Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus (at Chestnut), S.F.
Van Hunt, THC, and Duo Liv open for Angie Stone on Saturday, May 15, at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $25 in advance, $28 at the door
Hunt mostly forgoes the heavy one-beat of funk. Instead, he leans on melodies and choruses that hit you in the gut, regardless of tempo. The slow stuff simmers and soars, as on the heavily overdubbed "Seconds of Pleasure" and "What Can I Say (For Millicent)"; the latter is frighteningly evocative of high-maintenance chick Fiona Apple, perhaps the result of Apple producer and EMI President Andrew Slater's co-production credit here. The uptempo tunes, meanwhile, show Hunt in love with the androgynous, dance-floor rock that once dominated pop (think the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack without the keyboards). Heck, "Dust" and "Highlights" possess shuffling rock rhythms worthy of video choreography, Jheri curls, and enormous hoop earrings.
Van Hunt's music, then, is a strange mix of naturalism and artifice, tough to deconstruct but a thrill to explore. In that respect, Hunt evokes Prince, grabbing the elements of prototypical black music while taking the risk of capturing something fresh.