Live Review: Kerala Dust Turned Public Works Upside Down on Saturday

There was a considerable amount of energy amongst the crowd at Public Works this past Saturday evening, as people celebrated the venue’s seventh anniversary. Perhaps many were treating the night as a sort of prelude to the Folsom Street Fair — which took place the following day — as a universal love of dance music permeated through the two main rooms. As the crowd slowly grew during local producer Rachel Torro’s delightful house set, I overheard an audience member exclaim, “Aren’t live sets supposed to be boring? How is this going to work?” The question referred to Kerala Dust— the only artist billed as a “live” set. Judging by the crowd packed to the brim in the main room five minutes before Kerala Dust’s San Francisco live debut began, many were also intrigued.

The South London-based trio grabbed the attention of the club with just the mere sight of a guitar on stage, and the crowd was enraptured throughout the duration of Kerala Dust’s hypnotic performance. Accompanied by psychedelic visuals on the walls surrounding the stage, the band took the audience on a journey that seamlessly bridged house and downtempo, with a mix of funk and jazz. Trying to pigeonhole Kerala Dust into one, or even two, genres is not only difficult, but unserviceable to their experimental nature. Very few breaks were taken by the group, and they kept a steady pace that picked up in intensity as their performance moved on.

Kerala Dust has the mind of an improvisational jazz trio, with the members reading each other in order wordlessly to spontaneously create something special. The soul of Kerala Dust is deeply intertwined with underground dance music, and the audience liberated themselves on the dark, sweaty dance floor.

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