to guide a legitimate spiritual journey. I have never seen a happier group of people in my life, and left the venue knowing it was the show of the year.
Leonard's Selections •
The Magician – 1015 Folsom, SF
This is going to be easy because this show was fucking insane. I’ve seen The Magician before. I’ve been to 1015 Folsom (a club famously and accurately described by a friend of mine as “A Ratchet Shithole”) before. And yet I’ve never had as good a time at either as I did at this show. I don’t know what was in the water tequila but something was different on this night and it was just awesome. It was a Thursday night and my crew went in a little light-footed because we were all seeing Eric Prydz the next night but as soon as The Magician went on, all bets were off. The place just simply went nuts from the start. And THEN, he premiered his track Shy and the place totally lost it’s mind. I even have his wand from this show, no joke it’s in my desk. I’ll end this write-up here because I don’t want to incriminate myself further but let’s just say the next time I get a chance to see The Magician, no matter how gross and inept the venue may be, I’m going. If he’s playing in a construction pit with a floor made of broken glass...I’ll see you there.
Lane 8 – The Fox, Oakland
A lot has been said about Lane 8’s “This Never Happened” experiment this year. He took a risk and tried something new. No phones at a concert in 2016?? Can people handle this?! I’m proud of the deep house community that the answer was a resounding hell yes! As I often like to say, this show got DEEP (said in your lowest baritone voice). The Fox brought some serious sound power to Lane 8’s hypnotic dark beats and the crowd was so engaged that it changed the entire vibe. It made me think about the birth of house music in the 80’s in those dirty, dark spaces in Chicago and New York and London and Berlin and I was proud to be there. Let’s hope the ‘no phones allowed” mantra continues to build momentum in 2017.
RÜFUS DU SOL – The Fillmore, SF
After throwing down at Mezzanine in 2015 this show was obviously in the lineup. I’m honestly running out of praise for this Austrailian (yes more Aussies) trio. The album they put out this year is so good it’s become one of those “how can you not like it” scenarios. I’ve played it for friends, co-workers, parents, grandparents, children and probably for strangers at this point and it never lets me down. If only I could’ve brought all of those people to The Fillmore because this concert was incredible.
Bag Raiders – The Independent, SF
It’s safe to say this show was a highly anticipated one for me. After missing the Australian duo’s 2015 debut at Rickshaw Stop, I had this one on the calendar for months. It’s no secret that I love Bag Raiders and this concert was exactly the feel-good, fun loving vibe that resonates with me when bumping their music. After releasing three consecutive three-track EPs over the last year, I couldn’t wait to get inside and get down with these Aussies. The energy was all positive and when the crowd started humming the “oooooOOOO” part of Shooting Stars before the encore song had even begun, I was proud of my fellow San Franciscans and couldn’t have been happier.
Bob Moses – Mezzanine, SF
Following the release of their album, Bob Moses made a nice little Bay Area tour this year. First getting down and grungy at Public Works, then blasting off at Mezzanine and finally rounding out the year at The Fox. If you’ve heard the album, then you know how these guys can set a vibe. The dark melodies and baselines that set the mood were hammered home with the duo’s signature vocals. I was humming Tearing Me Up subconsciously for months after this show, it was just that good. Apparently the band agreed that the vibe was all-time because all three of the live recordings from the album were from this show!