- It was one of those lineups that makes perfect sense on the one hand, and on the other makes no sense at all: Moodymann, Benji B, Kingdom, J.Rocc, Krystal Klear, Ge-ology, a slew of locals, plus DJ Lo-Down Loretta Brown—better known as Erykah Badu. They're all headliners in their own right, and they come from many overlapping but otherwise distinct worlds: house, hip-hop, soul, R&B and disco. Put them all together and you have something crazy, brilliant, or both.
1015 Folsom is one of San Francisco's largest and most storied clubs. Older Bay Area ravers often tell of the club's Spundae parties, legendary in the '90s, with a glimmer in their eye. These days, it's most often home to marquee names in hip-hop, West Coast bass music and trap—music that can easily fill up its four rooms. By anchoring the lineup with Badu, who could sell out the club herself, the promoters were able to slide in more eccentric talent—Moodymann, Kingdom—that wouldn't have fit in otherwise.
I arrived by 11:30 PM after a round-the-block wait in line that moved deceptively quickly. The front room, where colored lights and mirrored walls appeared to be plucked out of a club scene in a Hollywood film, was helmed by Kingdom, who was playing chopped-up R&B edits to a mass of dancers. As much as I love Kingdom, he wasn't why I was there, so I headed downstairs, awaiting Moodymann.
Downstairs, underneath a low ceiling lit by pulsing strips of red light, was Ge-ology, who had packed the room with selections of funky house. Shortly after midnight, Moodymann took the stage. Clad in a black t-shirt bearing Jimi Hendrix's face, a white beanie and a face mask made of cabled black lace, he played hard-hitting disco and soulful house, cutting the bass whenever a vocal took charge.
My expectations for Badu's DJ set were not high—her 2012 LA Boiler Room set was a bit of a letdown. But I needn't have worried—in no time she had both floors of the club's main room rapt, playing selections and edits of funk, soul, hip-hop, new wave and more from a laptop-and-controller Serato setup (plus turntables, which she scratched on numerous times). Nu Shooz's "I Can't Wait" went off, as did a jagged, dusty cover version of "Trans Europe Express." She looked supremely confident behind the decks (a far cry from her Boiler Room appearance), cutting quickly between tracks in a hip-hop style, often singing along, killing the mix for a bar or two to let her voice ring. In her hands the club felt like a house party, with the crowd singing along and cheering favorites.
Photo credit: Demian Becerra / Holy Mountain Photography