Three Must-See Acts This Weekend

Jack Beats on Friday at Mezzanine, LPX on Saturday at The Fox, and Anderson .Paak on Monday at The Masonic

Jack Beats

UPDATED, Friday, 2/8, 11:15 am: Mykki Blanco is no longer opening for MØ on Saturday. LPX is performing in her place.

Dance

Jack Beats

9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8, at Mezzanine. $15; mezzaninesf.com

Always operating without genre restrictions, Jack Beats are the masters of wobbly, bass-infected, house music, and their signature sound has influenced many house producers working today. The English production duo, comprised of Ben Geffin and Niall Dailly — who were both esteemed turntablists before coming together under Jack Beats in 2007 — mainly produce fidget house tracks with elements of hip-hop and dubstep blended in, and they instantly became artists to watch with their remix of AC Slater’s “Jack Got Jacked.” 2009’s U.F.O. EP established Jack Beats as a presence within the United States’ dance scene, where they continue to masterfully flirt with various subgenres across the board, with their versatility allowing the duo to play in nearly any club or festival. Jack Beats then signed with Skrillex’s OWSLA label in 2012, releasing highly-praised EPs with Careless and Somebody to Love, shifting their sound to become sleeker yet still loaded with bass and house influences. Under AC Slater’s prolific Night Bass label, Jack Beats’ most recent endeavor is The Remedy EP, 20 eclectic minutes of groovy basslines with samples of hip-hop and dubstep that hear the duo at their sharpest.

Mykki Blanco. Photo by Bruno Staub

Experimental hip-hop

Mykki Blanco

(with MØ) 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9, at Fox Theater Oakland. $30; thefoxoakland.com

A renowned musician, performance artist, and LGBTQ activist, Mykki Blanco is one of the boldest voices active in hip-hop. A seminal figure within queer rap, they eschew preconceived notions regarding gender and sexuality, pushing the sonic boundaries of their music with limitless experimental ambition. Raised in San Mateo and Raleigh, N.C., the artist briefly studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York, where they played gritty industrial rock under the moniker No Fear before releasing hip-hop as Mykki Blanco. Immediately turning heads with the assertive debut EP Mykki Blanco & The Angels, Blanco gained further acclaim for their mixtapes, 2012’s Cosmic Angel and 2014’s Gay Dog Food, which lyrically deconstructed gender norms while keeping class and race in mind. Blanco’s triumphant 2016 debut studio album, Mykki, hears Blanco blend beautiful soul influences with flourishes of bouncy hip-hop choruses that have the ability to sneak their way onto the radio waves. UPDATE:  This performance has been canceled and LPX is opening up for MØ.

 

Anderson .Paak. Photo by Captain Lens

R&B/Hip-hop 

Anderson .Paak

8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 11, at The Masonic. $75; sfmasonic.com

An expert singer, rapper, drummer, and producer, Anderson .Paak is a true musical polymath to the highest degree. The Aftermath-signee has established himself as one of music’s premier artists in the latter part of this decade, effortlessly blending genres across the spectrum and developing a singular sound in the process. Born and raised in Oxnard, Paak gained experience producing music in high school and by drumming at his family’s church. In 2011, before breaking into the industry, he, his wife, and their son faced homelessness — until he found some success recording as Breezy Lovejoy before self-releasing 2014’s Venice, his first studio album as Anderson .Paak. The album captured listeners across the music landscape — notably, Dr. Dre, who would prominently spotlight Paak on his 2015 album Compton, before signing Paak onto his esteemed label, Aftermath. Paak’s sophomore album, Malibu, is an expansive and sunshine-drenched journey through soul, funk, and hip-hop that hears the musician establish himself as a dynamic creative force. Last year saw the release of Oxnard, which retains the expected bright and funky overtones from previous work, but experiments with his sound and expands his lyrical scope to critique the current political climate (best heard in standout track “6 Summers,” on which Paak calls out President Trump by name). While Oxnard may not be as immediate as Malibu, it is a rewarding experience that demands to be listened to more than once, and reinforces Paak’s uncompromising natural talent.

 

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