Three Must-See Acts This Week

Jan Blomqvist, Zhu, and Cafe Tacvba

Jan Blomqvist. Photo by Christian Dammann

Electronic

Jan Blomqvist

9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8, at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. $25; grayarea.org

A craftsman in nearly every aspect of his music, Jan Blomqvist’s melancholic brand of pop-infused tech-house has a personal touch, thanks to his musical ability and exquisite attention to detail. The Berlin producer and multi-instrumentalist spent his youth playing in punk bands around Germany, and discovered techno at age 21, quickly finding himself enamored with dance music. Since that personal revelation, Blomqvist would spend the next chapter of his life restlessly fine-tuning his sound, working, in his own words, “to shatter the boredom in the clubs, to bring a concert feel to their dance floors, with simple vocals and minimal beats. Rock ’n’ roll in the club.” Blomqvist has certainly kept his word regarding his mission to shatter the boredom, as his live shows seamlessly blend elements of electronic music with organic instrumentation and vocals, providing a dynamic and propulsive show in the process.

 

Zhu

Electronic

Zhu

8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8, at Bill Graham Civic Center Auditorium. $45; billgrahamcivic.com

Serving as the archetype for post-EDM producers who shy from the public eye, Zhu holds an aura of mystery that’s still potent even four years after the enigmatic producer took over the dance world with his slick and catchy deep house banger “Faded.” Once a solitary producer who elected to spend his time at the University of Southern California working on dance music that his fraternity brothers weren’t ready for, Steven Zhu has always operated on his own wavelength, never the one to conform to expectations. Now a college graduate, Zhu began releasing music on Soundcloud in early 2014. “Faded” topped the global charts that summer, earning Zhu a Grammy nomination in the process. With no intent on slowing down, Zhu spent the next two years touring and recording, and released his debut album Generationwhy in July 2016. A collection of subdued electronic pop with elements of sultry R&B and deep house, it showcased Zhu’s production chops. Despite the astronomical success, the producer remains just as perplexing as before with respect to his identity and personal life. However, Zhu’s success is not because of the allure of a mysterious producer, rather it is a testament to the quality of his output.

 

Cafe Tacvba

Alternative rock

Cafe Tacvba

8 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday, Sept. 5-9, at The Independent. $50; theindependentsf.com

Perhaps one of the greatest modern-rock bands that call Mexico home, Cafe Tacvba’s presence on the Latin music scene remains just as large as it did since its formation in 1989. With eight excellent albums, Cafe Tacvba’s constant drive for experimentation and reinvention while retaining their core sound has led to worthy comparisons to Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers. The original four members, all of whom are still in the band, connected during college in Mexico City and began playing in garages around their neighborhood, releasing their self-titled debut album in 1992 to instantaneous success. The band’s unanimously acclaimed 1994 sophomore album, Re, took Cafe Tacvba to unprecedented heights, as the record proved how the group could successfully blend different styles of Mexican folk music and alternative rock, with Rolling Stone championing Re as the greatest Latin rock album of all time, despite the irony of Cafe Tacvba understandably loathing the “rock en Español” tag that has followed the band throughout their career. Cafe Tacvba would go on to challenge themselves musically and keep listeners invigorated with every consecutive release, earning a Grammy win for their amazing 2003 album, Cuatro Caminos. By the sheer quality of their music overpowering any potential language barriers, Cafe Tacvba has amassed a legion of loyal fans around the world, cementing their status as Mexico’s premier rock band.

 

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