Here are the three must-see acts this week in the Bay Area.
8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25, at The Fillmore. $30; thefillmore.com
A versatile talent that effortlessly breaks through genre-barriers, Steve Lacy is a proven dynamic force behind the scenes, but the young vocalist, producer, and multi-instrumentalist is ready to make the leap to center stage. As the lead guitarist for neo-soul ensemble The Internet, Steve Lacy contributed his distinct style of spaced-out funk which helped elevate the band to commercial and critical acclaim, including a Grammy nomination for 2015’s Ego Death. With his recently released solo debut Apollo XXI, the Compton-raised Lacy seamlessly blends laid back R&B with lo-fi pop that proves to be a quietly confident introduction to the 21-year-old singer-songwriter. Apart from Lacy’s work with The Internet, the young phenom has quickly become a frequently-requested collaborator across the music industry, as his resume boasts production and writing credits with Solange, Kendrick Lamar, and Vampire Weekend amongst others. The multifaceted sound of Apollo XXI makes it easy to hear why such a wide array of artists want to work with Lacy, who channels everything from psychedelic funk on the nine-minute opus “Like Me” to minimalist R&B on “N Side.”
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8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26, at August Hall. $25; augusthallsf.com
Arguably one of hip-hop’s most forward-thinking minds of the past decade, Danny Brown’s delirious brand of cerebral rap has always stood in a class of its own. On his recently released fifth album, uknowhatimsayin?, Brown presents his most personal album yet where the emcee always sounds like he is in control over the beats without ever sounding restrained. Born and raised in Detroit, Brown initially had to work against the hip-hop industry, as some executives considered his style to be too eccentric to be commercially viable. Brown would eventually sign to Fool’s Gold prior to the release of his breakthrough studio album, XXX, introducing listeners to the rapper’s animated production sense and drug-referencing rhymes. Brown would receive further critical acclaim with his 2013 album Old, a carefully constructed hour of kaleidoscopic hip-hop chaos that would solidify Brown as a bonafide rap star who could cross over into other genres without resistance. After signing to legendary experimental music label Warp in 2016, Brown would release his fourth album, Atrocity Exhibition, a raw and anarchistic exercise that incorporates elements of industrial and techno for a wholly singular sound. The dark and abrasive tone from Atrocity Exhibition is left behind on uknowhatimsayin? in favor of lighter-sounding, golden age-inspired hip-hop thanks to production help from Q-Tip, which allows Brown to deliver his funniest and most endearing material to date.
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Kero Kero Bonito
8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Regency Ballroom. $22.50; theregencyballroom.com
The drastic sonic evolution Kero Kero Bonito went through in the two-year gap between their bubbly debut album Bonito Generation and their acclaimed sophomore effort Time ’n’ Place could easily convince listeners that completely different bands are on each album. However, the London experimental pop trio have proven that their idiosyncratic sound is their biggest asset, as Time ’n’ Place hears the trio tap into shoegaze and punk influences.The group began when longtime friends and musicians Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled sought to form a pop group, connecting with singer Sarah Midori Perry on an internet forum for expatriates and putting out their debut single, “Coursework Story,” in 2012. The trio’s proper debut, Bonito Generation, is a candy-coated collection of Nintendo-tinged electropop songs marked by Midori’s peppy vocals and J-pop-inspired production that works best in small doses. While the pop-intensive structure remained, the trio would approach a more guitar-heavy sound for their next album, 2018’s Time ’n’ Place, a blissfully melancholic listen that balances warm-sounding textures with moments of oddball, distortion-filled freak-outs.