Turntablists Invade the Jazz Club

Posted by: on Feb 23, 2010 | Comments (0)

From the garages and bedrooms of the Bay Area to the swank jazz lounge! Saturday kicks off the Dan-the-Automator-curated Audio Alchemy series at Yoshi’s, giving you a chance to strap on your rumpled suit you haven’t worn since high school prom and check out all the dudes you loved in Scratch. This weekend brings jaw-dropping innovator DJ Q-Bert performing with fellow Invisibl Skratch Pikl DJ Shortkut, collaborating with Adam Theis and the Jazz Mafia All-Stars with MARS-1. (Feb 27; Starts at 10:30; $20.) And get this—it’s not in the concert venue. It’s in the restaurant and cocktail bar!

Ten years ago and half a mile mile away, most of these DJs made a name for themselves at the Justice League on Divisadero, a no-frills smelly hard-drinking and smoking place that’s now the Independent. So it might feel a little weird to be witnessing the don’t-give-a-fuck style on the faders in the snazzy environs of Yoshi’s, sure. But several years ago, Kid Koala somehow convinced the hip-hop heads to sit down and be polite for his dinner theater performances, so maybe it’s not that strange after all.

Even more to the point: Hip-hop is basically the new jazz, and it’s awesome that Yoshi’s has been hosting a ton of hip-hop shows lately. De La Soul, Talib Kweli, Foreign Exchange, the Pharcyde, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Mos Def. Some early birders have complained that the shows start too late—midnight, in some cases—but in my experience, that’s when most hip-hop headliners go on anyway. Cut out the local DJ amateurishly blending “Peter Piper” breaks into “Ballroom Blitz” for way too long and get to the meat, I say.

Oh! Right, the series. Audio Alchemy sees the likes of DJ Q-Bert (Feb. 27), Dan the Automator (Mar. 13), Kid Koala (Mar. 27), Mixmaster Mike (Apr. 10) and Chief Xcel (Apr. 24). More info here. In related news, Wave Twisters is still the greatest scratch album of all time.